I bet you're asking, why do I call this a tea bread and how is it different from either a quick bread or cake? So let me try to explain...why I've call this a "tea bread" and not either of the two above. Typically, a quick bread refers to a loaf, usually made with fruit (i.e., banana, zucchini, etc.) and the ingredients are stirred together so the protein fibers don't bread down. It has less sugar than cake and, in fact, the ratio of flour to fat to sugar is different. Quick breads also came about in the United States with the creation of leavening agents--baking powder or baking soda--which gives rise to the bread with heavier ingredients in it. Cakes, on the other hand, use "air" to give them rise; beating butter and sugar together until fluffy traps fat crystals in the sugar helping with lift. Also, a low-protein flour, like all-purpose flour is used so gluten doesn't form from beating the ingredients. Now, a tea bread lies somewhere between the two. Although very similar to a quick bread because of a lower amount of sugar, it does use the technique to cream the butter and sugar together to form "air" for lift. And, then there's the definition in Webster's dictionary that says, "a tea bread is eaten with a cup of tea!" A dip in temperatures yesterday prompted a nice slice of tea bread with a hot cup of Irish Breakfast Tea.
Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Tea Bread
5 T unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 oz. cream chest
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Cake Flour
3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder*
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 buttermilk
2/3 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts
*I used Triple Blend Dutch-process Cocoa
Preheat oven to 350F-degrees. Grease a large loaf pan or use a 10-cup Bundt pan. I also dusted some cocoa in the pan.
Stir together the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture alternately with the buttermilk and vanilla extract. Fold in the hazelnuts to evenly distribute in the batter, which is very thick.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Smother the surface. Bake in the preheated oven until firm to touch and pulls away from the pan sides, about 1 hour 15 minutes. You can also use a cake tester! If the top looks like it's browning too much, loosely cover with aluminum foil. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes, then turn the loaf out of the pan onto a rack or serving dish and let cool completely. I dusted the top of my loaf with confectioners' sugar (icing sugar). Cut into thick slices to serve.
Although we had this in the evening after dinner, it was also perfect this morning. Enjoy
This month's apron is appropriately in colors to celebrate Valentine's Day, but also to keep in mind to stay in the "pink" health wise. Comment on the posts this month and you could be the lucky recipient wearing this apron to bake in your kitchen!