I love when someone provides me with a “basic recipe” on which I can expand. For example, recently I saw an article on couscous and the writer provided variations on flavors. The article suggested cooking a bunch of couscous for the week, then using different add-ins to change it up.
In doing so, not only are you prepping for easy meals, but you have a variety of flavor ideas so you don’t feel like you’re eating leftovers. Basic recipes get my creative thinking going, so I decided to come up with a basic quick bread recipe to expand upon.
A lot of people these days are cutting wheat, gluten or sugar from their diets, but nobody in our household has these food allergies, so we enjoy our bread. Substitute ingredients as needed; use sugar substitute or a good gluten-free flour (see King Arthur Flour for good substitutes).
The kids like fruit breads for breakfast, heated with a little butter with a side of eggs. We also enjoy a good garlicky cheese bread with our chicken and veggies. Good bread is really good right out of the oven, then diminishes to just OK the following day. Usually, I freeze unused bread, and that works just fine, too.
Quick bread can be made in small batches, so you can make a smaller loaf that will fit your family’s needs. Nothing beats fresh-from-the-oven bread, with minimal time, and ingredients you control. What is better than that? Sliced bread? Maybe, but here is something I think is better, a basic recipe for quick bread that can vary from savory to sweet.
2 cups flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
Half-teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup of sugar (can be reduced to 1-2 teaspoons for savory versions)
Quarter-cup butter or oil
1 cup buttermilk (you can substitute milk and yogurt mixture for this as well)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch-by-5-inch bread pan.
Whisk together the dry ingredients to blend. In a separate bowl, mix the sugar, eggs and butter/oil. I like to alternate the buttermilk and flour mixture until the batter is completely blended.
Now, your add-ins. Photographed is a blueberry-lemon variation. I added 1 cup of blueberries (coat them with flour to prevent them from sinking to the bottom) and the zest of one lemon. Pour the batter into the greased bread pan.
Bake 45-50 minutes until a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Cool the bread for a few minutes in the pan, then remove from the pan to cool the rest of the way. This bread is best eaten the same day, but the next morning for breakfast is good, too. I have a large family; it doesn’t last long here.
Jalapeño cheese: Reduce sugar to 2 teaspoons, 1 cup of cheddar cheese, 4 ounces can of diced jalapenos, or 1-2 minced jalapeños.
Garlicky cheese: Reduce sugar to 2 teaspoon, add 1 cup of cheddar cheese, 1 teaspoon garlic powder.
Toasted coconut and chocolate: 1 cup toasted coconut, half-cup toasted chopped almonds and half-cup chocolate chips, keep 1 cup sugar.
There are endless possibilities. Enjoy!
Amanda Skiba is passionate about cooking and posts her favorite recipes at www.stuffurface.wordpress.com.