I grew up reading Little House on the Prairie and often thought about what life was like for the early pioneers. Between 1820 and 1880 the promise of free land tempted settlers to make the perilous journey westward by covered wagons. Having made the journey by car it’s hard to imagine making the same journey by covered wagon. I’m sure the early pioneers had different versions of pioneer bread, probably made with corneal and rye and wheat flour. Without commercial yeast they would have relied on either sodium bicarbonate as the leavening agent or a sourdough starter.Pioneer Bread

This bread is reminiscent of the true Pioneer Bread, it relies on sour milk to do its leavening and has no butter or oil. The recipe makes two loaves. It is a quick bread and is delicious!Pioneer Bread

Pioneer Bread


3 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup flour
½ cup sugar
1 tsp. Baking powder
1 tsp. Baking soda
1 tsp. Salt
1 large egg
2 cups buttermilk
½ cup maple syrup
1 cup walnuts, chopped
½ cup raisins
½ cup dried dates, chopped


Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Grease two 9×5 inch loaf pans. Whisk the flours, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl. Beat the eggs in a medium bowl, and then stir in the buttermilk and maple syrup. Stir the egg mixture into the flour mixture until just combined. Then stir in the walnuts, raisins, and dates until just incorporated.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared loaf pans and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes our clean, about 1 hour. Cool on a rack for 10 minutes, then turn out onto the rack to cool completely, at least 45 minutes. Serve.Pioneer Bread

This Pioneer Bread will keep at room temperature wrapped in plastic wrap for up to 4 days. It can also be frozen for up to two months.Pioneer Bread

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