Brown Butter Strawberry Vanilla Bread

Posted on 22 August 2012

Brown butter strawberry-vanilla bread

High-altitude baking intimidates me.

I know the gougeres turned out fine last week. But those didn’t contain any leavening agents.

Bread requires leaveners. Sometimes, as in this case, even 2. I’ve spent months avoiding baking whenever possible. I’ve combed the interwebs to understand the science and — let’s be honest here — exact formulas that would guarantee high-altitude baking success.

Sorry to break it to me, but there aren’t any formulas. Baking at high altitudes is a leap of faith.

Brown butter strawberry-vanilla bread

I’m not good at that.

Some have tried to assuage my visions of failure: of sunken craters and of sticky cakes. I briefly considered attending a high-altitude baking class (egads!). Ultimately, however, it was Cake Duchess and her Twelve Loaves challenge that provided the motivation for this arduous task.

This so-called “bread” did not emerge perfectly from the oven. It was a little dry. It was a little overdone. It was probably denser than it should have been. You know what? I didn’t care. Because it was — in Matt’s words — “heavenly.”

When I decided to participate in this challenge, I naturally turned to my good friend Martha for inspiration. Strawberries are the summer fruit I miss most from living in California. Martha’s strawberry bread — with a few modifications — had to be the first baked good I attempted.

Brown butter strawberry-vanilla bread

The process was an olfactory feast. Cooking down the strawberries recalled the vats of jam I processed every year. The sublime aroma of the browning butter recalled the Mysore pak my mother used to make. The cinnamon (for which, in retrospect, I wish I had substituted cardamom) recalled almost every American baked treat I enjoyed as a child.

And that was before it even went into the oven.

Martha recommends cream cheese as a spread. I recommend enjoying this warm straight out of the oven.

Brown butter strawberry-vanilla bread

Brown Butter Strawberry Vanilla Bread

Yield: 8 servings


5 tablespoons, plus 1 teaspoon, browned unsalted butter
1 pint strawberries, rinsed, hulled, quartered, and mashed with the back of a spoon
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/3 cup water


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-by-4-inch loaf pan. In a small saucepan, bring strawberries to a boil over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Set aside.
Whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt; set aside. With an electric mixer, cream butter, sugars, vanilla extract, and eggs in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add flour mixture alternately with water, beginning and ending with flour. Gently fold in reserved strawberries.
Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth top. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 1 hour (tent with foil after 45 minutes if top is getting too dark). Cool in pan 10 minutes. Run a knife around edges; invert onto a rack. Reinvert; cool completely.
Or be like me and eat straight out of the pan.

Adapted from Everyday Food


19 responses to Brown Butter Strawberry Vanilla Bread

  • betty says:

    Love that shot of your bread on the wood board. I know you’ve got canning at high altitude so I am sure soon you’ll get baking at high altitude. I’ll have to try strawberry bread. Yum!

    • allfourburners says:

      I definitely need more practice at baking. I don’t mind if the results are ugly, as long as they are tasty.

  • Lisa says:

    I love this strawberry loaf so much… the brown butter and vanilla really taking it up so many levels! Thank you for baking with us..and I hope you continue to do so!

    • allfourburners says:

      Lisa, I plan to. Although I am scared to death of yeast, I need to get over this fear of high-altitude baking.

  • Shelley C says:

    WOW – that looks amazing. I am adding this to my to-bake list right away!!! Wonderful.

  • Deb says:

    We enjoy a long strawberry growing season and I am always searching for new recipes to try! Your browned butter strawberry bread is a splendid idea!

    • allfourburners says:

      Thanks, Deb! I didn’t realize how much I would miss the long strawberry season when I left california. Alas, I will have to enjoy them imported.

  • Lora @cakeduchess says:

    I think you took on the challenge and really did a wonderful job. I do agree that it looks heavenly and I bet your high altitude baking will just get better as you practice. Thank you for participating with #TwelveLoaves:)

    • allfourburners says:

      Lora, thanks for creating the #TwelveLoaves challenge. I’m worried about the first yeast challenge, but it will be fine.

      Or, if it doesn’t, it will be a tasty loaf regardless.

  • Jenni says:

    Oh wow! This bread is beautiful! I love the awesome combination of flavors here, great idea! And yes, high altitude baking intimidates the crap out of me, too! You did an excellent job on your leap of faith, though! Keep it up! 🙂

  • Carolyn Jung says:

    Brown butter makes everything better. And in strawberry bread? That sounds absolutely divine. 😉

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  • Lisa Konieczke says:

    I love breads. This looks like a good one to try. My kids love strawberries too. This is something I can bake with my Daughter. She loves helping in the kitchen now, she is 9. I have all the ingredients except the strawberries. Nothing a quick trip to the store can’t fix. I love you presentation of the bread. Wish this was eat-a-vision, haha.

    • allfourburners says:

      Hi Lisa, I was debating whether to make this bread again this past weekend. Definitely a good one…enjoy!

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