Poppy Seed Bread with Pear Raisin Relish

Executive Chef Chad Johnson’s recipe is courtesy of his childhood where a friend’s mother showed him how to make a simple batter bread he still prepares today.
Photography By Bob Thompson | January 01, 2016

Ingredients

Bread
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 ½ tsp. baking powder
  • 1 ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 ½ cups sugar
  • 1 ½ cups whole milk
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbs. almond oil
  • 1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbs. poppy seeds
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • 1 tsp. finely chopped shallots
  • 1 Tbs. honey
  • 3 Tbs. sugar
  • 3 Tbs. water
  • 2 Tbs. oak-aged vinegar
  • ½ cup diced Bartlett pears
  • ½ tsp. ground fennel seed
  • 1 Tbs. finely chopped fennel fronds

About this recipe

EXECUTIVE CHEF CHAD JOHNSON,
EPICUREAN HOTEL AND HAVEN

Executive Chef Chad Johnson’s recipe is courtesy of his childhood in Paducah, Kentucky, where a friend’s mother showed him how to make a simple batter bread he still prepares today. “She owned a seafood restaurant that was my first exposure to the industry, and making this bread is a small reminder of where I came from.”

While the bread recipe hasn’t changed, how he incorporates it into his recipes is a long way from serving it as the breakfast item it was originally intended to be.

“Over the years, I’ve become obsessed with cheese and how to integrate it into my recipes. Combining this bread with a sweet relish and blue cheese is something I’ve used over the years to blur the lines between a sweet and savory finish to a meal.”

Instructions

FOR THE BREAD

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and spray two muffin tins with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.

Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, add milk, both oils, vanilla extract and poppy seeds. Mix until fully combined. Add dry ingredients and blend together.

Fill each muffin tin three-quarters of the way full. Transfer to oven and bake, turning halfway through, for about 40 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer to wire racks to cool.

FOR THE RELISH

In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, combine raisins, shallots, honey, sugar, water, and vinegar. Simmer until raisins begin to plump and liquid is reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Add pears and ground fennel seed to saucepan and continue cooking until pears are tender, about three to five minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely. Add fennel fronds and gently stir until fully combined.

ASSEMBLE

Slice the muffins into quarters, toasting two quarters of each muffin. Transfer toasted and non-toasted muffins onto a cheeseboard.

Serve with pear-raisin relish and blue cheese

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Ingredients

Bread
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 ½ tsp. baking powder
  • 1 ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 ½ cups sugar
  • 1 ½ cups whole milk
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbs. almond oil
  • 1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbs. poppy seeds
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • 1 tsp. finely chopped shallots
  • 1 Tbs. honey
  • 3 Tbs. sugar
  • 3 Tbs. water
  • 2 Tbs. oak-aged vinegar
  • ½ cup diced Bartlett pears
  • ½ tsp. ground fennel seed
  • 1 Tbs. finely chopped fennel fronds
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