Strawberry Bread

By Ann Fulton

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This generously sized quick bread is lightly sweet with a delicate crumb and may just become a seasonal favorite!

Move over zucchini and banana bread, there’s a new quick bread in town! Strawberry bread is lightly sweet with a delicate crumb and may just become a new favorite. 🍓

     

 

Some recipes keep me up at night.

This was one of them.

Baking, as we often hear, is a precise science. Small variations in the amount of moisture, acidity, and binders, for example, have the potential to create noticeable differences in the outcome of your favorite cake or muffin recipe.

Case in point:

A sweet, fragrant fruit like strawberries has the ability to transform an ordinary quick bread into a seasonal favorite. (It’s not all about zucchini bread and banana bread, right?)

But finding the sweet spot (pardon the pun) with a moisture-rich fruit—we want enough to really taste it without creating a dense or soggy loaf—can pose a challenge. Plus, berries you pick or purchase from a local farm stand can be far juicier than the firmer varieties you’re likely to find at the grocery store.

Suffice it to say that when testing this recipe, I realized that results could vary, and I never want to share a recipe that could lead to a less-than-stellar outcome. I also like to have an equally delicious wheat-free adaptation for my many gluten-free readers, which can present yet another challenge.

This generously sized quick bread is lightly sweet with a delicate crumb and may just become a seasonal favorite!

I baked many loaves before achieving the standard I set for my recipes, but the time was well spent. When the stars finally aligned, the lightly sweet bread was a small slice of heaven.

My family and I now count this seasonal quick bread among our favorites. (And everyone likes the gluten-free adaptation as much as the regular! 😊)

At one point, I was almost there but still felt compelled to test a few more variables. However, before I made countless more batches to vet out my remaining questions (for a well-controlled test, you can only change one element at a time), I decided to consult an expert.

This generously sized quick bread is lightly sweet with a delicate crumb and may just become a seasonal favorite!
This generously sized quick bread is lightly sweet with a delicate crumb and may just become a seasonal favorite!

I called Clara, a baking specialist with King Arthur Flour. After collecting the necessary recipe data, she answered my questions and confirmed some of my suspicions.

As we chatted, I was able to ask her several other questions, like what type of milk does she prefer in her baked goods, and what are her thoughts on butter versus oil in certain recipes?

Our productive conversation lasted a good 30 minutes, after which time I sat down to my computer. When I added Clara’s tips to the insight I have gleaned over years of baking, I had essentially created a helpful troubleshooting guide and FAQ resource for my readers.

For those who may have a need, now or in the future, the Baking FAQs and Helpful Tips post is included on the Helpful Tips page of this blog. If you have a question that isn’t answered there, by all means ask!

Most importantly, know that if you have a result—for this or any other baked good—that is too moist, too dry, or the crumb or rise are not precisely what you expected, we can likely fix it.

Baking is a science, but the processes and knowledge are there to help us. If you put in the time and effort, the end result should meet, if not exceed, your expectations. 

That is always my goal when sharing recipes! 

This generously sized quick bread is lightly sweet with a delicate crumb and may just become a seasonal favorite!

I have yet to make muffins with this recipe, but they would likely turn out quite well. Plan on about 20 minutes at 350℉, give or take a few minutes. Sometimes, I start muffins at 425°F for 5 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 350°F for 12-15 minutes or until done. The higher initial temperature creates a higher dome on the muffin.  

This generously sized quick bread is lightly sweet with a delicate crumb and may just become a seasonal favorite!

Good rise, tender crumb, and even distribution of berries are a few of the features of this tasty loaf. I like to cut thick slices for a satisfying alternative to a morning muffin.

Flavors that complement strawberries include lemon, lime, cinnamon, vanilla, coconut, almond, hazelnut, banana, pineapple, chocolate (and white chocolate), peach, raspberry, rhubarb, mint, and soft cheeses (like goat, mascarpone, and cream cheese).

So, while I recommend making this quick bread as written before experimenting, the foundation of the recipe does offer a springboard from which to try new combinations. Within the recipe, I’ve mentioned a few things I’ve tried when running low on one ingredient or simply to mix things up. To ensure success when branching out, make changes in small increments and avoid changing too many things at once.

Strawberry Bread
Yield: one 9x5-inch loaf
This generously sized quick bread is lightly sweet with a delicate crumb and may just become a seasonal favorite!
Ingredients
  • 1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and chopped
  • 2 cups (256g) all-purpose flour (see notes for GF adaptation)
  • ¾ cup (144g) granulated sugar, divided use
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup (120g) melted coconut oil* (may substitute vegetable oil or melted butter)
  • ⅓ cup (80 ml) milk (2%, almond, even buttermilk)
  • 2 teaspoons (10ml) vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon lemon juice**
  • Optional: ½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts; ½ cup chocolate chips (white, semi-sweet, or dark); ½ cup shredded coconut; 1 tablespoon coarse or granulated sugar for topping
Instructions
  1. Place the chopped strawberries in a bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons of the measured sugar; set aside for about 10 minutes. Mash lightly with a fork before proceeding. (This will help draw out some of the juices for better texture and bread flavor later.)
  2. Preheat the oven to 350℉. Grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan. (I sometimes line it with a parchment paper “sling” for extra easy removal.)
  3. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, remaining sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add nuts, chips, or coconut, if using.
  4. In a large bowl whisk the eggs, then whisk in the oil. Mix in the milk, vanilla, and lemon juice, and then stir in the strawberries with all their juices. Add the flour mixture to the strawberry mixture half at a time, stirring until just combined after each addition. (Tip: the batter will be thick, but if your strawberries weren’t especially juicy and the batter seems too stiff to easily incorporate the flour, stir in an extra drizzle of milk, a tablespoon or two at time, taking care not to over-mix or thin the batter too much.)
  5. Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan. For a hint of sweet crunch, sprinkle the surface of the bread with the optional sugar topping. Bake for 60 minutes, give or take 5-10 minutes depending on oven, or until a toothpick inserted in the top comes out clean. (Tip: you can more accurately check doneness by inserting a quick-read thermometer into the center of the loaf, where it should register 205℉.) Allow to cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes and then remove to a rack and cool completely.
Notes

*The lemon juice provides the acidity needed for the baking soda to leaven and create the desired rise. In a pinch, you could substitute ¾ teaspoon white vinegar. It has a slightly higher pH, so the higher amount should yield similar results.

**The mild flavor of coconut oil complements the strawberries nicely, but another oil of choice may be used. When using coconut oil, bring the cold ingredients to room temperature before mixing so the melted oil doesn’t harden upon contact.

Storage: Store the bread on the counter for up to three days. If you prefer to refrigerate the bread, I recommend toasting, especially if using butter or coconut oil. (These fats re-solidify when chilled, which can make the bread seem dry.) The bread freezes well, too.

For gluten-free loaf: an equivalent amount of cup-for-cup all-purpose blend may be used. For slightly better flavor and texture, however, I prefer a combination of 1½ cups (192g) GF flour and ½ cup (60g) blanched almond flour. (In side-by-side taste tests, some people though this variation was the “regular” loaf.)

For an airier crumb that is less dense than the typical quick bread (like banana or zucchini), you may use 1 teaspoon baking powder and ½ teaspoon baking soda for the leavening. I prefer the denser, moister bread (which still has a good rise), but the option may be preferable to those who enjoy spreading butter or a soft cheese, like mascarpone or cream cheese, on the bread.

More options:
I have added both blueberries and a diced banana to this loaf when running low on strawberries. I love the addition of the diced banana and this may even be done when using the full amount of berries. Blueberries create more moisture in the loaf, so if you would like to make an all-blueberry loaf, I recommend reducing the amount to 1½ cups.
You could inject a hint of complementary flavor by adding the zest of one lime or lemon.
Similarly, you could use almond, hazelnut, or coconut extract. When using an extract other than vanilla, I start low as the flavor tends to be quite concentrated. For this loaf, I’d start with an amount between ½ and 1 teaspoon.

The Fountain Avenue Kitchen https://fountainavenuekitchen.com/

Some of the FAQs answered in my new “Baker’s Helpline” include the following:

  • Should I use a glass or metal loaf pan? 
  • What’s the best way to store quick bread and muffins? 
  • Why does my baked good seem dry when stored in the refrigerator? 
  • How do I intensify the fruit flavor in a quick bread or muffin? 
  • Which milk is best for baking? 
  • What do I do when the bread isn’t cooked through but is really brown on top?
  • How can I be sure the bread is cooked through the whole way? 
  • Why do I sometimes get a dense layer along the bottom of a quick bread?

As I receive questions, I will continue to update this resource

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Comments

    1. Ann Post author

      Thank you for picking up on that, Amy and for mentioning right away. Both should read baking soda. The soda in combination with the small amount of lemon juice creates the right pH balance in order to create a good rise.

      Reply
  1. Susan

    Hi Ann,
    You read my mind. I was just wishing the other day that I had a good gluten free recipe for strawberry bread. You can bet I will be trying this as soon as I can get strawberries. I am planning to use the local berries since they are in season. Will let you know how it goes! Also, the baking tips are very helpful.

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Hi Susan, Love it when the timing is just right! I was really pleased with the gluten-free variation and hope that you are, too. So glad the tips are helpful as well!

      Reply
  2. Joyce Post author

    Your strawberry bread recipe turned out great! Thanks so much for such a good recipe for delicious strawberries in June!

    Reply
  3. Ellen Finger

    I picked more strawberries than I knew what to do with, so this recipe was great! I made a few adjustments to suit my needs: I doubled it, used half coconut oil and half unsweetened applesauce, and subbed coconut sugar for the white sugar. I made muffins and added a few chocolate chips. Very good. Thanks, Ann!

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Love that you were able to make good use of your strawberry overflow with this recipe, Ellen! Thanks for mentioning all you did with it. I could eat one of those strawberry chocolate chip muffins right now!

      Reply
  4. Anne Besterman

    Hi Ann ~ I made the Strawberry Bread this week and it is YUMMY! I LOVE your suggestions of using a “sling” for easy removal and also testing “doneness” by using a fast-read thermometer. I tend to overcook sweet breads but this came out perfectly – baked but not overdone … texture is outstanding! My tip would be this – Do not over-smash the berries! My bread didn’t have any of the beautiful berry chunks that were in your photo – so sad but flavor still outstanding! Many thanks for another fantastic recipe!

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Hi Anne, I’m delighted you enjoyed the strawberry bread and appreciate the feedback. Glad that I could offer a helpful tip and that you had one to share, too!

      Reply
  5. Susan

    Hi Ann,
    I finally had a chance to make this bread. I made the gluten free version using 1/2 cup of almond flour. I got strawberries at a local farm stand and they were so juicy I was tempted to drain off some of the liquid. So glad I resisted the temptation. The loaf turned out perfectly and is delicious. We have had it for dessert with a scoop of vanilla ice cream (since it was Father’s Day). It is also great at breakfast time. Can’t wait to try it with some of the different fruits!

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Susan, I am delighted you are enjoying the bread, breakfast through dessert, and that you will be trying with other fruits. I’m looking forward to trying it with peaches before long!

      Reply