Friday, March 27, 2009



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!

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!).

Mine didn't pour as much as get shaped...

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!


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.


cooknkate said...

Quick breads are one of my most favorite baking items. They're so versatile and simple to throw together. This loaf looks delicious, but that butter looks divine!

Jamie said...

Kate, I have to admit that this honey spice butter, which I don't think I've made these 20 years, is absolutely to die for! Amazing! So easy to do and so dangerous (it stares at me and calls my name every time I open the fridge).

Lori said...

Oooh! I love this recipe with the rye flour. And that honey spice butter?! Sounds like heaven. Looks like we were on the same wave length with our cinnamon and raisins this week. Ha, ha! Thanks for stopping by my blog!

Jamie said...

Lori - told you that I loved anything cinnamon-raisin! I have another sweet bread coming up with cinnamon and raisins (when I find the time to slot it in!). Thanks for stopping in!

~Carole said...

Hi Jamie,

Thanks for stopping by my blog. Yours is indeed fabulous! I'm going to read more of it now.


teresa said...

What a wonderful looking bread! I love quick breads too, I make them all the time, this looks so yummy, and the butter...mmmm!

Culinary Wannabe said...

I really love the texture, and its sorta rustic look. When I think of oatmeal anything, that's how I picture it looking. And the butter sounds amazing as well!

asiangrrl said...

Jamie, I love rustic, dense breads. I love raisins. I love honey. This entry is full of win. In fact, it's perfect because I can get sick just by drooling over the luscious pictures.

Mansi said...

awesome! that's health and taste in one bite:) thanks for sending them over for BBD:)

doggybloggy said...

I need to do a little catch up reading here and tip stealing and recipe mongering and stuff like that...

English Mum said...

Ooh that looks really good. And seriously, Jamie, only you would pipe that butter in such an adorable fashion! xx

My Carolina Kitchen said...

My mother made bread almost everyday when we were growing up. In fact we never ate store bought bread. I tend to only make quick breads and this sounds easy enough for me to make.

Sophie said...

Jamie, these breads look so delicious!!! Thanks!!
PS. I am glad tha we found each others foodblog!! Now, I have made new foodie friends in France!!!

scraps said...

This sounds and looks so yummy, especially the spice butter! Thanks for visiting my site.

Shelly said...

Your bread looks awesome! I love all the healthy ingredients, like the rye flour and oatmeal. Kinda makes the addition of the delicious butter not seem too bad :)


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