March Baker’s Spotlight

March Baker's Spotlight

March Baker’s Spotlight

Food educators across the U.S. will recognize Roberta Duyff, MS, RDN, FAND, FADA, St. Louis, MO, as author of essential texts Food Nutrition and Wellness  and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Complete Food & Nutrition Guide.  But beyond text book writing, you may not know, Roberta’s Czech family heritage has made her born to bake! 

“The  aromas of Grandma’s rye bread, houska, and kolache warmed our hearts in fall and winter. In summer, Mom’s homemade pies, made with cherries and apples from our own fruit trees, did, too. And spring was time for baking angel food cake topped with freshly-picked strawberries and whipped cream.  From our early childhood, we learned from Mom to bake these family favorites.  And eventually, those baking skills helped fuel our lifelong careers in food, nutrition, and family and consumer sciences.”

Especially for March National Nutrition Month (NNM), try Roberta’s Carrot Hazelnut Quick Bread.  Packed with vegetables, nuts and whole grain, it’s a chance to celebrate “the great tastes of good health”!  “Once baked, it confirms that ingredients matter for great flavor, quality baked goods, and good health.  My inside tips for this recipe include 

  • Whole wheat flour combined with all-purpose adds fiber, a nuttier flavor, texture, and rich brown color.
  • Using oil, which has less saturated fat than butter, makes baked goods tender and moist.
  • Applesauce and grated carrots add moisture and a nourishing fruit-and-vegetable boost.
  • Cinnamon, nutmeg, and lemon peel enhance bread’s sweet flavors … without adding calories.
  • Hazelnuts, add a rich, earthy flavor, nutrition and a crunchy topping to the bread’s surface.  

“To add flair and visual appeal, Carrot Hazelnut Quick Bread I baked in a decorative ceramic bread baker, made by a local potter.  And the result, a beautifully domed, 7-inch diameter, crusty loaf!”

Check out this amazing recipe here!

Make Sure to Use Roberta’s Baking Hacks for this Recipe

  • For a perfect top surface (no holes) insert the instant-read thermometer through the side or bottom of the loaf and at an angle.
  • Maximize the nut flavor by roasting raw nuts. Spread whole nuts on parchment paper on a baking sheet. Roast for about 10 minutes at 350°F/177°C until nuts are golden brown and fragrant, stirring occasionally.  For hazelnuts with skins on, let them steam for 1 minute after roasting, and then using a towel, gently rub them to release their skins.  Cool before chopping.
  • When you juice a lemon, grate the lemon peel first, let the grated peel air dry overnight. Then store it in an airtight container for later use.
  • Nutmeg:  For a fuller flavor in baked goods, buy whole nutmeg (rather than ground nutmeg).  Grate or grind nutmeg yourself. If stored properly, whole nutmeg lasts indefinitely. Cinnamon sticks can be grated, too.
  • For future baked goods, make your own 100%  vanilla! The fragrant aroma is worth the wait – and it takes just two ingredients. Simply split 4 to 5 vanilla beans. Place them in a lidded glass jar


A Little Background Information on Roberta!

With our Czech family heritage, my sister Linda and I were born to bake!

The  aromas of Grandma’s rye bread, houska, and kolache warmed our hearts in fall and winter. In summer, Mom’s homemade pies, made with cherries and apples from our own fruit trees, did, too. And spring was time for baking angel food cake topped with freshly-picked strawberries and whipped cream.  From our early childhood, we learned from Mom to bake these family favorites.  And eventually, those baking skills helped fuel our lifelong careers in food, nutrition, and family and consumer sciences.*

That said,  every time of year … including March National Nutrition Month (NNM) … is home baking season at my home these days — and a chance to celebrate “the great tastes of good health”! My recipe for healthy home baking during NNM is a twist on popular quick bread: Carrot Hazelnut Quick Bread.  And once baked, it confirms that ingredients matter for great flavor, quality baked goods, and good health.  

  • Combining whole wheat flour with all-purpose flour not only adds fiber, but also gives bread a nuttier flavor, a firmer texture, and a rich brown color.
  • Using oil, which has less saturated fat than butter, makes baked goods tender and moist.
  • Both applesauce and grated carrots add moisture, too, along with a nourishing fruit-and-vegetable boost.
  • Cinnamon, nutmeg, and lemon peel enhance bread’s sweet flavors … without adding calories.
  • And hazelnuts, a less common tree nut, add a rich, earthy flavor, along with their good nutrition … and a crunchy topping to the bread’s baked surface.

To add flair and visual appeal, Carrot Hazelnut Quick Bread was baked in a decorative ceramic bread baker, made by a local potter.  And the result, a beautifully domed, 7-inch diameter, crusty loaf!

Roberta L. Duyff, MS, RDN, FAND, FADA
Food and Nutrition Consultant, Author, Speaker
rduyff@duyff.com  Twitter: @RDuyff    

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