We’ve lost the humidity in the city so I think that officially means it’s Fall, right? I know we have about two more weeks of “summer” but I’m already pulling out my sweaters, donning boots, and adding cinnamon and allspice to my seasonal breakfast bread recipes, like this peach bread recipe I made last week for Labor Day in the Mountains.
Last weekend for Labor Day, we went to the Highlands in NC to enjoy the mountain air and (most importantly) attend one helluva costume party at the club. Whenever I get invited up I can’t bring myself to come empty-handed to my hosts and use these trips as an opportunity to try a new recipe. The first time I brought up a couple of my favorite candles from candlefish, but this time I thought something homemade would be just the trick.
So with a morning free of responsibilities (besides the ever-necessary packing), I got to baking a recipe just for that weekend.
I wanted it to be autumn-themed and incorporate end-of-summer fruit. What started off as potentially something blackberry infused, ended up using my favorite end-of-summer fruit: Peaches.
On average, it’s pretty rare to have our peaches last this long in stores, but sadly we’ve had a pretty poor crop this year since we didn’t get much of a freeze where the peaches grow. A peach tree needs a hearty frost to set it up for a successful fruiting season. With the warmer winter we had, we ended up with smaller peaches. So when I could find them at the grocery store, I would nip them up for one of my favorite peach recipes, or experiment with new ones.
Like I did for this peach bread recipe.
I’ve never put peaches in bread before. This isn’t any sort of transcendental experiment, with enough sweetness and the right texture, peaches go with any sort of dessert-masking-itself-as-breakfast type of food. I did have to do a little bit of tweaking to my standard banana walnut bread to accommodate the peaches and lack of moisture.
However, I will tell you that from my real-life taste testers, this recipe was a morning hit. I’m thankful to have people in my life who want to gobble these things up willingly. Make sure you bake this for others to enjoy, if you have it sitting around just for yourself, it’s very tempting not to eat the entire loaf on your own.
Peach Bread Recipe (can also make muffins from this as well)
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 lemon zested
- 2 cups all-purpose flour sifted
- 8 heavy shakes of cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4-1/2 cups of milk see notes
- 3 large peaches diced
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts optional
- Demerara sugar for garnish optional
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F, position the rack on the middle of the oven.
In a large bowl or stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light. About 3-5 minutes.
Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring after each addition.
Add the vanilla and lemon zest, stirring until combined.
In a separate, smaller bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
Alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk to the creamed mixture.* if your peaches are particularly juicy, add in less milk. The batter should be thick and loosely hold it’s shape. Think of it like very pliable cookie dough.
Fold in the peaches, being careful to not overwork the batter.
Line the 9 inch bread pan with parchment paper and then spoon the mixture into the loaf pan. Sprinkle with a dusting of Demerara sugar (optional but encouraged).
Bake in the oven for 60 minutes, checking to see if a toothpick comes out clean.
At 45 minutes cover the top of the bread with a tinfoil tent to prevent from over browning.
Bake until a toothpick inserted at the center comes out clean.
If your peaches are particularly juicy, reduce milk to 1/4 cup. This way you prevent the batter from getting too wet.
If you want to make these into muffins, raise your oven temperature to 375°F and bake for 30-35 minutes.
Also, you may notice that this bread was baked in a parchment paper lining. This wasn’t for aesthetically pleasing photographs (although it did lend to those), but consider parchment paper the Reynold’s wrap of cooking utensils. I love these flat pieces of parchment, so much easier to work with then the stuff on the roll. You want to cut the corner squares out of the parchment paper so that it looks like a box with all of its sides taken off, and then stuff it down in the baking pan. The absolute greatest thing about parchment paper is that it didn’t leak, there was no fuss on pulling this bread out, and when it came time to peel the sides of the parchment paper off the bread wall, it just slid right off leaving a perfect golden crust behind.
It was worthy of a photo, so behold!