- 1/4 cup water, warm
- 1 packet Hodgson Mill Active Dry Yeast
- 1 cup milk
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 cup Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Flour
- 3 1/2 cup Hodgson Mill All Purpose White Flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 Tbsp butter, unsalted, softened
- 1 1/2 cups pear, peeled and cored, finely chopped
- 2 Tbsp butter, unsalted, melted
- sugar, or vanilla sugar, for sprinkling
Put the warm water into a small bowl and stir in the yeast. Set aside for 5-10 minutes or until the yeast is frothy. In a medium-sized bowl, heat the milk in the microwave until bathwater warm for about 1 minute. Add the honey, yeast mixture, whole wheat flour and one cup of the white flour to the bowl with the milk and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon for one minute. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and set aside in a warm spot for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, pour the mixture into the pan of a bread machine and add the salt, egg, vanilla, butter and all but ½ cup of the remaining white flour. Add the last bit of white flour one tablespoon at a time as necessary to achieve a soft, supple dough. Let the dough cycle continuing running until it’s finished or the dough has doubled in size. The dough can also be prepared by hand or with a dough hook in a stand mixer.
When the dough is ready, place it on a lightly floured work surface and pat it out into an 8×10-inch rectangle. Sprinkle half of the pears in the middle and fold the top of the dough down and bottom up to encase the pears. Sprinkle the remaining pears in the middle and then fold the left and right sides inwards to cover the pears. Knead the dough 10 times, pressing down with the palms of your hands, working to evenly distribute the pears throughout the dough. Form the dough into a ball and cut into two pieces. Shape each piece into an oval about 10 inches long and place into a buttered 9-inch bread pan, tucking the ends under as needed to fit. Cover the bread pans with plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray and set aside in a warm area for about 40-50 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size or has risen approximately 1 inch above the rim of the pan. Bake the loaves in a 375˚F oven for 30-35 minutes or until the bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on top.
Remove the bread from the oven and cool for 5 minutes in the pans. Slip the bread out of the pans and transfer to a wire rack. Brush the tops of the loaves with melted butter and sprinkle generously with vanilla or regular sugar. Slice and serve the bread right away or cool completely and store in an airtight container for up to 3 days. The bread can also be cooled, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and frozen for up to 4 months.
To make the cinnamon-honey butter, combine the butter, cinnamon, honey and a pinch of salt in a small bowl and stir until well blended. Serve at room temperature on top of slices of Vanilla-Pear Bread for an extra special treat.
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