There are many aspects of Fall that I welcome and delight in. Among a few things, Pumpkin Spice Lattes, cooler weather, and hefty loaves of quick breads. The last one is not only so versatile, but also so soul-soothing and easy for chillier mornings. All the quick breads are generally the same. Everyone knows pumpkin bread, banana bread, even apple bread… But not many know about Buttermilk Nut Bread.
Quick breads hold a special place in American history as a means of supplying sustenance using alternative leavening measures when ingredients and skilled bakers were scarce. By virtue of their name, they are made in a hurry when there is no time to spare waiting on a rise from a yeast dough. They are hearty enough to be filling when certain ingredients are called upon to stand in the place of others when the others can’t be requisitioned. This came in handy during great times of food insecurity (ie: The American Revolution, The Civil War, The Great Depression, and both World Wars).
Truth be told, I hadn’t heard of it either. I came across it in a vintage 1965 copy of The Culinary Arts Institute Encyclopedic Cookbook. The thick volume contains a vast array of recipes and some are multiples of the same recipe, but with slightly different methods/ingredients. It is fairly encyclopedic indeed. A multitude of quick bread recipes rose to greet me from the yellowed pages.
The Buttermilk-Nut Bread recipe caught my eye as I was all-too aware of half a quart of buttermilk languishing in my fridge. I needed to use it before going out of town for the long Labor Day holiday weekend. The thick, tart liquid is too delicious to let turn. Using it would ensure preventing waste, providing a delicious snack on the road, and offering a loaf to a family for which I was providing a meal upon my return. Three birds with one stone.
There was nothing especially unique or groundbreaking about this quick bread. Nothing miraculous, but the hospitable way in which this humble loaf comforted and presented a sense of “home” made it better than any store-bought. It traversed the space between Summer (Indian Summer more like) and the elusive “fall” here in the South. It was a pleasure to devour naked or cloaked in Barney Butter Chocolate Almond Butter!
What are some of your favorite go-to quick breads?