Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Everyday Brown Bread

I looked in the fridge yesterday and it was practically bursting: yogurt, kefir, eggs, several kids of cheese, leftovers, beer, wine, beets, greens, bags of rainier cherries and more. It is more food than we can possibly eat in the next few days, a fact made complicated by the fact that M. left this morning for Canada. Yet somehow we had no bread, milk, or coffee -- three staples of my diet. This is what happens when he does the shopping and I do the paying. I'm broke with tons of food but missing the things I can't live without.

In lieu of walking to the market for our usual five dollar loaf of Acme walnut bread, I decided to get creative and try to use up some of the stuff in the fridge while baking something that we needed: bread for toast for breakfast, an absolute necessity in our home.

I came up with a recipe for brown bread that I modified based on the things we had in the cupboard and the fact that yesterday was June 1. Despite the fact that it was chilly in the city, hunks of dried apricots and pecans in my breakfast bread seemed so much more seasonally appropriate than currants and walnuts.

The results of kitchen adventures are often interesting -- palatable, but not something you'd choose to make again. This recipe, (I'm calling it Everyday Bread) is different. It is healthy with next to no fat or sugar. The color is a lovely brown from the addition of molasses, and mildly sweet and crunchy from the apricots and the pecans. It was so good toasted this morning and reminded me of the brown cranberry bread I ate for breakfast at Cafe Gitane in New York City this winter.

It was the perfect slice for a morning I was up very early, eating breakfast while staring out at the grey, misty fog of San Francisco.

I will make this bread again and again, I'm sure. I can already imagine the manipulations -- other dried fruits (dried blueberries?), banana, maybe even just plain brown bread. Not everything has to be gussied up. Besides, isn't that what honeys and jams are for?

Everyday Brown Bread
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour (you can use all 3 cups all purpose if that's what you've got)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
1 and 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup plain yogurt
nuts and dried fruits added to your liking.

Preheat oven to 350 and grease and flour a loaf pan.
In a large bowl stir together dry ingredients. Stir in remaining ingredients until just combined.
Pour batter into prepared pan (it will be quite thick!) and bake in the middle of the oven until a tester comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool bread in pan on a rack for five minutes. Turn loaf out onto rack and cool completely before slicing.

No comments: