Friday, February 17, 2012

Brown Sugar Quick Bread - vegan

Happy Friday! I hope it's going well and that you have some fun plans for the weekend, especially if you're one of the lucky people who gets a three day weekend. Mr Official Taster does!

Mr Official Taster and I don't have any big plans, but I would like to go on an adventure to the beach. Specifically, the beach on the ocean. It's been a while, and when we lived in the San Diego area, we used to go all the time, which was great. So, to me, living in California means I get to go to the beach a lot. It's time.

I made this bread for the first time last week and ate it before I took pictures. That counts as a success. But when I made it again yesterday, I wanted to make it better. Specifically, I wanted it a bit lighter, but I also wanted it to have more depth of flavor. So I decreased the amount of flour slightly and then sifted the flour I did use. I increased the quantity of spices, and I also added ginger to the mix. Finally, I made sure to have my oven hot so that the batter didn't sit in the loaf pan waiting for the oven to finish heating. This bread it very easy to make, even if you don't have help. You don't need a mixer, and it only really uses one bowl. So, go, make your weekend more delicious!

Brown Sugar Quick Bread - vegan
This is delicious as written. However, if you'd like a spicier bread, there's room to increase the amount of cinnamon, nutmeg, and/or ginger. I think cardamom might be a delicious addition, especially if you like the flavor of chai.

1 C nondairy milk
1 Tbsp vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar, but any kind will work)*
2 C flour**
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
1 C brown sugar
1/4 C unsweetened applesauce
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 C pecans, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F and grease and flour a 5x9-inch loaf pan.

In a 2 C glass measuring cup, or something similar, pour milk to the 1 C line and then add vinegar. Set aside.

Sift flour into a medium bowl. Add baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Whisk to combine. Blend in brown sugar until most of the chunks are gone. Add applesauce and oil to the milk+vinegar mixture stir to combine.

At this point, make sure your oven is hot and your pan is prepared. Once you mix the wet and dry ingredients, chemical reactions occur that add air and help your bread rise. I think the sooner you get the batter from mixing bowl to pan and into the oven, the more of those air bubbles you capture in your bread, which results in a lighter loaf. I have no scientific proof to back me up, just intuition.

Add wet ingredients to your flour mixture and whisk until just combined. Stir in pecans or other nuts if you like. Pour into your prepared loaf pan and bake for 45-50 minutes. Your loaf will be a pretty golden brown, and the edges will have started to pull away from the sides of the pan. Remove from oven and cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. Invert pan to get your loaf out and allow to cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.

*You're basically souring your milk to make a non-dairy version of buttermilk. It needs to happen in a glass bowl or measuring cup, and it needs to sit for about 10 minutes. This works with regular milk, too, or you could use 1 C buttermilk if you like.

**All purpose or white whole wheat works here. If you want to add in whole wheat, I wouldn't substitute the whole amount. Maybe 1/2-1 C?

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