Yogurt Bread with Molasses

By • December 8, 2013 • 87 Comments

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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 cups 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
  1. Preheat your oven to 325° F. If you're using milk, mix it with the vinegar and set it aside.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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!)
  5. 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.

Tags: quick bread, quickbread

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Comments (87) Questions (1)

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11 days ago Jr0717

I didn't have any molasses on hand, and decided to make this for breakfast at the last minute, so I substituted maple syrup and found the taste quite lovely! I also halved the recipe, and found that it still worked out really well. Thanks for a good, reliable recipe Marian!

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about 1 month ago wenz

Thank you for this healthy, tasty, easy recipe!!! I baked today. The loaf is a little bit dry but still taste good. I replaced 1/2 cup whole wheat flour with multigrain flour; added 1/2 cup chopped cranberries, 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, 1/3 cup white sesames. I wonder I can reduce the molasses to 1/4 cup, and salt to 1/2 tsp. Has anyone tried that?

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2 months ago maurerjc

Blue cheese?!?! I never thought of that, but it does sound good! Thanks for that good idea!

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2 months ago Taylor Stanton

Very different but delicious nonetheless. Even after 6 days this bread retained the hearty wheat flavor without being dry. I ate this with tea, with some strong blue cheese, and with some honey and all combinations were great!

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5 months ago Ingrid M. Stabile

I have been making yeast and quick breads for 40 years. So I always have some leftover this and that. When I had some yogurt which was getting old in the fridge I looked for ways of using it up. I also had a
little honey and maple syrup,just enough to make 1/2 c. and leftover pecans from a previous recipe. Used 2c. white flour and 1/2 c whole wheat mixed with a little leftover rye flour.
I was pleasantly surprised by the result. Nice and moist. Great for breakfast with sweet butter. I'll definitely make this again. But I 'll try it with half the salt. Thanks for this one!

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6 months ago starvingfoodie

Nice. Thoughts on subbing sour cream for the yogurt? Or maple syrup for molasses? Tis what I have on hand.

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6 months ago Marian Bull

I've used maple before and it works! I've never used sour cream, but I think that would be an excellent substitution -- you should be able to sub 1 for 1. It will just be a bit richer -- no harm there.

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6 months ago Sonali

I used white whole wheat and substituted corn meal for almond meal, since I didn't have any corn meal. I also used 1/4 cup brown sugar in place of molasses. Added about 1/2 cup dried cranberries and 1/2 cup pistachios. I thinned out the yogurt with 1/2 cup milk, but the mixture was barely moist, when compiled as directed. I had to add water - about a cup. Not sure if that's what messed it up, but the bread was very, very dense and doughy. We don't use cornmeal at home, and I tend to reduce the sugar by half in almost any recipe, since we don't like very sweet things. How could I make the bread a little lighter?

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4 days ago Kris

white whole wheat has a tendency to make things dry. I just started baking with it and was startled initially because whole flour doesnt do that. I think you need the moisture from the molasses. I used honey instead and it was great. I used semolina instead of corn meal and that also worked. I think almond flour also tends to require a lot of fat/moisture, which is where the whole milk yogurt comes into play ( which you thinned out )

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4 days ago Kris

since this recipe doesn't use eggs and is easily , half-able or even quarter-able, I tried a smaller quantity but followed the original recipe as much as possible.

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8 months ago Beth100

Used a whole wheat pastry flour/ground oats/buckwheat combo and Greek-style yogurt thinned with milk. We could not stop eating this and can't wait to make it again! Suggest trying it toasted and thickly spread with soft goat cheese, served with butternut squash soup.

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7 months ago Marian Bull

Awesome! So happy to hear this.

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9 months ago maurerjc

How about pbnj? And, just plain.

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9 months ago Yw Yw

What spreads go well with this bread? I made the bread and liked it a lot. I've tried spreading cream cheese and ricotta cheese. What else could I spread or put on it that would complement the flavor of the bread? Thank you.

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9 months ago Marian Bull

peanut butter! or just regular butter. or butter and jam!

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10 months ago Kylie

I only have blackstrap molasses, would that be okay?

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10 months ago Rebecca Robles

Just tried the recipe for the first time with blackstrap molasses (and added raisins) and it turned out great. it assume the flavour is just stronger!

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about 1 year ago maurerjc

Ah, I like the cranberries idea. Will have to use them next time I make it!

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about 1 year ago Scott Silverman

Came out GREAT. I used 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour, 3/4 cup oat flour, and 1/4 cup ground flaxseed. I also added 3/4 cup cranberries, and 3/4 cup of slivered toasted almonds. Cooked in a loaf pan for 55 minutes. The texture and flavor of this bread could not be more enjoyable. Definitely a keeper.

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about 1 year ago Bonny

I couldn't leave this one alone. First I adjusted the proportions for my 10inch skillet. 3 cups ww white flour, 1 cup cornmeal, 2 1/3 cup yogurt. Leaving the soda, sweetner, salt alone. Added 1 egg, 2 tab. melted butter, a teaspoon of baking powder, And the best part, 1 1/2 cups toasted walnuts. Baked only 50 min. Moist, excellent keeper

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about 1 year ago lindapindakaas

LOVE THIS. I subbed some of the whole wheat flour for oat flour and it worked brilliantly! My dough wasn't as thick as many of the comments mention, but it still worked out fine and the end result is nice and moist. Will definitely be making this again!

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about 1 year ago Marian Bull

Oh, I'm so glad!

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about 1 year ago I_Fortuna

Kefir or buttermilk work well too. Just be sure to add the baking soda as it reacts with the dairy to leaven the bread. This bread is supposed to have a thick batter. I bake quick breads all the time and this recipe is fine and does not need more liquid than is called for.
One very important thing for quick breads like this, do not over mix. If using a mixer I blend the dry ingredients well, add the liquid and mix only until all ingedients are incorporated for just a very few seconds. If it is overmixed, it will come out tough and rubbery. Since it is a thick dough, it is sometimes difficult to mix by hand.

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over 1 year ago Bompalomp

Can you substitute almond milk in this recipe?

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about 1 year ago I_Fortuna

The recipe will not come out leavened as well with almond milk. The yogurt, milk/vinegar combo, buttermilk, or kefir that can be used react with the baking soda that leavens the bread. This is not a cake so it does not have to be light and airy but as a bread it will be too dense if this is not followed with the dairy suggestions.
If you are concerned about the dairy, homemade kefir, yogurt or buttermilk cultures are fed by the lactose (sugar) in them. Any of these can be fermented to the point of minimal to zero lactose being left in the finished product. I culture my kefir for 24 to 36 hours. It makes it more tart but delicious especially when used in baking or for smoothies. Sometimes I pour a glass, add sweetener, maple flavor and enjoy this way. This type of fermentation makes is safe for diabetics and tolerable for those lactose intolerant. In fact, kefir has 3 times the probiotics that yogurt has so it can be beneficial for everyone and is easy to make requiring no heat or special appliance.

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about 1 year ago shofielen

I have baked this delicious bread only with almond milk with great results. I use spelt flour and need about 1cup of almond milk (I find it does not need more milk to get the required consistency) with 2 tbsp of organic apple cider vinegar. Let it sit for about 20 minutes before I add either maple syrup or agave. Instead of cornstarch I use milled flax seed or chia seed.
The end result has been delicious. A winner.

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about 1 year ago Bompalomp

Thank you both for your input!

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over 1 year ago Tayler Diane Earl

Thank you for specifying your method for measuring flour. More recipes need this. Cheers!

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about 1 year ago Marian Bull

It makes such a big difference! Glad you appreciate that bit.

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over 1 year ago maurerjc

yummmmm. It's sooo easy.

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over 1 year ago Windischgirl

I'm taken with your photos! Is that parchment you are using to wrap the bread? I've started baking more and giving the goodies away as gifts, and thus I'm on the lookout for attractive packaging that isn't the standard "plastic wrap and clear tape."

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over 1 year ago Marian Bull

Yes, it's parchment! Great for wrapping edible gifts.

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over 1 year ago SarahBee

I tried this yesterday. I don't think it came out well. So, so, so dense, but I did use mostly whole wheat flour, a little buckwheat flour, and some spelt. May have to revisit..

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over 1 year ago Marian Bull

When I've used 100% whole wheat flour, the result is definitely more dense than white whole wheat. But I'd be sure that you're measuring your flour as described above, and not overmixing -- hope that helps!

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about 1 year ago Mallory

I had the same problem - very dense - but think it was also due to the use of whole wheat flour. May be a 'revisit' recipe as well

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over 1 year ago Michalis

I want to add raisins, fresh apple, almonds and casious nuts.
Should i chop the apple to be sized like the raisins? Should i chop almond and casious nuts into the blender? What you suggest? Thanks in advance.
Thanks in advance, looks very easy and nutritional snack to make

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over 1 year ago Winifred Ryan

Have you tried subbing oatmeal (rolled oats) for the cornmeal? I think it would work fine if this is more like soda bread, but haven't played with it yet myself. Probably would be a better textural match for the cornmeal if the oats were pulsed in a processor a bit. Just thinking because I enjoy oats and molasses in baked goods which is also a New England trait. . .

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over 1 year ago Marci Tarvin

Would love to know if that works as I'm allergic to corn and love a good brown bread! :-)

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over 1 year ago Marian Bull

I've added rolled oats before but never in place of cornmeal -- you could definitely give this a try! I'd definitely consider grinding it up or using oat flour or quick-cook oats, as cornmeal is so much finer than rolled oats are. Let me know if you try it out!

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about 1 year ago Winifred Ryan

I made this recipe with oats rather than cornmeal. Used 2/3 cup of old fashiond oats pulsed to roughly the size of steel cut oat particles. Also used 1 cup white flour and 1 1/2 cups whole wheat since there was quite a bit of comment of dense bread with all whole wheat. For fruit I added dried tart cherries chopped coarsely. I thought it came out really well. Marci should be able have her brown bread comfortably with oats-- I liked it.

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over 1 year ago NYNCtg

Made this today with white whole wheat flour, dried cranberries and a mix of 2% greek yogurt and 1% milk. Snowed in so I was using what was in the fridge. It came out fantastic. Thank you.

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over 1 year ago Marian Bull

So happy to hear it!

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over 1 year ago AuntB

This is a wonderfully easy, tasty, nutritious bread! My second loaf today came out even better than the first. I will be hanging on to this one.

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over 1 year ago Marian Bull

I'm so happy you enjoyed it! I made a loaf this weekend and subbed in a cup of leftover cooked oats for the yogurt -- it was a success!

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about 1 year ago Lisaly

Marian, did you sub the cooked oats for all the yogurt or just a cup of the yogurt? Did you then add the vinegar with the oatmeal? I would be interested in avoiding the dairy due to allergies. Thanks!

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over 1 year ago Dina

I made this for a potluck and then took the leftovers to my in-laws. Everyone loved it, it was a huge hit! I served it with a whipped salted butter. We considered honey butter but found it to be too sweet, since the bread does have a strong molasses flavor. The bite of course salt in the creamy butter was the perfect complement.

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over 1 year ago Marian Bull

Good butter really is the perfect complement. Really glad that it turned out well for you!

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over 1 year ago Kat

I would love to try this, but would need to substitute the flour -- I eat gluten-free.

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over 1 year ago Dina

I subbed in half a cup of brown rice flour, since I have it lying around and wanted to use it up. The bread was extremely successful, but I don't know whether it would stand up to subbing all the flour out for brown rice flour! If you try it please post and let us know how it worked!

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over 1 year ago Marian Bull

I've never tried this with gluten-free flour, but I've used the Bob's Red Mill gluten-free mix with great success in the past -- I would definitely give it a try. Or use brown rice flour and add a bit of xantham gum or arrowroot.

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over 1 year ago Janine

Made this with freshly-milled whole-wheat flour. It was delicious for breakfast and has continued to be delicious as I've been snacking all day long! Thanks for sharing!

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over 1 year ago Marian Bull

So happy you enjoyed it!

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over 1 year ago Karin Ward

This is also called Boston Baked Brown Bread and it is delicious and very easy to make no matter what it is called. Enjoy!

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over 1 year ago Marian Bull

I'm from Boston, so perhaps this bread is in my blood!

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over 1 year ago Kristen

Can you use whole cranberries or do they need to be chopped?

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over 1 year ago Marian Bull

I add them in whole!

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over 1 year ago Caila

Looks so easy and delicious, can't wait to try it! With this in the arsenal I am just about convinced I can abandon all stainless for my trusty cast iron...

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over 1 year ago Marian Bull

Cast iron for life!

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over 1 year ago Miranda

There's no pouring this, that's for sure. As for using a 7" cast iron skillet, it'll work, but you really have to pile it in there. It's got 15 more minutes in the oven. I've got my fingers crossed.

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over 1 year ago Marian Bull

Yes, you definitely have to scoop/push the dough into the pan -- I've updated the instructions. I like baking it in the skillet because it gets some nice height. How did it turn out?

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over 1 year ago kitkat

The dough was pretty firm for me as well (I also placed it in the loaf pan with my hands), but baked up beautifully. It's delicious - husband declared that this bread is going to be a strong presidential candidate.

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over 1 year ago Marian Bull

So happy to hear it! I'll make "Vote for Yogurt Bread" pins.

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over 1 year ago lrglass

I also had trouble mixing the dough. 'haven't tasted it yet. I added more yogurt, but still had to put it in the pan with my hands.

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over 1 year ago Marian Bull

It is quite thick! How did the finished product turn out?

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over 1 year ago maurerjc

Looks scrumptious! Never apologize for moist bread--it's the only kind!

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over 1 year ago Marian Bull

Here, here!

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over 1 year ago Davis Bliss

Thank you! Delicious and great to have on hand for breakfast with cultured butter, ricotta, almond butter....etc.

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over 1 year ago Marian Bull

So glad to hear it! Ricotta on everything!

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over 1 year ago Brittany Austin

If using the optional fruit, should it be dried or fresh?

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over 1 year ago Marian Bull

I used fresh cranberries/apples -- if you use dried fruit, I would still use around a cup. (Bonus: You can plump them up by soaking them in booze first!)

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over 1 year ago Boomdog02

Tried this today...followed the recipe exactly and there must be an error...with me or the recipe. The "batter was like a firm dough. not at all pourable. had to add a good 3/4 cup of milk to loosen it enough to mix completely. Anyone else find this problem?

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over 1 year ago Marian Bull

The batter should be pretty thick after mixing, like a soda bread you really have to fold it all together rather than stir it like a batter you'd expect from banana bread, et al. How did the final product turn out?

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over 1 year ago RaquelG

Non-fat or 2% yogurt seems to be the standard in most markets; I have a devil of a time finding full fat sometimes... Would these work, or would I have to add extra fat in some form?

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over 1 year ago Marian Bull

I would definitely choose the 2% over skim! It should definitely still work. You could try subbing out a few tablespoons of olive oil, but you're likely fine without it!

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about 1 year ago durun99

I made this with plain low-fat yogurt since that's what I had in the fridge and it came out great. For people who like to bake by weight, 21/2 cups of King Arthur white whole wheat flour measured by spoon and level (as suggested in the recipe and by King Arthur) came out to 10 ounces, 1/2 cup of coarse stone-ground cornmeal from a local mill came out to 21/2 ounces, the 12/3 cups of yogurt was 13 1/3 ounces, and the 1/2 cup molasses was 6 ounces. With those weights, the batter looked exactly like what Mark Bittman described in the NY Times article accompany his recipe ("pourable but not wet, like good (not too dry) oatmeal"). Great bread, plain or toasted with butter. Kept well in the fridge, too. Oh, and it was perfectly done at 195 degrees on a Thermapen inserted into the center.

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over 1 year ago Laura

Made my first loaf yesterday. So delicious. Just put another loaf into the oven to take to a party! Wonderful recipe!!!

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over 1 year ago Marian Bull

So happy to hear it! I just brought a loaf to a party last night as a hostess gift.

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over 1 year ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Love this!!! Saving it to make it :-)

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over 1 year ago Marian Bull

Awesome! Let me know how it turns out!

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over 1 year ago Rinchen

could you use bread flour? Otherwise I have to hit the supermarket.

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over 1 year ago Marian Bull

I bet you could! Since bread flour has a higher gluten content, your crumb might be a little chewier, but the flavor would be the same!

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over 1 year ago Daniel Decline

Will full fat Greek yogurt work?

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over 1 year ago Marian Bull

Yes!

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over 1 year ago Davis Bliss

You specify what size cast iron skillet to use, but not what size loaf pan....?

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over 1 year ago Marian Bull

I used standard 8 1/2- by 4 1/2-inch pan.

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over 1 year ago Michelle Cheung

Can I substitute pomegranate molasses instead of molasses in this recipe? If so, should I use the same amount?

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over 1 year ago Marian Bull

I am not sure about that -- I've subbed honey, and I'm sure maple syrup or brown rice syrup would work, but I don't think that pomegranate molasses can be substituted one-to-one. However, you could definitely try using a few tablespoons! If you do, please let me know how it goes!