Thursday, March 01, 2007

Bittman's Quick Bread

The last time Mark Bittman published a bread recipe, there was a largely positive response from the food blogging community. So, when a new recipe for whole wheat and molasses quick bread appeared in the NYT yesterday, I thought I'd take a crack at it.

Unlike most quick breads, this is a savory loaf. Extolling their virtures, Bittman writes, "savory breads that can anchor a hearty vegetarian dinner or serve as a side dish at a more conventional meal. " Extremely easy to pull together, the recipe produces a very pretty finished product. It's a hearty and dense loaf with a lovely rich color and a scant sweet smell from the molasses.

But I'm not the biggest fan of whole wheat bread, so I'm not crazy about it. I toyed with adding raisins -- which would make things sweeter -- but didn't, and I regret that. That's not to say it isn't a good recipe; clearly, the recipe uses good ingredients and yields a quality loaf. If you're a whole wheat fan, I'm sure this will float your boat. But it's not my thing.

Quick Whole Wheat and Molasses Bread

Oil or butter for greasing pan
1 2/3 cups buttermilk or plain yogurt, or 11/2 cups milk and 2 tablespoons white vinegar (see note, below)
2 1/2 cups (about 12 ounces) whole wheat flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup molasses.

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease an 8-by-4-inch or 9-by 5-inch loaf pan, preferably nonstick. [I greased the pan, then dusted it with whole wheat flour--LR]
If using buttermilk or yogurt, ignore this step. Make soured milk: warm milk gently — 1 minute in the microwave is sufficient, just enough to take the chill off — and add vinegar. Set aside.

Mix together dry ingredients. Stir molasses into buttermilk, yogurt or soured milk. Stir liquid into dry ingredients (just enough to combine) then pour into loaf pan.
Bake until firm and a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes before removing from pan.

Yield: 1 loaf.


Papa J said...

My mom used to make these for breakfast only, she would bake them in small loaf pans and we would each get our own loaf (about the size of two muffins.) I can still smell it. I'll have to give this recipe a spin.

Don't worry, I'll report back on my results.

Raisins huh...

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with you. I saw this and for some reason all I could think about was a bad meal I had in Ireland a few years ago. There is something about those dark breads, not named pumpernickle or sweet, that just give me shivers. Thanks for trying it. Saves me the run through. I likely would not have executed as well as you either, so my wife double thanks you.

Peabody said...

I like whole wheat everything. I may try this but I really should make the every popular no knead bread first.

Anonymous said...

My 4 and 6 year olds cannot get enough of this bread! I have tried both the buttermilk and the yogurt recipes and the yogurt produces a much moister loaf. I make the small loaves and we eat it with fruit and cheese for lunch and it is one of the kids favorites. Thanks!