Nothing says comfort like homemade bread. And the good news is that quick breads (those that don’t require the time-consuming process of using yeast and kneading) really are just that: quick. You mix the dry ingredients in one bowl, the wet ones in another, stir the two together until just mixed, transfer the mixture to a baking pan and place in the oven. While the bread is baking, your home will be filled with an enticing aroma. In the time it takes to cook the average dinner—45-50 minutes, depending on the recipe used—you will have prepared a fresh loaf of bread.
Whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour and cornmeal are the main dry ingredients in this quick bread recipe. Using whole wheat flour in bread is always a healthier choice than refined “all-purpose flour,” but for the proper texture, you need a little white flour as well. Whole wheat flour has a fuller flavor than refined versions and contains the germ, which means it offers a higher fiber and nutritional content. Cornmeal provides a more nuanced texture and flavor. The buttermilk, in addition to its nutritional properties, contributes to a smooth, rich batter.
This buttermilk and herb bread calls for both baking soda and baking powder. Both are leavening agents that help baked goods to “rise.” The baking soda’s main role is to neutralize the acids in a recipe (in this case, the buttermilk) and help add tenderness and a light texture. Here’s one tip to keep in mind when using baking soda and baking powder: they are quick-acting and start to work as soon as they are added to the batter, so don’t let the mixture stand while the oven is preheating or the pan is being prepared. Prepare the pan and preheat the oven ahead of time so the baking can begin as soon as possible.
The result is a chewy yet light-textured bread with a delicate flavor. The topping of toasted sesame seeds adds a little crunch. This bread is a great accompaniment to soups, salads and most entrees.
Quick Buttermilk Bread
- Canola oil spray
- 1 cup whole wheat flour sifted
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour sifted
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 Tbsp. finely minced fresh oregano basil or thyme leaves
- 1 1/4 cups fat-free buttermilk
- 1 egg slightly beaten
- 2 Tbsp. honey
- 2 Tbsp. canola oil
- 1 Tbsp. sesame seeds
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray the interior of an 8-x4-inch loaf pan with the oil spray.
In a bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and fresh herbs, but save the sesame seeds for later.
In a separate bowl, combine buttermilk, egg, honey and oil. Stir into flour mixture just until blended. Spoon batter into the baking pan. Sprinkle sesame seeds over the top.
Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool slightly on a rack. Turn out the bread and cool completely on a wire rack. Serve immediately or store wrapped in plastic wrap or foil.
AICR’s Nutrition Hotline is a free service that allows you to ask a registered dietitian questions about diet, nutrition and cancer. Access it online at www.aicr.org/hotline or by phone (1-800-843-8114) 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday-Friday. AICR is the only major cancer charity focused exclusively on the link between diet, nutrition and cancer. It provides education programs that help Americans learn to make changes for lower cancer risk. AICR also supports innovative research in cancer prevention and treatment at universities, hospitals and research centers. It has provided more than $78 million for research in diet, nutrition and cancer. AICR’s Web address is www.aicr.org.