JACK BE NIMBLE, JACK BE... QUICK BREAD CHALLENGE
There are some things that are better slow : Sunday mornings, coffee and cinnamon buns, walks taken hand-in-hand, sipping a really good glass of wine, hot bubble baths, just to name a few.
But sometimes quick is better : dentist visits, ironing, parent-teacher conferences, bumping into that boring neighbor on the street, the one who drones on and on.
The same goes for bread. When I have the time, nothing beats the soothing calm of kneading soft sweet dough for homemade cinnamon buns or the more vigorous action for Friday night pizza dough. Watching the magic of bread rising before shaping it and popping it into the oven, lattice-topped apple coffee cake or poppy seed-studded dinner rolls.
But I love quick breads as well and find myself throwing one together at least twice a week when something delicious is needed in a flash – loaves of chocolate chip banana or cranberry-orange, muffins of cheddar cheese or chocolate, mixed together at the last minute and eaten warm from the oven just 20 minutes later.
This month’s Bread Baking Day challenge – BBD #18 – is perfect : Quick Breads. I saw it announced and I jumped upon it immediately with a big cheer. This fun monthly bread challenge was started by Zorra of Kochtopf, and this month’s Challenge #18 is hosted by Mansi of The Fun and Food Blog. The rules? Just make a quick bread and post it. How easy and quick is that?
I decided to put aside my usual breads and go back many years to my college days when I was discovering the joy of quick breads from Anna Thomas’ The Vegetarian Epicure. Today, I chose her Sweet Oatmeal Raisin Bread, a not too sweet tea bread made up of regular and rye flours with rolled oats blended in, moistened by yogurt and flavored with molasses. Add to that plump, sweet golden raisins to jazz it up and it is a beautiful, dense loaf perfect with a variety of cheeses, although cream cheese is its perfect teatime partner. Or serve it warm from the oven or toaster with this amazing Honey Spice Butter, sweetened with a splash of honey and redolent with earthy, sensual cinnamon and nutmeg. Wow!
SWEET OATMEAL RAISIN BREAD
From Anna Thomas’ The Vegetarian Epicure
1 cup unbleached or all-purpose flour
1 cup rye flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 Tbs sugar
1 cup rolled oats
1 ¼ cups yogurt (I used 0% fat fromage frais)
¼ cup molasses
1 cup raisins
Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter a loaf pan.
Sift or mix together all of the dry ingredients then stir in the rolled oats.
Beat the yogurt with the molasses until blended and smooth. Stir into the dry ingredients until everything is thoroughly combined.
Add the raisins and mix again until all the raisins are evenly distributed.
Pour into a greased or buttered loaf pan and let stand about 20 minutes before baking (to be honest, I forgot to do this!).
Bake for 1 hour for one loaf – I baked my 4 mini loaves for 45 minutes.
The loaf/loaves is a wonderful, dense, moist tea bread, sweetened by the raisins you find in every mouthful.
Result : I was rather upset (ask my son) when I ended up with more of a dough than a batter; I thought that there was a mistake. But I forged ahead and baked it anyway, dividing the dough into 4 and forming each into a mini loaf. It isn’t the prettiest of breads, rather coarse and rustic looking, but it truly is dense and moist with the fabulously sweet flavor of the raisins.
I used to make this back in my college days and serve it with cream cheese which is perfect with the raisin bread. This time I made this incredible Honey Spice Butter and smeared it rather generously on a warm slice of the bread and it was oh so fantastic! I highly recommend it. Perfect for breakfast or tea and will be wonderful toasted as well.
JP loved it, and that says a lot!
HONEY SPICE BUTTER
½ cup (125 g) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
2 tsps clear honey
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
Place all ingredients in a bowl and combine until well blended and smooth.