In Lesson 27 of When Sue Began to Cook, Sue and Ruth move from salad dressings to quick breads. Date nut bread was a staple of the Twenties household. It provided energy, carbohydrates, something sweet, and a little bit of fruit all in one serving — a Twenties ideal! When Sue makes date nut bread she is learning to make a recipe she will use her entire life.
This recipe uses Graham flour, which is whole wheat flour named for Dr. Sylvester Graham who invented the Graham cracker. This was unsifted wheat with the bran and the germ still in it for nutrition. It also spoiled faster than white flour. You use whatever you like for this receipe. I’ll be using a gluten free one-for-one flour blend.
Sue’s diary for Date Nut Bread
After we carefully took the loaf out of the oven, Mother had us moisten a clean cloth with a little milk and brush it over the top of the loaf. “To soften the crust,” she said.
We didn’t put the bread away till it was cold, and Mother said it outghtn’t to be cut till the next day, or even the day after. Then it will make delicious sandwiches.
There isn’t any doubt in Ruth Ann’s mind as to what she is going to do with her date bread. She is going to make it into sandwiches for the McCarthys! Because the unexpected has happened, and Ruth Ann and I are to blame, or rather, it’s all to our credit.
We coaxed Mother and Mrs. Rambler to let Clarence and Clyde McCarthy wash their windows on the outside, and said we would be around all the time to see that it was well done. And we were. Every time the boys seemed to “slack up” a little bit, we would say, “Oh, what a beautiful piece of work this is!” And we would praise them for a shining pane. Then they would try all the harder.
And the funny part of it is that the very next day after Clarence and Clyde finished at Mrs. Rambler’s house they began to wash the McCarthy windows on the outside! That actually inspired Mrs. McCarthy and Maxine and Muriel to begin to wash windows on the inside, and really, it makes such a difference! Now Clarence and Clyde say they are going to paint the whole house if they can get their older brother Gerald, who lives in Omaha, to lend them the money.
I guess I’ll make some of my date bread into sandwiches for the McCarthys, too.
Date Nut Bread
- 1 loaf pan 9 x 5 preferred
- 2 cups Graham flour (whole wheat)
- 1½ cups white flour
- 3½ tsp baking powder
- ⅛ tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup chopped, seeded dates
- ½ cup nut meats broken up fine
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 2 tbsp molasses
- 1⅔ cups milk
- Mix the white flour, baking powder, soda, and salt together and sift it with the flour sifter. Empty this into a big mixing bowl and add the Graham (whole wheat) flour, dates, and nuts.
- Add the brown sugar, the molasses, and the milk. Stir it all up with a big spoon until it is well mixed, and then pour it inot a well greased bread pan.
- Put the loaf into the oven at 350℉ for 50 minutes. When it's done, take it from the oven and let stand for five minutes, then carefully turn it out of the pan. Let the bread cool completely before cutting.