The Tassajara Bread Book – Honey Walnut Bread

I haven’t always been gluten-free, in fact for over half my life I ate gluten ever day.  That being said I was also sick constantly. Eventually through Doctor’s, trial and error and my own research we found out I was one of the lucky humans with food allergies.

Food allergies changed the foods I ate daily but it didn’t change the way I cooked or baked for that matter. I grew up with a Mom that was always in the kitchen and always testing out a new recipe. If there is anything I truly got from my Mom it is my love of being in the kitchen and my obsession with True Crime (the true crime portion of my life I’ll leave for another post).

I have been fascinated cookbooks for as long as I can remember but it wasn’t till my late teens that I started my collection, over recent years the collection as grown and though I still purchase newly published cook books I have started to lean towards vintage and retro cookbooks. These cookbooks at first were scary too me as many of them house the ingredients that I can no longer have, but as my food journey progressed my ability to substitute and change a recipe to be something I could have also changed and I was able to find a use for these cookbooks far beyond just looking interesting on a shelf.

One of my most prized cookbooks is The Tassajara Bread Book.  Clearly this book in particular contains gluten on every page and for the longest time I refused to even touch this book because Gluten Free baking is very finicky and substitute flour ratios that might work for one recipe wont always work for another. In  this case I found a substitution for honey walnut bread and the result made me want to try my hand at blogging again (well the result and the fact that I currently have a job that allows me some off time).

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The Tassajara Bread Book was first published in 1970 and has been a favorite among renowned chefs and home bakers, it is considered the bible of bread making. The author Edward Espe Brown is a truly amazing and inspirational human.  He is an American Zen teacher and writer and was the subject of a documentary called How to Cook Your Life, if you ever have a chance to watch it I suggest you do.

I had wanted to recreate this honey and walnut bread for a long time but every time I looked at the recipe I chickened out.  It called for 2 1/2 cups of whole wheat or 1/2 cup white flour and 1/2 cup whole wheat flour.  An all-purpose white flour I can work with substituting but whole wheat flour that is a whole other story. I haven’t used whole wheat in almost 9 years but from what I do remember of it, I remember it being a very nutty and slightly coarse type flour that even though it had more density it still had a levity to it that I couldn’t fathom recreating.

I decided that it was time that I just stopped being chicken and tried to find a way to recreate this delicious bread and as it turns out what I created was just as delicious as I remembered it to be.  The recipe below shows what my modifications and ingredient choices but also lists the original recipe.

HONEY WALNUT BREAD

Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk (I used Califa Farms unsweetened almond milk)
  • 1 cup honey ( I used Brosia raw honey)
  • 1/4 cup soft butter (I used Rolling Meadows unsalted butter)
  • 2 eggs, beaten (I used eggs I purchased from a local farm)
  • 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour or 1/2 cup white flour and 1/2 cup whole wheat flour

(I used 1/2 cup Bobs Red Mill 1 to 1 baking flour, 1/4 cup Bobs Red Mill black bean flour, 1/4 cup Bobs Red Mill coconut flour and 1/4 cup Only Oats oat flour)

  • 1 tsp salt  (I used pink Himalayan salt)
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder (I used Fleischmann’s baking powder)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (sadly I was out of walnuts so I substituted with pecans – still turned out well)

Instructions

  1. Combine milk and honey, stir over heat until blended.
  2. Beat in butter, eggs, flour, salt and baking powder until well blended
  3. Fold in nuts
  4. Place in greased loaf pan.
  5. Bake one hour at 325 degrees; cool 15 minutes in pan. Cool before slicing

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If you ever happen to come across this cookbook at an antique store, a yard sale or even in your Grandmother or Mother’s kitchen try to get your hands on it you wont regret it.

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2 thoughts on “The Tassajara Bread Book – Honey Walnut Bread

  1. Love the idea of repurposing old recipes or cookbooks to suit current/modern dietary needs, as these older books are such a wealth of great food (as illustrated by your delicious adapted recipe). Well done!

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