Whole Grain Goodness

One of my new culinary weapons is molasses. It’s distinct flavor jazzes up foods in whole new way.  Most recently, you can find me drizzling the sweet brown syrup over cinnamon baked apples or using it to sweeten homemade almond milk.  There’s just something rather seductive about it.  So imagine my delight while I was looking one of my favorite banana bread recipes and glanced slightly to the left to discover  a recipe for three grain molasses bread.  A quick scan of the recipe and I had ascertained that I had all the ingredients I needed to make this hearty, carb-rific snack.  I quickly banged out the stand by banana bread so I could start assembling this new treat.  This was not as easy as a task as I had hoped since it called for applesauce and I realized mid-recipe that I was out. Being the resourceful (read: cheapskate) that I am, I quickly chopped some apples and put them in a pot with a tiny bit of water to make my own applesauce.  I finished the banana bread, licked the bowl, and started the molasses bread. Yes, I slowed down enough to wash the bowl.  The bread called for flour, whole wheat flour, and cornmeal. Thank goodness for this last ingredient because I have had a bag of corn grits in my pantry for nearly a year. I had every intention of whipping up some polenta smothered with mushrooms but this never came to fruition.  The caveat here, however, is that the recipe called for cornmeal,  and not corn grits.  No matter, I threw those golden grits in the blender and torpedoed them until they made a fine flour.  This ended up being one of the easiest quick bread recipes ever and the whole thing came together in a matter of minutes. Some of the highlights? It had equal parts flour for fast and easy measuring. The recipe did not call for eggs so I didn’t have to waste my time trying to pick rogue eggshells out of the batter or walking around the kitchen with salmonella hands in search of a paper towel. This also allowed for guilt free bowl licking since I did not have to worry about raw egg consumption.  The batter was delicious, though grainy due to the grits.  My heart fluttered a little bit in anticipation that the texture issue would resolve itself during the baking time.  When I finally did pull it out of the oven, it was deep chocolate brown color and the top had formed a perfectly crispy crust.  I never have this kind of luck with quick breads. They are usually misshapen, with bumps and points sticking up in undesirable places.   One whiff and I could tell this bread was going to be delicious-and it was. The grits gave it texture, the molasses added a rich sweetness, and it was the perfect density for a hearty, whole grain bread.  It was crisp around the edges with a soft, chewy middle.  It was like no other bread I had tried before but had notes of nice, fresh rye.  My husband and I both savored a slice with our dinner and I even snuck the pooches a bit of the crusty end pieces. We all agreed that it was heavenly.  Actually, my husband said it reminded him of cracklin oat bran except this had the advantage of not lacerating the roof of your mouth with hard, square edges of cereal.   I wrapped the leftovers in a pretty tinfoil wrapper and set it on the counter for my husband to enjoy on his road trip the following day.  I went to bed feeling excited about my new cooking adventure.   At my ritual 3 AM stumble to the bathroom, my husband called to me from the kitchen.  At first I was startled because I didn’t realize he was awake, and then I was horrified that I didn’t even notice my husband was no where in the vicinity of the bed and I would gone back to bed and probably still wouldn’t have noticed.  Nice, right? Anyhow, in my state of unaware night stumbling, my husband informed me that the dog had eaten the bread.  She had climbed up to the counter, unwrapped the foil, and devoured the whole loaf.  The whole, whole grain bread was now sitting in my dog’s stomach at 3 AM. I grumbled my way back to bed trying not to be upset, but I was secretly sad that my latest accomplishment would next be seen as a pile in the backyard.  Given the sheer weight and density  of that bread, I do believe the dog will receive more than enough punishment.  Good thing that was such an easy recipe and I can bring together a new batch in no time.

Three Grain Molasses Bread

1 c. each all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, yellow cornmeal

1 tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt

1 ¼ c. water

½ c. each light molasses, packed light brown sugar

3 Tbs. vegetable oil

Mix all ingredients in bowl; pour into greased 9 x 5 loaf pan. Bake at 350 degress until wooden pick comes out clean, about one hour. Remove bread from pan and cool on wire rack.

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