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Calumet Colonial Bread

This hundred year old recipe is absolutely delicious!

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Afternoons have a golden light, waxing and waning behind the web of tree branches in the sky, making a theatrical simmering dance on the dining room walls, the kitchen, and the living room. It’s this time of day that beckons you to slow down, make a pot of tea, and eat this Calumet Colonial Bread. This almost a hundred-year-old recipe makes a quick, no-fuss bread that can be your perfect afternoon companion.

In an age before social media and influencers, products were sold and promoted with add-on items, which would drive home the ever-pressing need for you to buy this product. As companies have been swallowed by others, merged, and slimmed the market of competitors, it’s hard to imagine companies giving away free items. However, at the turn of the century, there was more variety in products and brands on the market and more of a need to make your item better than the others in town. To differentiate themselves from others on the market, companies used vivid imagery, peculiar mascots, and loads of product promotion to make their items stand out from the rest. This pamphlet for Calumet Baking Powder is from the early 1920s and is a prime example of this.

Here in the book is a recipe for a quick bread simply called Calumet Colonial Bread. While it is probably not a historical recipe, as there was no baking powder in colonial times, and colonists used pearlash as a leavener. Quick breads were easy ways for colonists to get the feeling of bread without the time-consuming drudgery of yeasted bread making. While the most famous colonial era quick was cornbread, colonists made non-yeasted bread with alternative ingredients like rice flour and potatoes. Here, Calumet Colonial Quick Bread is similar to a cornbread or biscuit recipe, but has a textural addition of chopped nuts. It’s a great way to have the taste and feel of homemade bread without the hassle of waiting for things to rise.

Start by prepping your dry ingredients. Flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt are shifted or whisked in a bowl until well combined. Next, you make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the milk. For this recipe, I used whole milk, but you could easily use buttermilk or heavy cream to get a luxurious flavor.

The dough will get sticky at this point so switch to a spoon or spatula to get everything well combined. Finally, fold in the chopped nuts. Here I opted for chopped almonds, but you can go for whatever nuts you have lying around in your pantry.

I baked this in two 9-x-5 loaves, but you can easily bake this in a square 8-x-8 baking pan if you don’t have loaf pans on hand.

While this humble quick bread doesn’t have a show-stopping appearance this aroma, taste, and texture are miles from what you’d buy in the store.

The almonds have a nutty aroma against the slightly sweetened bread. When cooled, this bread slices cleanly, making it a great base for your favorite jam or jelly.

Here, I went with good-old butter as a topping, but it’d also taste great with mascarpone cheese or cream cheese.

Calumet Colonial Bread is a versatile player in the kitchen. This bread is only slightly sweet and can go with both sweet and savory meals, or it could be the star of the plate as well. The best part is that it takes no time at all.

Yield(s): Makes 2 loaves

12m prep time

25m cook time

Rated 4.7 out of 5
Rated by 7 reviewers

Allergens: Nuts, Gluten, Milk, Wheat

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you're making mealtime meaningful.
100% of the Share to Care sponsor fees fund meals for families in need. Learn More
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup chopped almonds
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and grease two 9-x-5 inch baking loaves with baking spray, set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, sift flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add in the milk, stirring to combine.
  4. Fold in the chopped almonds.
  5. Spread batter into the prepared baking loaves and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until cooked completely.
  6. Let loaves rest in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Slice up warm or serve at room temperature or toasted, enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Calumet Baking Powder Reliable Recipes.