My mother was a natural born baker. She could improve any recipe put in front of her. This may be why I am not so motivated to bake but I am to eat. I would watch her for hours as a small child and wait patiently for what would arise out of the oven (so to speak). One of her greatest achievements was bread.
I do recall the divine aroma of German Stollen. It is a bread unlike any other. Literally cake and fruit bread in one. It is leavened with yeast and baked with citrus zest in the dough. It is filled with fruits and nuts and a little rum, and covered in powdered sugar. This bread dates back to the 15th century as a bread eaten during the Christmas holiday.
Soda bread is very popular among the Irish and one of her favorite quick breads. Not worrying about perfect mixing and temperatures as required for regular bread was a treat for her. In this bread sodium bicarbonate is used as a leavening agent which makes the process fairly quick and simple. Today, I enjoy dunking it in fresh coffee.
She once made Serbian Soda Bread for Christmas with a coin in the middle to signify the luckiest person for the New Year. My piece released the quarter and I proceeded to swallow it. It caused a bit of a ruckus and that was the last time that special touch was added.
When it was time for scones, another quick bread, she made them with oatmeal and cranberries and just enough butter milk to make them tender. This delight originated in Scotland in the 1500s.
Her fruit breads included loaves of Banana, Cranberry, Pear, Peach, Strawberry, and Blueberry. They were moist and delectable. My friend Andrew repeated her recipe and kept me stocked up on fruit breads for weeks. Thank you Andrew! This is a good resource for quick breads at FoodNetwork.com
Remember: Be Strong, Eat Bread