Dale Carson 6/13/16

Browsing large magazine sections in stores can be fun, especially the covers of food magazines. The photographs are always spectacular, which makes me gravitate toward certain ones and realize why the price of the publication is so high.

I’ve often been so infatuated by the food image on the cover, I’ve bought the same magazine twice, forgetting I already had it. I’m a sucker for red, my favorite color, so a picture with tomatoes gets me every time. Another teaser is a picture of fresh baked bread or rolls—I can imagine how it smells baking.

Every cultural area in Indian country, if not every tribal nation, has breads that are unique to them.  Then, there are other breads that are made by all, like corn bread or fry bread, but that may have variations. Many breads are used as a vehicle to put foods on or in, a tortilla for example. Many breads take the name of their major flavor ingredient, pumpkin, apple, molasses, wild rice, walnut, cranberry, lemon, blueberry, and on and on. Here are a couple to get us ready for summer, which is just around the corner.

Strawberry Bread

½ cup real butter, softened

¾ cup maple sugar

2 cups flour

1 egg

½ cup cornmeal, white or yellow

½ cup chopped walnuts

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

Milk - enough to form a stiff batter

1 heaping cup of strawberries, wild or commercial

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread ingredients in a greased 8- or 9-inch baking pan and bake for 20-25 minutes. Let cool then serve warm.

To vary, mix together 2 tablespoons of light brown sugar with ½ teaspoon of cinnamon and sprinkle on top before baking.


Cranberry-Apricot Bread

1 cup dried cranberries (crasins)

1 cup dried apricots

1 tablespoon lemon zest

1 cup boiling water

4 tablespoons butter, room temperature

1-1/2 cups sugar

2 eggs

3 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Cover the apricots with boiling water and let stand for 10 minutes. Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl, add eggs and apricots and blend. Now add flour, baking powder and salt. Mix well and fold in nuts. Pour into a greased 9 x 5-inch loaf pan or two 8 x 4-inch loaf pans. Bake 50 to 60 minutes, until done.

To vary this bread, use chopped dates or fresh peach pieces and some pine nuts.

This fruit bread has apricots and cranberries similar to the recipe presented here. (iStock)

Dale Carson, Abenaki, is the author of three books: “New Native American Cooking,” “Native New England Cooking” and “A Dreamcatcher Book.” She has written about and demonstrated Native cooking techniques for more than 30 years. Dale has four grown children and lives with her husband in Madison, Connecticut.


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Pumpkin Fry Bread

Pumpkin Frybread

Makes 20 fry breads

4 cups fresh pumpkin, peeled, cubed

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 cup warm milk

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 cups lard, shortening or vegetable oil for frying

For serving: Cinnamon and sugar

Cover the pumpkin with water in a saucepan, bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until the pumpkin is tender, about 15 minutes. Drain the pumpkin, and mash to a smooth texture.

Stir the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix pumpkin, milk, brown sugar, and vanilla extract. Pour the wet ingredients in the flour mixture, and stir together to make a dough. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and knead a few times until thoroughly combined. Don't over-knead. Cover the dough and let it rest for 30 minutes.

Heat lard or shortening over medium heat in a large heavy skillet until it shimmers. Break off egg-sized pieces of the dough, pat them out flat into rough circles about 4 inches across and 1/4 inch thick. Pierce a small hole in the center with the tip of a knife.

Fry, turning once, until the dough puffs up and begins to brown at the edges, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Push the fry bread into the oil to help it puff. Drain on paper towels.

While hot, sprinkle lightly with cinnamon and powdered sugar. Serve warm.

Paw Paw Bread

Whatcha Need:

1 c. melted butter
2 c. sugar
4 eggs
2 c. pawpaw pulp
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
4 c. sifted all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
3 c. pecan pieces plus 16 pecan halves

Whatcha Do:

Preheat oven to 375o F. Grease two 9x4x2-inch loaf pans. Beat together butter, sugar, and eggs. Add and beat in the pawpaw pulp and lemon juice. Sift the flour and baking powder together, and stir them into the batter. Stir in the pecans and scrape the batter into the loaf pans. Garnish each loaf with 8 pecan halves, and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. The top corners of the loaf will burn, but that adds flavor and character

Fried Squash Bread

1 cup Corn meal
2 Summer squash -- diced
1 Egg
1/4 cup Buttermilk

Cook squash in water until soft; leave 3/4 c. water in pot. Combine other ingredients with squash and water; mix together. Fry in hot oil until golden brown.

Blueberry Zucchini Bread

3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup vegetable oil
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups white sugar
2 cups shredded zucchini
3 cups of flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 pint fresh blueberries


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease 4 mini-loaf pans.
In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar. Fold in the zucchini. Beat in the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Gently fold in the blueberries. Transfer to the prepared mini-loaf pans.
Bake 50 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a knife inserted in the center of a loaf comes out clean. Cool 20 minutes in pans, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely.

Apricot, Pine Nut & Ginger Bread


5 Cups All-purpose Flour
1 Cup Granulated Sugar
1 Cup Brown Sugar
6 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1 1/2 Teaspoons Salt
1 1/2 Cups Pureed Apricots (May Use Baby Food Jars)
2 Eggs
1 1/2 Cups Milk
6 Tablespoons Light Olive Oil
1 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 Tablespoons Grated Fresh Ginger
1 1/2 Cups Lightly Toasted Pine Nuts (Keeping 1/4 Cup Aside)
1 1/2 Cups Chopped Dried Apricots

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Mix together in one bowl the eggs, milk, oil, vanilla, and pureed apricots until smooth.
In a separate bowl mix together the flour, baking soda, salt, and sugars.
Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and stir together just until moistened, then stir in the apricots, and pine nuts.
Divide the mixture into two 8 X 4 inch greased loaf pans, sprinkle the remaining pine nuts over the loaves and gently press to help them stick.
Bake for 45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean and loaves are golden brown.
Cool for 10 minutes then remove from pans and cool completely on wire rack.

Pork and Bean Bread


1cup raisins
1cup boiling water
2cups sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1cup vegetable oil
1teaspoon vanilla
1 (15-ounce) can pork and beans
3cups all-purpose flour
1teaspoon cinnamon
1/2teaspoon baking powder
1teaspoon baking soda
1cup chopped nuts


Add raisins to boiling water and set aside.
Mash beans with a fork in a large bowl until very smooth. Add sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla. Mix well.
Sift together dry ingredients and fold in. Drain raisins and fold in with chopped nuts.
Spoon batter into three greased and floured loaf pans.
Bake in a 325F oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Dandelion Bread

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1 cup dandelion flowers (petals only)
1⁄4 cup canola oil
4 tablespoons honey
1 egg
1 1⁄2 cups milk


Combine dry ingred. in large bowl, including petals & make sure to separate clumps of petals.
In a separate bowl mix together milk, honey, oil & beat in egg.
Add liquid to dry mix. Batter should be fairly wet & lumpy.
Pour into buttered bread tin or muffin tin.
Bake 400* muffins (12) 20-25 min, bread 25-30 min or until done.

No Knead Walnut Raisin Bread Yield: One 10-inch round loaf; 1 1/2 pounds
Equipment: A 4 1/2- to 5 1/2-quart heavy pot

Ingredients: 3 cups bread flour
1/2 cup raisins
1 1/4 teaspoon table salt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup walnuts
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon instant or active dry yeast
pinch fresh ground pepper
wheat bran, cornmeal or additional flour for dusting

1. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, raisins, walnuts, salt, cinnamon, yeast, and pepper, mixing thoroughly. Add the water and, using a wooden spoon or your hand, mix until you have a wet, sticky dough, about 30 seconds. If it’s not really sticky to the touch, mix in another tablespoon or two of water. Cover the bowl and let sit at room temperature until the surface is dotted with bubbles and the dough is more than doubled in size, 12 to 18 hours.

2. When the first rise is complete, generously dust a work surface with flour. Use a bowl scraper or rubber spatula to scrape the dough out of the bowl in one piece. Using lightly floured hands or a bowl scraper or spatula, lift the edges of the dough in toward the center. Nudge and tuck in the edges of the dough to make it round.

3. Place a tea towel on your work surface and generously dust it with wheat bran, cornmeal, or flour. Gently place the dough on the towel, seam side down. If the dough is tacky, dust the top lightly with wheat bran, cornmeal, or flour. Fold the ends of the tea towel loosely over the dough to cover it and place it in a warm, draft-free spot to rise for 1 to 2 hours. The dough is ready when it is almost doubled. If you gently poke it with your finger, it should hold the impression. If it springs back, let it rise for another 15 minutes.

4. Half an hour before the end of the second rise, preheat the oven to 475 degrees F, with a rack in the lower third, and place the covered 4 1/2 – to 5 1/2 -quart heavy pot in the center of the rack.

5. Using pot holders, carefully remove the preheated pot from the oven and uncover it. Unfold the tea towel and quickly but gently invert the dough into the pot, seam side up. Cover the pot and bake for 30 minutes.

6. Remove the lid and continue baking until bread is a deep chestnut color but not burnt, 15 to 30 minutes more. Use a heatproof spatula or pot holders to gently lift the bread out of the pot and place it on a rack to cool thoroughly.

Wild Rice and Carrot Bread

Makes: one 9x 5-inch loaf

2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cups milk
2/3 cup vegetable oil or melted butter
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 cups shredded carrots
3/4 cup wild rice

Add the wild rice along with 1 1/4 cups water to a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a low simmer, cover, and cook for 45 minutes. Remove from heat, fluff with a fork, and drain off any excess water. Measure out 1 cup of cooked rice; save any extra for another use.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, oil (or butter), and carrots.
In a separate large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, brown sugar, and salt. Add the drained wild rice and toss to coat.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined.
Grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan and pour the batter into the pan. Bake for about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
Allow the loaf to cool for 10-15 minutes in the pan before turning it out onto a rack to finish cooling.

High-Rise Cornbread
Makes 2 loaves

1 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons salt
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup honey
2 (1/4-oz.) active dry yeast (2 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 cup warm water (110F, 45C)
2 eggs, room temperature
4-3/4 to 5-1/4 cups all purpose or bread flour
1 tablespoon butter, melted
3 tablespoons yellow cornmeal

In a small saucepan, combine milk, 2 tablespoons butter and salt. Over medium heat, bring to a simmer. It's ok if the butter does not completely melt. Remove from heat. Slowly whisk in 3/4 cup cornmeal, stirring until smooth. Stir in honey. Set this cornmeal mixture aside to cool.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine brown sugar and yeast in water and stir to dissolve. Let stand until foamy, 5 to 10 minutes. Add eggs, cooled cornmeal mixture and 1 to 1-1/2 cups flour. Beat at medium speed for about 2 minutes. Stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. As soon as the dough pulls away from the pan, stop adding flour.

Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead dough 8 to 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place dough in greased bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover with a slightly damp towel. Let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

When risen, punch down dough; knead 30 seconds. Grease 2 (9”x5”) loaf pans. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon cornmeal over bottom and sides of each pan. Divide dough in half, shape each half into a loaf and place in prepared pans. Allow to rise 30 to 45 minutes, or until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Slash tops of loaves as desired. Brush with melted butter; sprinkle with remaining cornmeal. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until bread sounds hollow when tapped . Remove loaves from pans. Cool on racks.

Sweet Potato Bread

3 cups sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups cold mashed sweet potatoes
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup chopped pecans, optional


In a bowl, combine sugar, eggs, sweet potatoes and vanilla; mix well. Combine flour, baking powder, nutmeg, allspice cinnamon, salt and baking soda; stir into potato mixture. Fold in nuts if desired. Pour into two greased 8x4-in. loaf pans. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until bread tests done. Cool in pans 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Persimmon Bread

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup acorn flour, chestnut flour, or whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon nutmeg or mace
2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup duck fat or leaf lard, melted and cooled
4 eggs, slightly beaten
2 cups persimmon puree
2 cups chopped nuts (walnuts, hickory nuts, pecans)
2 cups dried fruit (raisins, lingonberries, cranberries, etc)


Prep the pans. Butter two 9-inch loaf pans and then dust them with a little flour, shaking out any excess. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Mix the dry ingredients. Whisk together the flours, salt, baking soda, nutmeg and sugar.
Mix the wet ingredients. Whisk together the cooled, melted butter and duck fat, the persimmon puree and the eggs.
Make the batter. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix together. As you are doing this, add the nuts and fruit. Pour the batter into the loaf pans and bake for about 1 hour, until a toothpick comes out of the bread clean. Let rest a few minutes, then turn out gently onto cooling racks.


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