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Cherry Pistachio Bread w Slice

Gotta say – my flat smells amazing. MMMMM mmmmmm. Like fresh-baked bread. Cherry-Cinnamon Pistachio Bread to be exact. (What a tease! – I know …and oh oh oh I know you want a hunk.)

And you can have a hunk. You can even have a whole loaf.

But you gotta BAKE YOUR OWN.

Call me selfish, but it’s rare I share my bread.*

(*except at Soup Kitchen – come one come all there is a pot of soup on the stove waiting to be shared …and some homemade bread. My one exception!!! and it’s been a while.)

Unlike the Cookie or Brownie, a full-batch baking endeavor that a-l-m-o-s-t requires sharing (unless you can eat two dozen sugar bombs yourself – I sure can’t …or shouldn’t), a loaf of bread is sustaining  ~ a staple food that can be re-invented for days on end, meal after meal. A loaf has a lifespan – First Warm Slice all the way to Bread Pudding – it keeps on giving. Especially …if you love TOAST.

Do I LOVE toast? …well, indeed I do!

I love TOAST so much that I was compelled to do a bit of armchair archeological research while my little Cherry-Cinnamon Pistachio dough bun was in the oven.

Yup – it’s time for TOAST TRIVIA. (Buckle up.)

Soooo. Toast would not be possible without The Toaster – the one kitchen appliance I certainly can not live without. (Not even for a day – any moving day it is the Last Thing Packed.) So how does a TOASTER work? Excellent question.

Modern-day toasters (vs. old skool ‘toasting forks’ that one would dangle over an open flame) work by applying radiant heat directly to a slice of bread. When the surface temperature of your slice reaches 310 degrees F, a chemical reaction called the ‘Maillard Reaction’ occurs. Essentially, sugars and starches caramelize (i.e., turn brown) and take on complex flavors and textures. Yummm. Crunnnch.

This is TOAST.

The first electric, automatic “pop-up” toaster for the home was invented in 1926 in Stillwater, Minnesota by one Charles Strite. It was called the Toastmaster Model 1-A-1, a  ‘single-slicer’ affectionately nicknamed the Bachelor(ette) ~ to quote its tag-line, “…the perfect answer for the small family – the person living alone – and those who appreciate the new and unusual …”

It came in six sleek designs. Here is one that I found at an online Goodwill auction: http://www.shopgoodwill.com/auctions/Vintage-Toastmaster–Circa-1926–Model-1A2-6958487.html

The Toastmaster 1-A-1, 1926 ...uhhhh, 85 years old!

(Pretty RAD! ~ had no idea you could shop REAL thrift stores online! …always the last to know.)

In 1926, this toaster sold for $13.50 – a luxury item in its time. (In 2010, it sold at auction for $5 bucks.) The first two-slice toaster was invented in 1930, but due to prohibitive manufacturing costs, it did not become the American standard until the 1950’s.

Yeah. So TOAST – crusty (trusty!) comfort food that has nursed many a hangover, the cornerstone of any greasy-spoon breakfast, soup’s perfect dinner-date ….here is my recipe (almost there).

Originally, I was thinking of making the Classic Loaf – plain old sandwich bread – but in celebration of  TOAST, something a bit special (okay, extra-special!) seemed more appropriate.

With YOU, I share (the recipe for) my Cherry-Cinnamon Pistachio Bread …the rich cousin (bling!) of cinnamon-raisin bread, it is worth breaking out the almond (not peanut) butter for. I am being serious. I also have a jar of homemade fig jam heaven-sent from a dearest friend in Amsterdam that I have been rationing out – I think I know what I am having for breakfast.

Toast and Jam. (and COFFEE.)

Cherry-Cinnamon Pistachio Bread for Toasting Cherry Pistachio Toast

(I made this in my bread machine.)

1  1/2 cups  brown rice flour

3/4 cup  sorghum flour

3/4 cup  tapioca starch

1 T  xanthan gum

1  1/2 t  fine salt

2 t  ground cinnamon

1 packet dry-active yeast

2 T ground golden flax seed + 6 T H2O

1 T apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup  extra-virgin olive oil

2 T brown sugar

1 cup  warm H2O (around 105 degrees F)

1/3 cup toasted pistachios, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup dried bing cherries, coarsely chopped

You can TRY making this the old-fashioned way ~ without a bread machine ~ but I haven’t. (Let me know how it goes?) When I started baking bread a couple of years ago, I became dependent upon my little easy-bake oven (Breadman PRO). The convenience – almost no-fail bread, once I got the hang of it …though some early loaves (boulders) were nothing to be writing blog posts about. I will say – assembly of ingredients is especially important. (Pay attention! …or no toast for you!)

Special Step: beat together the 2T of ground flax and 6T of cold H2O and set aside for 5-10 minutes. I also recommend proofing your yeast.

BOWL #1 – whisk together flours, xanthan gum, salt and cinnamon.

BOWL #2 – mix together H2O, olive oil, cider vinegar, brown sugar, and the (now sticky) flax-H2O mixture.

Pour the contents of BOWL #2 into the bread pan for your bread machine. Add Bowl #1 on top – but do NOT mix. Sprinkle your yeast packet on top of the dry. Place the pan in your bread machine and START. (Bake according to your bread machine’s 2-pound loaf instructions.)

After the dough has taken ‘form’ in its kneading stage (you want kind of an ‘extra-thick cake batter’ consistency – add more warm water in small amounts, if needed), add in the pistachios and cherries.

Bake bake bake …wait wait wait.

Cool on a cooling rack and continue to wait as long as you possibly can …HARD, I know.

Give up. Slice …and TOAST.

Cheers,

Jules.

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