Author Notes: This recipe is adapted from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2007). It is hearty, healthy, moist, and just barely sweet. Be sure not to overmix.
A few notes:
- Use any flour you'd like; I like a mix of rye and white whole wheat, but you could also use spelt or regular whole wheat.
- Honey will work as a substitute for molasses; it will just yield a milder flavor.
- I measure flour by aerating it, scooping it with a spoon into my measuring cup, and leveling it off with the back of a knife.
- You can use a combination of milk and yogurt; just remember to add a bit of vinegar in proportion to your milk. - Marian Bull
Makes one loaf
- 2 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour, measured as described above (I also like a mix of white whole wheat and rye, but use whatever you have on hand)
- 1/2 cup medium- or coarse-grind cornmeal
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 2/3 cup whole milk yogurt, or 1 1/2 cups whole milk + 2 tablespoons white or apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup molasses
- Optional: 1 to 1 1/2 cups cranberries, chopped fruit, or nuts
- Butter, for greasing the pan
- Preheat your oven to 325° F. If you're using milk, mix it with the vinegar and set it aside.
- Mix together your dry ingredients in a wide bowl (rather than one with straight sides; this makes it easier to mix). Whisk your yogurt (or vinegary milk) with your molasses.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients in 2 or 3 batches, stirring in round, sweeping motions. Make sure to incorporate the flour at the bottom of the bowl. Mix until just combined. The dough should fizz, subtly, like a science experiment. It will be thick! If you're adding in fruit, etc: Fold it in when there are still a few small pockets of flour.
- Slice a pat of butter into either a loaf pan or a 7-inch cast iron skillet. Put it into the oven until the butter melts. Remove, then swirl the butter around to grease the pan. Transfer batter into pan, without mixing it any further. (Be gentle!)
- Bake for one hour, or until a cake tester comes out clean when inserted. Touch the top of the bread: it should give a little bit, and feel supple, but it should still resist your touch and not feel like there's goo beneath there. Very important: Let the bread cool before you slice it. Yes, I'm serious.
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