Saturday, January 29, 2011

Whole Wheat Molasses Bread

I have never been one to have lively inclinations towards making bread. It seems like the domestic homemaking apogee of all homemaking skills and unfortunately for me, is one that hasn't turned into a passionate past time.

Not only is bread-making, to some degree, dauntingly intimidating for me, but my day and schedule and responsibilities see no room and little desire to sit around and babysit a bread dough that needs consistent and drawn-out processes of punching down, raising, and yadda yah.

Of course I greatly appreciate and admire people in this profession and skill and I will gladly be the recipent of the hard work and techniques used to create gorgeous- tasting breads. I think that is one of the reasons why my mission to Germany for my church must have been divinely inspired. In order to get through some of the harder days, a visit to the bakery (oder, auf Deutsch, die Backerei) was enough to buoy me right up. Indeed, 18 months later and 15 pounds later, I knew good breads had to be a part of my life. Forever. Forever.

This recipe is a new favorite, I lie not. Why? Because it's easy and very uncomplicated, fast, and satisfying. We loved the texture and the taste-- and for my husband who served his LDS mission in mother Russia and for me, the wanna-be German native, this kind of darker bread is like a trip back to our second homes for us.

May I also recommend you eat this warm with salted butter slathered all over. You will not be sorry for the extra calories.

Whole Wheat Molasses Bread

{Recipe from NY Times}

1 2/3 cups buttermilk

2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1/2 cup cornmeal

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup molasses

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour an 8×4 or 9×5-inch loaf pan, though I recommend using a smaller pan if possible--- the larger of a pan it bakes in, the more chance it has of drying out (note my top picture—indentation in the middle of the bread means under-baked—and I think had I baked it much longer, it would’ve been very dry. Hence, use smaller pans if possible. My pan was a 9 x 5).

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, salt and baking soda. In a small bowl whisk together buttermilk and molasses. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold to combine. The batter will be slightly thick, but not dry. Spoon batter into prepared pan and place in the oven. Bake loaf for 30-50 minutes . You may want to rotate the pan in the middle of the baking to ensure evenness. But use caution and handle the bread carefully. .

When a skewer inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean, remove the loaf from the oven and allow to cool for 20 minutes in the loaf pan. Run a butter knife along the sides of the pan and carefully invert onto a wire rack.

Loaf keeps, well wrapped at room temperature for up to 3 days. Serve with salted butter, jam, cream cheese, or nutella. Oh geez.

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