Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Fabulously Simple Whole Wheat Bread—No Yeast Required

It officially does not get any easier than this. This Quick Whole Wheat Molasses Bread is a little sweet, tender as a muffin and ready for the oven in 10 minutes—no rising necessary. And thank goodness, because I was feeling no tolerance for difficult bread recipes this week.

I had a bad run of luck last week due to two attempts at a whole wheat yeast loaf that failed to rise both times. I had made this recipe successfully once before, so it was even more irritating. Consequently, I was a little put off by yeast breads. I had recently pulled this recipe from the
New York Times because it reminded me of my favorite Irish Soda Bread both for its simplicity and its use of whole grains. While Irish soda bread may always be my favorite healthy quick bread, this Whole Wheat Molasses loaf is a very tasty and very different option.

The lack of yeast means this is a quick bread, or a baked good that uses baking soda, baking powder or a combination as its leavener (muffins and scones also fall into this category). It does not have the chewy crust of a yeast loaf, but the crumb is dense and soft, kind of like banana bread. Molasses provides the sweetness that develops into a wonderfully nutty flavor that reminds me of a cross between maple syrup and soy sauce (never mind that description; it’s just good).

The molasses can be considered either the best or worst thing about the recipe depending on how you feel about this syrupy sweetener. During the cooking and baking process of this bread, I was very afraid. I thought I would have to redo it with honey because the molasses scent was strong and not entirely appealing. If you feel this way too, stay the course! Once the bread was cool and I slathered it with Irish butter, all was forgiven. Aside from moisture and a completely unique sweetness, the molasses gives this quick bread incredible moisture and a dark sugar-brown color. I know I will jump back on the yeast bread train eventually, but this is a handy recipe to have around when you want bread that is hearty, delicious and fast.

Quick Whole Wheat Molasses Bread
Adapted from Mark Bittman for the New York Times
This is a distinctly flavored bread, but that’s why I like it. If you are wary, Bittman says you can lighten up the texture and flavor and still keep the simplicity of quick bread by doing the following: use 1 ½ c. whole wheat flour and 1 ½ c. white flour; omit the cornmeal; substitute honey for the molasses; beat one egg into the wet ingredients.

Makes 1-9 x 5 inch loaf

Butter, for greasing pan
1 2/3 c. buttermilk or 1 ½ c. lowfat milk mixed with 2 tbs. white vinegar
2 ½ c. whole wheat flour
½ c. stone ground corn meal
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
½ c. molasses

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. If you are using milk and vinegar, combine them in a bowl or measuring cup and let them sit while you measure the dry ingredients. Grease a loaf pan (preferably nonstick) thoroughly with butter.

Whisk the flour, corn meal, salt and baking soda together in a large bowl. Mix the molasses into the milk-vinegar mixture or buttermilk. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir gently just until combined. Pour the dough into the prepared pan and bake for 45-55 minutes, or until bread is firm and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then remove and cool completely on a wire rack.

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Kristen said...

I saw something similar to this in Family Fun magazine of all places. I am so tempted to try it, especially now with your photos and review!

Mallika said...

OH MY GOD! Thanks so much for this lovely recipe.I am allergic to yeast and always miss bread so coz I can't have it. This one is definitely on my to try list!

Peabody said...

Sorry about your bad luck with bread, but this looks like it turned out tasty.

Garrett said...

Sometimes, simplicity really is best. :)

Lis said...

Wow that looks delish, Julie. I love the color of it! I like molasses so this bread is very appealing to me. =)

Julie said...

Kristen: It's too simple not to try!
Mallika: I can't imagine life without yeast bread! You will love this, and you can make variations on savory quickbreads like my irish soda-no yeast required!
Peabody & Garrett: Thank you; it was ultra tasty and simple!
Lis: Then you'll definitely like this. We just made sandwiches from it with maple ham, gruyere cheese and thinly sliced apples and it was incredible!

John said...

Just made this bread. Wonderful.

Julie said...

John: I'm glad you liked the bread! Thanks for coming back to leave your comments.

Amy said...

This is a great recipe--I made it with my toddler. We used half molasses/half honey and tossed in some chopped walnuts at the end. It was gone in less than 24 hours. Thanks!

Julie said...

Amy: Yay! I'm glad you and your little one liked it. Walnuts sound fantastic here.

Anonymous said...

LOVE it! My hubby can't have corn, so we used Chia Flour in place of the corn meal. We also added 1 TBS of raw cane sugar and 1 TBS ofChai seeds. Awesome recipe. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

^^ Oops, sorry for the spelling error.

Julie said...

Anonymous: Wow, i've never used chia seeds. Sounds like a smart substitution! Thanks for sharing your results and I'm so glad you and the hubby like it!

Anonymous said...

I made it with all wheat flour, a cup of raisins, and took it out little early to drizzle honey and crushed almonds on top then put it back in for the remaining time. My Fiancé and our roommate ate it all!

Emily said...

This is a new family favorite! Love it!

andrea said...

This is the bread I've been looking for for 5 years now. Thank you SO much.

Penny said...

My grandmother's 100 year old bread pans never made bread like this.It's wonderful

Anonymous said...

Wow! Thank you so much for posting this recipe. I live in Asia, where whole wheat bread is difficult to find and most homes don't have ovens. I just made this bread in my rice cooker and it was perfect. Exactly what I've been looking for - and super delicious!