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.
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Categories: Grade Range: B- to B+, Quick Breads

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