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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Jalapeno Cornbread

Makes 24 servings

½ cup bacon grease or vegetable oil, divided use

1 cup finely diced onions

1 diced poblano, plus 2 diced jalapenos (for mild cornbread) or 6 diced jalapeños for hot cornbread

2 cups fresh corn cut from the cob

2 teaspoons, plus a pinch of salt, divided use

2 cups organic cornmeal

2 cups organic flour

1/3 cup sugar

2 tablespoons baking powder

½ teaspoon smoked, sweet paprika

2 cups sharp cheddar, shredded (Gouda or smoked cheddar may also be used)

2 cups organic buttermilk

2 large eggs, pastured preferred (use 3 if they’re small)

1 stick melted butter
Instructions: Grease 9-by-13-inch baking pan or cast iron skillet and place in 350 degree oven.

Sautee onions on medium-high for 3 minutes, then add diced chiles. Cook 1-2 minutes. Add corn, pinch of salt and set into a mixing bowl to cool.

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Combine cornmeal, flour, remaining salt, sugar, baking powder, paprika and cheese in a separate large mixing bowl and set aside.

In the bowl with peppers, corn and onions, add buttermilk, eggs, melted butter and remaining bacon grease. After combining wet ingredients, add them to dry ingredients. Do not over mix. Let rest for 15 minutes.

Add mixture to hot pan or cast iron skillet and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick or knife comes out clean when inserted in the middle.

Wild Huckleberry Bread

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 1/2 X 4 1/2 loaf pan.

Whisk together:
1 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, beat on high:
6 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup sugar

Gradually beat in:
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
3 T maple syrup

Add the flour mixture in three parts, beating on low or hand mixing until just combined. Fold in 1 cup of wild huckleberries. (You may substitute 1/2 cup of dried berries and 1/2 cup chopped pecans).
Bake 45 minutes. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes before unmolding from pan to further cool before slicing. Dust with powdered sugar.

Mushroom Bread


1/4 cup butter, cubed
1 pound fresh mushrooms, chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
2 tablespoons plain yogurt
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon salt
4-3/4 to 5-1/4 cups all-purpose flour


In a large skillet, melt butter. Add mushrooms and onion; saute until tender. Add soy sauce; cook and stir 2 minutes longer. Cool to room temperature.
In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the yogurt, honey, salt, mushroom mixture and 2-1/2 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough (dough will be sticky).
Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Divide dough in half; shape into loaves. Place in two greased 9x5-in. loaf pans. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes. Bake at 400° for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

Sprouted Brown Rice Bread
Dry Ingredients:
3 cups sprouted brown rice flour
¾ cup arrowroot powder
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon sea salt

Wet Ingredients:
2 cups milk (can use coconut milk also)
3 large organic eggs
1 tablespoon maple syrup (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a glass bread loaf pan (8 x 4-inches).

In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients and mix together with a wooden spoon until completely incorporated. Pour batter into oiled bread pan.

Bake for approximately 60 minutes. Cool for about 20 minutes, then release bread from the pan, place onto a wire rack and cool completely before slicing.

Zucchini Bread

2 cups drained grated zucchini
¼ cup melted ghee or butter
1¼ cups raw or packed brown sugar
1¼ cups unbleached white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons arrowroot or cornstarch
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ cup buttermilk
¾ cup raisins or chopped dates
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and lightly flour a 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan.
Mix the zucchini, ghee or butter, and sugar.
Mix the dry ingredients together and add to the zucchini mixture.
Add the buttermilk and mix just until all the ingredients are blended. Stir in the raisins or dates and the nuts.
Spoon into the baking pan and spread evenly. Bake for about 1 hour.

Acorn Bread


473 ml (2 cups) acorn flour
22 ml (1½ tablespoons) butter or margarine
118 ml (½ cup) granulated sugar
10 ml (2 teaspoons) baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 egg
237 ml (1 cup) milk or milk alternative

If you’d like to make this bread a little less “traditional,” you can add an additional 237 ml (1 cup) acorn flour, 59 ml (1/4 cup) milk or milk alternative, and 1 more egg. The additional of ground cinnamon or nutmeg will make a Thanksgiving-style bread. The indigenous people would often replace some of the acorn flour with cornmeal.


1. Preheat oven to 177°C (350°F).

2. Combine all ingredients in a bowl, and mix together thoroughly. Place in a small greased bread pan or muffin pan.

3. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread is dry when removed, 15 to 20 minutes.

Apple Stuffed Fry Bread

Fry breads are a Native American tradition, and this apple-stuffed version is simply spectacular.


2 cups flour
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 medium to large apples, peeled, cored, and chopped into 1/4 to 1/2-inch chunks
Oil for frying


In the bowl of an electric mixer and using the dough hook, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt, then add the shortening. Mix slowly on low, adding the water as needed, until the dough forms a ball.
Divide the dough into 12 smaller balls. With your hands, press each ball into a 4-inch circle.
On one half of each circle, place several pieces of apple. Use a bit of water to moisten around the edge of the dough, then fold the other half of the dough over the apples and press the edges together with a fork.
In a pot suitable for deep frying, place 1-inch of oil and heat to 350 degrees. Using a slotted spoon, carefully place each fry bread into the oil. After about a minute, flip each bread; fry until each side is golden brown. (Be very careful when working around hot oil!) Remove from the oil and place on paper towels to soak up the excess oil.
Optional: When slightly cooled but still warm, place each fry bread in a mixture of sugar and cinnamon and coat each side. Prepare to be amazed!


Green Tomato Bread

Makes two 8-by-4-inch loaves

3 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups grated green tomato (from about 2 medium tomatoes), skin, seeds and pulp included
1 1/2 cups toasted pecans, chopped (see NOTE)
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting (optional)


Position a rack in the bottom third of the oven; preheat to 350 degrees. Grease the loaf pans with bakers' spray (oil and flour).

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a mixing bowl, breaking up any lumps of brown sugar. Make a well at the center.

Combine the eggs, oil and vanilla extract in a liquid measuring cup, stirring well. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients and stir just until moistened. The batter may look dry; that's okay. Fold in the tomato flesh and pecans.

Turn the mixture into the prepared baking pans. Bake for 55 minutes to an hour, turning the pans front to back halfway through, or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

Transfer to a wire rack; cool (in the pans) for 10 minutes, then remove from the pans and cool completely before serving or storing.

Dust with confectioners' sugar, if desired.

Crumbly Pumpkin BreadIngredients
For the bread

Cooking spray
2 c.

all-purpose flour
1 tsp.

ground cinnamon
1 tsp.

baking soda
1/2 tsp.

baking powder
1/2 tsp.

kosher salt
1/2 c.

(1 stick) butter, melted
1 1/4 c.

granulated sugar
1 c.

pumpkin purée
1/3 c.

sour cream

large eggs
1 tsp.

pure vanilla extract
For the topping
1 c.

all-purpose flour
1/2 c.

butter, softened
1/2 c.

lightly packed brown sugar
1 tsp.

ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp.

kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350°. Line an 8“-x-4” loaf pan with parchment paper then grease with cooking spray (or softened butter). In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
In a separate large bowl using a hand mixer, beat melted butter, sugar, pumpkin puree, sour cream, eggs, and vanilla. Gradually add dry ingredients to wet ingredients until just combined.
Make topping: In a medium bowl, stir together all ingredients until large clumps form.
Transfer batter to prepared pan then scatter topping on top. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, about 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes.

Currant Bread

1 yeast cake
1/4 cup lukewarm water
9 cups flour
2 cups shortening
1 lb. raisins
1 lb. dried currants
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup molasses
3 halves candied lemon peel
1 Tbsp. nutmeg
1 Tbsp. salt
3 cups warm water

Mix the yeast in the lukewarm water to soften, then mix the shortening and flour. Add the rest of your ingredients, including the yeast but not the warm water yet. Once it has been fully mixed together, add the warm water. Let the dough rise overnight, form into loaves, and allow to rise for another couple of hours. Bake at 350 °F for an hour and a half.

Southwest Surprise Bread Ingredients:

2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
2 cups warm 2% milk (110° to 115°)
1 can (16 ounces) spicy fat-free refried beans
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 teaspoons salt
5 to 6 cups all-purpose flour


In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm milk. Add the beans, sugar, butter, salt and 2 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a firm dough.
Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a bowl coated with cooking spray, turning once to coat the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide in half. Shape into loaves. Place in two 9x5-in. loaf pans coated with cooking spray. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.
Bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool.


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