Quick Bread Image from the New York Times
Ah, the joys of modern technology! This week in the New York Times Dining section, Mark Bittman demonstrated how to make a savory quick bread via video. I couldn't wait to try it out. I've made sweet quick breads for years: banana, pumpkin, cranberry nut to name a few. While these all can be made with a minimal amount of sweeteners, they, in fact, tend to be made with quite a bit of sugar, either white or brown or some of each, and often additional sweets like raisins, dried fruit, or chocolate chips.
This bread does have a bit of a sweet component, molasses. The molasses lends the whole wheat flour a dark lush pumpernickel shade of brown and leaves just a hint of both pumpernickel and Boston brown bread on the taste buds.
I'm a big fan of homemade bread. But we don't always have the time to wait for the rise and often a second and third rise. This great little technique, using acid (buttermilk) and baking soda as leavening, provides a lovely loaf of moist, dense bread that is a perfect accompaniment to soups, salads and vegetarian entrées. I found it also makes a great breakfast treat, lightly toasted and slathered with soft Irish butter or an afternoon snack, topped with whipped cream cheese and perhaps a dab of pure wild blueberry preserves.
Take a quick lesson by watching Mark's video. They say, a picture's worth a thousand words, these short videos are perfect for seeing just how things are done.
Preheat the oven to 325°. Grease a standard loaf pan. Mix the dry ingredients in one bowl, the buttermilk or yogurt and molasses in another, when the oven is hot and the loaf pan is prepared, carefully and gently, mix the wet ingredients into the dry, being careful not to over mix. Bake until firm and a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 45 - 60 minutes. It's simple, fast and delicious.
List of ingredients: 1 2/3 cups buttermilk or plain yogurt; 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour; 1/2 cup cornmeal; 1 teaspoon salt; 1 teaspoon baking soda; 1/2 cup molasses. I used King Arthur white whole wheat flour with excellent results.
Here's Mark's additional instructions for a lighter bread: Use 1 1/2 cups whole wheat and 1 1 /2 cups all purpose flour; omit cornmeal. Substitute honey for molasses. Beat one egg into wet ingredients. Proceed as above. This might be nice to use for tea sandwiches with homemade jams.
Till next time . . . keep on cooking.