Although we are approaching the end of strawberry season here in North Carolina, I have to post this recipe and hope for a few more flats of berries to come my way in the next couple of weeks. This recipe is actually my second attempt at a strawberry bread. I felt my first attempt was a bit too dry and not quite sweet enough (but, for the record, I did give a loaf away anyway and definitely didn’t hear any complaints). The recipe that follows is heading in the right direction … a little bit moist, a little bit dense, and pretty sweet – but not too sweet. My children have been enjoying it plain or with a little bit of cream cheese on top!
4 cups of strawberries, sliced
1 1/2 cups of sugar, divided
1/2 cup of butter (1 stick), softened
3 tablespoons cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup olive oil
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1. Sprinkle about 1/4 cup of sugar over the strawberries. Do this even if the berries are fresh out of the garden sweet. The sugar sitting on the berries will create a nice little pool of red berry juice in the bottom of your bowl – this will go nicely when you add some berries and juice to the bread batter.
2. Combine butter, cream cheese, and olive oil in a stand mixer. Mix well. Add 4 eggs all at once. Mix again.
3. Separate out about 2 cups of the sliced berries to fold in at the end. Pour the remaining berries and juice into the mixer and mix. You can mash the berries a bit at this point.
4. Add in 3 cups of flour and the salt and baking soda. Mix.
5. Gently fold in the remaining 2 cups of sliced berries.
6. Pour into greased loaf pans – either 2 large loaf pans or 4 small loaf pans.
7. Cook at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. The loaf should be a nice brown color – I placed a knife in the middle to make sure it was cooked all the way through. Keep an eye on the time – smaller loaf pans might cook more quickly than 45 minutes in your oven and if you choose to use 2 large loaf pans, you might need just a few more minutes.
Notes about strawberries: Did you know that conventional strawberry growers in California use about 267 pounds of pesticides per acre of berries? That number is so disturbing! I think strawberries are a great example of why organic produce is worth a little extra money. Unfortunately, organic strawberries can be really hard to find. This season, I have mainly compromised by buying strawberries from Sunshine Farm in western North Carolina – the berries were sprayed once before growing but never sprayed again – in my mind, a far better choice than 267 pounds of pesticides per acre.
Although I am happy with the compromise, I have remained on the hunt for never-sprayed local berries and I did find delicious certified organic strawberries from Jake’s Farm (also in NC), but his supply is really limited – fingers crossed for more this week. (If you are in or near Charlotte, check out the Farmers Fresh Market website to see if he has any available!) Truth be told, I cannot schlep around town with four small children in search of organic berries so I welcome all suggestions. Lisa at 100 Days of Real Food said that she was buying organic berries grown in South Carolina at our local Earth Fare and I have heard that an assortment of Harris Teeters have been carrying organic South Carolina berries intermittently. Sooo… Where have you been finding strawberries?!?
Good luck finding and enjoying delicious local produce!! Hope you like this recipe!