A couple of days ago, on a cold and snowy day (they are all like that now, but I’d be the last to complain), I decided to bake something on an afternoon, because T was out in the freeze (or at least traveling home through said freeze) after a long day, and I though it would be nice if he came home to the scent of baking… something?
But by the time I had this brilliant idea, it was already late afternoon and I hadn’t even started, nor checked what I have in the pantry. Having rummaged around, I came up with a couple of eggs, a half-carton of aging sourmilk (filmjölk, which is like a luxury version of buttermilk for those of you outside Scandinavia), and some flour. Mhm. And then, then I remembered that I had an opened box of a bilberry (wild blueberry) and raspberry mix in the freezer. So, with time being short and me being lazy (I am always lazy), the solution presented itself – I would bake a quick bread loaf.
Quick bread, for those who aren’t American, is essentially a muffin loaf but with less sugar or fat. More like the muffins were meant to be, long ago before Starbucks popularized the giant cake-batter muffin. In fact I imagine it can be baked in cupcake molds for muffins instead of a loaf, but I don’t own a cupcake mold. And I do own a loaf tin. And I am lazy, have I mentioned that? So, quick breads can be made with just about any flavoring – they are essentially a soda, buttermilk (sourmilk for me), and baking powder-leavened loaves that can be sweet, or savory, or plain or chock-full of nuts, berries, cheese, chilies, bacon bits or whatever. Though you know, if you are baking a savory one, you probably want to modify the sugar quantities and use a tablespoon or so instead.
How is this quick? Essentially, because it is, and easy to boot.
You simply mix all the dry ingredients, mix all the wet ingredients in a separate bowl, and rougly stir the wet into the dry until a lumpy batter forms (overmixing = bad, lazy stirring = good!), then scrape the thick batter into a greased and floured loaf tin, sort-of level the top, and bake at 175C for 50-60 minutes (how long this bakes will depend on what you put in it – wet things such as frozen berries make it bake longer), until a toothpick or bamboo skewer comes out clean. Then you let it cool on the rack for about 20 min in the form, run a knife around it and dump it out onto the rack for another 10 minutes. Best thing? You don’t even have to wait for it to be completely cool to cut it!
The results are well and beyond worth the minimal effort – this breakfast sweet bread is moist, flavorful, not too sweet, and the sharpness of berries cuts through the warmth and spiciness of cinnamon. The result is so heavenly aromatic , that it is literally damned irresistible with a cup of coffee, and with or without a bit of butter and honey on it. I say irresistible, because I tried pretty hard to resist having any alongside T, and failed. And I do have a pretty high resistance to sweets.
In fact, if you want to take photos of it, you should not do like I did, and figure “I’ll photograph it tomorrow”, because by the time you realize there are photos to be taken, you may just have nothing left to photograph. Or like me, find one last little slice off the end crust, with huge blueberry-explosion holes left over, and have to take pictures of it… or bake again.
My quick bread recipe is based with a few modifications on this one (which is also very good), but obviously due to an allergic boyfriend, I have adjusted it to remove egg whites. In fact, I imagine this would work without any eggs, but with additional 60ml of sourmilk (buttermilk or yogurt). This batter is very forgiving, so feel free to experiment!
What you need:
- Loaf pan, something to mix with, and 2 bowls.
- 5dl plain all-purpose flour.
- 1.2dl sugar
- 1.5 tsp baking powder
- 0.5 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp fine salt
- 1 tsp finely ground cinnamon
- 2-2.5dl frozen berries of your choice (blueberries and raspberries for me)
- 2 egg yolks (substitute additional 60ml yogurt or filmjölk for eggless, and omit the 1 tablespoon of water in initial batter mix)
- 2.5dl filmjölk or buttermilk or non-strained (regular) plain yogurt
- 1 tbsp water (+1-3 tablespoons more to adjust consistency of batter – filmjölk is thicker than buttermilk, so may not be needed if using buttermilk)
- 60ml vegetable oil or 60g butter (melted on gentle heat and cooled a little)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Preheat your oven to 175C and grease and flour a standard loaf tin.
- Melt butter if using.
- Mix all the dry ingredients+berries in larger bowl.
- Whisk all the liquid ingredients (including 1 tablespoon of the water) in another bowl to combine, adding melted butter last.
- Pour the liquid ingredients into the flour mix, and mix with a wooden spoon or spatula till just combined. Add water by tablespoonful only if batter is too thick and does not incorporate all the flour. Resulting batter will be very thick.
- Scrape batter out with a spatula into the loaf pan and smooth the top a little.
- Bake in preheated oven for about an hour (start checking at 50 minutes), rotating once about 30 minutes into the baking time.
- Take out, cool on a rack for 20 min, get out of loaf tin and cool another 10 minutes.
Curl up on sofa, make sure your toes are warm, and eat, looking at the snow outside.