Cousin James- I finally got to peach bread! 🙂
He requested it nearly a month ago… I don’t know how I let that much time go before figuring out a recipe for peach bread. I thought back to my past quick breads and the one that stands out most to me is the Strawberry Cream Cheese Bread. It was so moist and flavorful. So I thought I would adapt that one a bit and come up with a peach bread!
One of the major differences between this and the strawberry bread, other than the starring fruit, is the addition of whole wheat flour. This is the secret ingredient. This is what I’ve been missing in some past quick breads! This gives it that hearty mouth-feel and richness of flavor that I’ve been longing for! I’m so happy that I randomly decided to make this substitution! The majority of the flour is still unbleached all-purpose but I subbed in whole wheat for 3/4 cups. I wanted the bread itself to have a stronger flavor and a denser texture and I think I achieved that with this! It’s not so much wheat as to be overpowering, just the right amount. I also opted to slice some of my fruit and lay it across the top of the bread to caramelize during baking! What a beautiful presentation that created! I may have to start doing that with other quick breads (as well as incorporating some whole wheat flour)! As you might have noticed, I kept the streusel topping from my previous quick breads because I love it so! Who doesn’t love streusel?
The “cream” part of this bread is really two-fold: cream cheese and half-and-half (which is half cream). Both of these make for nice, moist bread. I meant to drop in small cubes or spoonfuls of cream cheese into the batter as I poured it into the loaf pan but forgot somehow. I’m not sure it would have been entirely necessary but I still may try it next time. Then again I may not because this was one of the best quick breads I’ve had (let along made) as is. Not trying to toot my own horn but you know… As this recipe uses half of a standard brick of cream cheese (4 oz. of an 8 oz. brick) you could cube the remaining half and either fold those (cold) pieces of cream cheese into the finished batter or drop them in randomly as I fill the pan. I invite you to try it and let me know what you think! You may get to it before I do as I tend to get carried away with new projects in the kitchen more than I revisit past ones (except for my most favorites of course, which I am pretty sure this will end up being).
I do suggest that when chopping the peaches for the batter leave them slightly chunky so that in the finished product there is some texture to them still. I recommend about 1/2 pieces. For the slices on top, cut half a peach into 8 slices and you should have the right thickness. These will be pretty thin because you don’t want them to be too heavy or moist laying on the top of the loaf like that. You want them to get a bit caramelized as well, which won’t happen if they are too thick. I opted to put the peaches on top of the streusel so that they would be more visible although i did sprinkle a few crumbs of streusel over the peaches before popping in the oven.
Peaches and Cream Bread
Ingredients for the streusel:
- 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tbsp. superfine sugar
- 1/4 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- Pinch of ground cinnamon
- Pinch of fine kosher or sea salt
Directions for the Streusel:
- Mix all ingredients together with your fingers until it resembles coarse sand
- Set aside until you have put the bread batter into the loaf pan
Ingredients for the Bread:
- 1 1/2 cups of chopped, peeled and pitted ripe (but firm) peaches (chop roughly into 1/2 inch cubes or smaller, if to your liking; about 1 ½-2 medium peaches)
- Half a peach peeled, pitted and sliced thinly
- Half a lemon
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup superfine sugar
- 4 ounces full-fat cream cheese, softened + 4 oz. cream cheese cubed and chilled (additional 4 oz. optional)
- 2 eggs, room temperature and lightly beaten
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. fine kosher or sea salt
- 1/2 cup half and half (or whole milk)
- 1/2 cup chopped and toasted walnuts or pecans (toast by baking on a sheet tray for about 5 minutes at 350 F in a single layer)
Directions for the Bread:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F with the rack in the center position
- Immediately after peeling, pitting and chopping peaches, squeeze the half lemon over them and toss to coat lightly with the juice. This will prevent the peaches from oxidizing (browning).
- Grease and flour a 9X5 inch loaf pan (or coat lightly with baking spray)
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, sugar and cream cheese until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes) You could easily do this in a medium bowl with a wooden spoon. Since the butter and cream cheese should already be soften, it wouldn’t be too difficult to cream them by hand.
- Add eggs, half at a time, mixing until combines, scraping the bowl after each addition
- Mix in vanilla
- In a medium bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt
- Add the flour mixture 1/3 at a time to the wet ingredients, mixing until just barely combined- don’t over-mix!
- Add the half and half or milk and until just combined
- Fold in the walnuts and peach chunks
- Fold in the chilled cubes of cream cheese, if using
- Pour batter (it will be on the thick side) into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top
- Sprinkle the streusel evenly over the dough
- Layer the sliced peaches in a single layer down the center of the loaf
- Bake for 50 to 65 minutes. Check for doneness with a cake tester: it should come out clean when it is done. Don’t over-bake. It should be about 200 degrees in the middle when finished.
- Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes before removing to a cooling rack
- Once cooled, wrap the loaf tightly in plastic wrap to keep in moisture
As I’ve said in the past, quick breads are better the day after baking. But I can never seem to wait that long to cut them… I do make a point to get them wrapped up tight as soon as mostly cool to keep in moisture. Never before sneaking a slice though… lol
James I hope that give this one a try! It’s easy to put together and delicious! If you do make it, share a slice with grandma for me!!!! xoxo