Friday, January 15, 2010

Brother Boniface Rocks!

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Volleyball season kicks off which means lots of travel, packing healthy, yummy, convenient food and endless hours in the gym. I am so excited! After 6 years of this, I am a bit of a pro, and there are a few things I always bring. Popcorn, popped in my Whirly Pop, plain or kettle, it is the best snack for on the road. Good for the digestive system! Banana Bread, I have blogged many times about my banana bread. The recipe is here and it never fails to please. It is low fat, or at least it was until I added the chocolate chips, and it stays very moist. I like to bake it and freeze it well wrapped in foil and then cut down the middle and then slices, so the pieces are a little smaller and more manageable.

So I poked around my freezer for bananas and was disappointed to only find three black ones. That's just one loaf, so what else am I going to bake? The oat bran bread was already in the oven, but I didn't think that would go over well with 16 yr old girls. And, by the way, I added a cup of freshly grated carrots to the oat bran bread, what a great addition! A little more crunch, and it got me thinking about all the other possibilities.

Then I rummaged around the pantry and found a can of pumpkin leftover from the fall. Hmmm, I perused my tub file for a pumpkin bread recipe, because I usually make pumpkin muffins and I was out of chocolate chips, so I needed something different. I found one that was cut from Southern Living, no idea what year, but the little blurb next to a picture that is cut off reads Brother Boniface bakes daily at Mepkin Abbey in Charleston, South Carolina. It is common for persons in religious orders to take the name of a Saint. Sadly I cut the picture off and when I went to the website of Mepkin Abbey I didn't see a Brother Boniface in the photo, nor any mention of a bakery. However, these entrepreneurial monks are mushroom farmers, and sell them at local stores and even have a few recipes on their website. Isn't the internet amazing!?

Now a little aside about St. Boniface. It is the name of my childhood church in Clinton, Iowa and is very dear to my heart. I made my first communion there and spent many Holy Days of Obligation there. It is a gem in a very unassuming place. St. Boniface was the Patron Saint of Germans and is recognized as bringing Christianity to the German's when he cut down the Oak Tree of Thor and dared the mighty Thor to stop him. A big wind came and blew the tree down and the people were drawn to the power of God. He died in 754, so the legend was passed. Clinton, Iowa was a very German community, and the church of St. Boniface is thankfully well preserved.

So it was decided I would make Brother Boniface's Pumpkin Bread. I liked the looks of the recipe, lots of spices, a whole can of pumpkin (because what can you really do with a ⅓ of a can of pumpkin in the fridge?). I altered it with walnuts instead of pecans, I used King Arthur's White Whole Wheat Flour and I used buttermilk instead of water. The bonus, it makes 2 big loaves and it's delicious! Now it isn't lowfat, low in sugar or anything like that, but dang, it is moist and satisfying!
So, get in there and Bake!

Brother Boniface's Pumpkin Bread
4 cups flour
3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon cloves
¼ teaspoon ginger
4 eggs
1 cup oil
1 can pumpkin (15oz)
⅔ cup water (I used buttermilk)
1 cup chopped nuts (walnuts for me!)

Beat first 14 ingredients at medium speed with a mixer until moistened. Fold in nuts and pour into greased loaf pans.
Bake at 350° for an hour or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pans and turn onto a rack to finish cooling.


  1. I can't believe I stumbled across your blog! I have the exact same Southern Living article with this recipe! I've been making this bread for YEARS- it is by FAR the best pumpkin bread EVER!!! (sorry about all the caps, I'm just REALLY excited!!) Yay for you! Thanks for sharing!

  2. No...I LOVE the really is fantastic! Come back soon!

  3. No...I LOVE the really is fantastic! Come back soon!