March 11, 2014

Strawberry Lemon Pudding Bread (whole wheat, dairy free)

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The Weather
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To whomever it may concern,

My name is Mary Frances McNellis and I'm a high school junior.  I'm involved in sports, as are my brothers, and we really enjoy warm weather.  The recent temperatures of 75 were absolutely wonderful.  My athletic shorts haven't felt so loved since last year.  I was wondering if you could continue this stretch of spring weather for several more weeks?  It is March, and many people, including myself, have taken advantage of, and love, these warm temperatures.

I appreciate your time.  Thank you for considering this opportunity.

Mary Frances McNellis 
I've been writing letters to different businesses and people I would like to shadow this spring.  I never would've thought how difficult it would be!  Or maybe I'm just making things difficult.  I want to be formal, so they take me seriously, but at the same time, I don't want to sound like I want their job.  And I want to be personable.  It is a fine line and after more than a week of writing, having Mom rewrite it, then I rewrite it, then formatting, and more editing, they are finally printed and in the mail.  We'll see what happens!
But for reals, I am so excited about this warm weather!  Getting to wear athletic shorts again?  I know I will be sick of them by this July, but for now, I'm soaking it up.  Yesterday was super windy, so the volleyball tended to blow every direction, making it hard to practice.  If you are ever in the mood, try setting with a basketball.  Seriously, it works.  The basketball is heavy enough that nothing (except for a hurricane) is going to blow it off course.  And then today, it hit 80.  80 DEGREES!  Crazy, right?  But it was amazing, although being hot isn't the best.  It sure beats cold fingers and toes!  Being able to send everyone outside, without boots and snow pants, and gloves was the best. 
Another thing I love about warm weather is it means warm weather fruits are almost in season!  Like, strawberries, pineapples, blueberries, peaches, -> yes yes yes!  So, in honor of all that jazz, I made lemon strawberry bread.  Doesn't that sound amazing?
If you haven't noticed, I have a thing for pudding mix.  I love moist and soft things and since pudding mix guarentees those things, I enjoy tossing a box into whatever I'm baking.  This time, it happened to be bread.  If you haven't noticed, I also have a thing for bread.  But for the first time, I couldn't use Greek yogurt and I ALWAYS have used Greek yogurt.  It makes the bread (you guessed it!) moist and soft, and adds protein.  But since I couldn't use it this time, I turned to new recipe and added a couple things, including lemon pudding mix.  Some mixes aren't dairy free, so double check if that is a big deal.
Now, if you don't like the undercooked center in most quick breads, then you won't like this bread.  I'm giving you a fair warning, okay?  I hadn't planned on the pudding mix making the bread this soft, but it amazing!  And I personally am stuffing my face with it, but if that isn't your thing, omit the pudding mix, or find a different recipe. 

Now, if you DO like undercooked centers, then this is the bread for you.  The whole thing is on the verge of being categorized as undercooked.  Plus, the flavor combo of strawberries and lemon is bright and fresh and absolutely delicious.  My Mom especially liked this.  The lemon is really subtle and she admitted the strawberries paired with the lemons perfectly, even though she prefers her strawberries in fresh form and fresh form only.  If you want more lemon punch, add some lemon zest.

Letters in mail: check
Strawberries.: check
Lemon undertones: check
Moist and soft bread: check
Warm weather: pretty please!
Strawberry Lemon Pudding Loaf
Recipe Source: The Sweet {Tooth} Life.  Adapted from Williams Sonoma
Yield: 12 servings
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup +2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar 
1 (4 serving) package instant lemon pudding mix
1 tsp. baking powder 
1/4 tsp. baking soda  
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup almond milk
1/4 cup canola oil 
1 tsp. vanilla extract 
1-1/4 cup strawberries, diced

Preheat oven to 350.  Lightly grease loaf pan.
Combine flours, sugar, lemon pudding mix, powder, and soda.
In another bowl, beat eggs. 
Add lemon juice, almond milk, oil, and vanilla to eggs.
Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir until combined.
Fold in strawberries.
Pour into prepared pan.
Sprinkle reserved strawberries on top, if desired.
Bake for 55-60 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean or top is lightly browned.  *The back of my oven is hotter than the front, so I turned the bread half way through baking time.*
Let cool overnight before cutting and eating.

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