Quick Whole Wheat and Molasses Bread

MAKES: 1 loaf

TIME: About 11/4 hours, largely unattended

The basic, quintessential, not-too-sweet quick bread quick, simple, hearty, and rich despite the fact that it contains no eggs or butter. Although you can use it for sandwiches, this is best served warm, as part of a meal.

Oil or butter for greasing the pan

12/3 cups buttermilk or yogurt (or 11/2 cups milk plus 2 tablespoons white vinegar; see Step 2)

21/2 cups (about 12 ounces) whole wheat flour

1/2 cup cornmeal

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup molasses

Preheat the oven to 325В°F. Grease an 8 Г— 4-inch or 9 Г— 5-inch loaf pan.

If you’re using buttermilk or yogurt, ignore this step. If not, make the soured milk: Warm the milk gently 1 minute in the microwave is sufficient, just enough to take the chill off and add the vinegar. Let it rest while you prepare the other ingredients.

Mix together the dry ingredients. Stir the molasses into the buttermilk. Stir the liquid into the dry ingredients (just enough to combine), then pour into the loaf pan. Bake until firm and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about an hour. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes before removing from the pan.

Variations

Lighter Whole Wheat Quick Bread. A little cakier: Use 11/2 cups whole wheat and 11/2 cups all-purpose flour; omit the cornmeal. Substitute honey for the molasses for lighter flavor and color. Beat 1 egg into the wet ingredients in Step 3.

Whole Wheat Quick Bread with Sweet Milk. It’s a lot of baking powder, so you might taste it, but if you don’t want to use yogurt or sour milk, here you go: Use sweet (regular) milk and substitute 2 tablespoons baking powder for the baking soda. Beat 1 egg into the wet ingredients in Step 3.