bread, the old fashioned way

Whenever I am tempted to go out and buy a whole bag of Twizzlers and eat them in one sitting, I remember this moment from Little House in the Big Woods:

When all the trading was done, the storekeeper gave Mary and Laura each a piece of candy. They were so astonished and so pleased that they just stood looking at their candies. Then Mary remembered and said, "Thank you."

Laura could not speak. Everybody was waiting, and she could not make a sound. Ma had to ask her:

"What do you say, Laura?"

Then Laura opened her mouth and gulped and whispered, "Thank you."

For a long time, indulging in sugar was no luxury at all for me. It was a requirement, multiple times a day, that I did without much thought. Lately, I find that my indulgent moments are more like Laura's, and honoring the privilege is so much more satisfying than mindlessly consuming.

I like to remember how relationships with food can be so different when we don't have easy access to anything we want all the time. There are people who have no choice but to be hungry sometimes, people who eat nothing but rice and beans, people who are over the moon for the sweetness of an apple.

Sort of makes you appreciate things.

I wanted to make a loaf bread without the additional cup of sugar that appears in most recipes for banana bread or pumpkin loaf or zucchini muffins. I wanted to make a loaf bread that made me feel like I was living in a little house in the big woods. I wanted to make a loaf bread that only contained the sugar found naturally in fruit.

I guess raisins were probably a luxury for Laura and Mary too. But I think it's a step in the right direction.

This bread is nutty and naturally sweet. The whole wheat really shines, which means this loaf actually tastes like real bread, not cake. And the spices make it the perfect autumn breakfast. I like eating a fat slab with a hot cup of tea and my morning blogroll.

Raisin-Applesauce Loaf

2 tbsp chia seeds
1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup light olive oil
1/4 cup non-dairy milk (I used almond)
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts or hazelnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease the bottom and sides of a loaf pan. Combine the chia seeds with 6 tbsp water in a small bowl. Stir together, then let sit to thicken. In the mean time, mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices in a large mixing bowl. In another bowl, stir together the chia mixture, applesauce, olive oil, and milk. Add to the dry mixture and stir until just mixed. Fold in the raisins and walnuts. Then transfer to the loaf pan and spread out the top. Bake for 90 minutes.


  1. oooooh! this looks so lovely. i am in the same boat as well. i am craving a little sugary detox and getting back to appreciate the natural sweetness in real food. novel idea, right?

  2. This loaf looks great. I love how you didn't add any extra sugar and used applesauce. That's a great trick. I do that too. Just came across your blog, and happy I stopped by. Thanks for sharing.

  3. This is exactly how I like to bake--letting the natural sweetness of fruits speak for themselves. And what a wonderful, touching way to frame it. I loved this post and am now feeling so grateful for the privilege of delicious food. Thank you.


Thanks for making me smile. =)