Walnut Date Bread is a rich, dense, moist and nutty quick bread that can be made just as well in a Dutch Oven, a sun oven, or a kitchen oven.
I recently made this delicious Walnut Date Bread. Although I usually bake in my solar oven, the day was looking a little cloudy and I didn’t know if I would have enough sun to heat the solar oven as long as it would be needed to bake the bread. The main drawback to using a solar oven is the fact that, if there is no sun, there is no cooking. In such a case, there needs to be an alternative cooking method. For us, one of those methods is using a Dutch Oven. But just like with anything else, you have to practice the skill in order to be able to be able to use when you need it. And this was the perfect opportunity to practice our Dutch Oven cooking skills.
Cooking in a cast iron Dutch Oven is really pretty simple. However, it does take a little bit of tending. The first thing that is needed is a stack of white hot coals. Read here to learn how to start charcoal. We used an 8 inch Dutch oven. The temperature of a Dutch Oven is regulated by the number of coals that are used. We wanted a temperature of 325°F. So the formula calls for 6 hot coals on the bottom (8″ – 2 = 6 coals) and 10 hot coals (8″ + 2 = 10) on the top. Once the coals are in place, the Dutch oven must be rotated a quarter of a turn every 15 minutes to evenly distribute the heat and keep the food from burning. So the pot is turned 1/4 turn clockwise and the lid is turned 1/4 turn counter-clockwise every 15 minutes. Read here to learn exactly How to Cook in a Dutch Oven.
So I decided to make one loaf in my solar oven, and one loaf in the Dutch Oven. The batter for Walnut Date Bread is heavy, sticky, and chunky. This makes a rich, dense, and moist bread.
Walnut Date Bread
- 1½ cups chopped dates
- 1½ cups hot water
- 2 TBSP butter
- 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ cups sugar
- ¾ - 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 1½ tsp baking soda
- 1½ tsp salt
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1½ tsp vanilla extract
- Light the coals and let them burn to white hot coals while preparing the ingredients.
- In a bowl, combine the dates, butter and hot water. Let sit for 5 minutes to soften the dates.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Stir to mix.
- In a small bowl, combine the eggs, and vanilla. Lightly beat the eggs.
- Gently add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients.
- Add the dates, butter, and hot water mixture to the flour and eggs.
- Add the walnuts to the mixture.
- Gently stir the batter until all is mixed and moistened.
- Pour the batter into 2 , well greased, 8" Dutch Ovens or a larger one as desired.
- Bake in the Dutch oven based on Dutch oven cooking directions.
Bake until a toothpick comes out clean. This bread baked 45 minutes at 300 degrees F.
To bake in a kitchen oven, bake at 375 degrees F for 45 - 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.