On Sundays, Claire and I like to bake her favorite sandwich bread for the coming week’s school lunches. It’s a sweet routine. We mix up the dough right away in the morning. During the first two-hour rising, we all go to the neighborhood farmer’s market. (We’re fortunate to have a year-round market here in West Seattle, and I love the winter fare–calmer than in the summer, the stalls are fewer and full of quiet things like cheeses, cider, and chard. I figure if the farmers are nice enough to stand there in the freezing cold Seattle drizzle, the least we can do is turn up and buy a squash.) We get home just in time to pan the bread, letting it rise a second time while we eat lunch.
There are times, of course, when we just can’t be around to hover over the lovely pattern of rising-panning-rising-baking. But my daughter seems to have become spoiled on home-baked bread, and declares any store-bought sandwich bread to taste “like chicken feed.” (How does she know what chicken feed tastes like? She won’t say…). For such occasions, we have been enjoying a whole wheat quick bread adapted from King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking that, while not quite as good as our favorite yeasted breads, is still pretty darn tasty. This bread keeps well, and though there is a little brown sugar and molasses in it, it’s not too sweet, and has a rustic, old-fashioned flavor–it tastes just as good with a nutty cheddar as it does with our homemade peanut butter and blackberry jam.
Yummy Quick Molasses Nut Bread
2 cups whole wheat flour (traditional whole wheat, or white wheat both work beautifully)
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (one stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 cup molasses
1 1/4 cups milk
2 tablespoons orange juice
1-1 1/4 cups chopped nuts (walnuts are yummy in this recipe, but go ahead and experiment)
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, soda, and salt.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time. Beat in the molasses. Add 1/2 the flour mixture, then about half the milk, then the rest of the flour, then the last of the milk and the orange juice, mixing until moistened after each addition. If using a stand mixer, scrape the sides of the bowl as needed throughout the entire process. Stir in the nuts.
Transfer the batter to a buttered or oiled 9 x 5 loaf pan. Bake in a 300 degree oven for an hour and 10-15 minutes. Check the bread in an hour–if it seems to be too dark on top, cover it lightly with foil for the last bit of baking. Let the finished bread sit 20 minutes before removing it from the pan, then allow it to cool completely before slicing.
The long baking time at this lower temperature allows the bran to become thoroughly moistened by the wet ingredients, making a wonderful, tender bread. I love a hunk of this bread toasted plain with my morning coffee. It’s dense, so slice thinly for sandwiches. Enjoy!
Thanks for this. Have you ever tried baking any gluten-free breads? It’s not something I’d recommend – it’s much more difficult to get a decent bread – but if you ever happen to find a recipe for a decent GF sandwich bread, please share. We haven’t managed it yet.
Hi Kirk–I haven’t done much gluten-free.
Thanks, Gayle, for the link–looks good.
Kirk – Try this site for gluten-free recipes.
I have not tried their bread recipes but find that I enjoy most everything….
I really enjoyed your book. Just finished it. Thanks for writing it. I saw several crows today, in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. One was following two screaming ring-billed gulls, hoping, I think, to pick up whatever delight the first gull had in its bill. Then, silent, a couple of crows flew out from Breezy Hill. Other birds in the park today: herring gull, black-backed gull, mute swan, Canada goose, mallard duck, American black duck, northern shoveller, wood duck, red-tailed hawk, coot, red-bellied woodpecker, downy woodpecker, mourning dove, rock dove, tufted titmouse, white-breasted nuthatch, Carolina wren, black-capped chickadee, brown creeper, golden-crowned kinglet, American robin, northern mockingbird, blue jay, northern cardinal, rusty blackbird, white-throated sparrow, dark-eyed junco. No home-made bread, though (damn!),
Thanks, Matthew. What a great city park bird list! So many that we don’t have in Seattle. Now you’ll just have to bake that bread…
Oh my… I really must get an oven someday…
What an amazing-looking recipe! I’m definitely going to try it (am totally rubbish at baking normally, but will try!).
Could I ask? As a Brit, I get really confused by what you guys mean by a ‘cup’. Cups come in all shapes and sizes… 😉
Thanks. Also, what’s a ‘stick’ of butter? I guess that must be a way butter can be packaged over there?
Yes, Karen–we are so lame in this country for STILL not adopting the metric system! A cup is 240 ml, and a stick of butter is 1/2 cup. I hope you have success with the recipe–let us know.
Well, even though WE are supposed to use the metric system, I have to say that most people I know (myself included!) still use ounces to weigh ingredients for recipes. 😉
Thanks – I’ll let you know how I get on.
Thanks for sharing the recipe. Will surely try out and let you know.
Yum! I made this recipe today. I baked it into three mini loaves so that I could substitute raisins for the walnuts in the two loaves that will go to my daughter’s nut-free preschool. It will make a perfect tea snack tomorrow afternoon. Thank you so much for the inspiration and recipe!
I wonder if you ever posted more detailed plans/photos of your chicken coop? We are working on plans to build our first coop this spring and would love to benefit from the wisdom and experience of others.
Glad you enjoyed the recipe. The raisins sound yummy. Thanks for the reminder about the chicken coop post–I will get it up soon, in time for spring building. Promise!
Hi Lyanda 🙂 I hope you are having a wonderful day. We will be making bread today, and your recipe looks great. We are new to Seattle’s South Park neighborhood, but not King County as I’m a lifer 🙂 In fact, Kelly and I were in the same grade at Panther Lake…small world.
I am so glad that you have written this book about crows. It will be interesting to learn more about them.
Thank you Lyanda for sharing some your many talents with us. I hope that you and your family have a spectacular year.
So nice to hear from you, and welcome to the ‘hood! Lots of great community gardening going on in South Park…
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