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Monday, February 27, 2012

Recipe for Oatmeal Raisin Whole Wheat Quick Bread-Daring Bakers Challenge

I used to be a chocolate chip kinda girl, now more an oatmeal raisin one.  Don't get me wrong, I love chocolate but when reaching for a cookie, I'm more likely to go for the oatmeal raisin one.  Well, the truth is I'm happiest when I can have an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie!  I don't know why oatmeal raisin cookies were on my mind when I came up with this recipe for February's Daring Baker's Challenge.  I'm glad they were though, because this Oatmeal Raisin Whole Wheat Quick Bread is terrific.  

The Daring Bakers’ February 2012 host was – Lis! Lis stepped in last minute and challenged us to create a quick bread we could call our own. She supplied us with a base recipe and shared some recipes she loves from various websites and encouraged us to build upon them and create new flavor profiles.

The challenge instructions were quite good and very helpful in putting this together.  Here are some of the great tips Lis gave us:

Quick breads can be created by the following methods:

  • Muffin (or the two-bowl) method – The dry and wet ingredients are kept separate and then are combined quickly and gingerly by adding the wet to the dry, and folding the two together with only a few strokes. The idea is to not over-mix, basically moistening the ingredients and leaving the batter slightly lumpy, with wisps of flour showing (even small lumps are fine) so as not to overdevelop the gluten in the flour which will keep the bread tender. An over mixed batter creates tough and rubbery muffins/quick breads. Since over-mixing will cause "tunnels" – holes where the air bubbles can escape – which will make the quick bread tough.
  • Creaming method – The butter and sugar are beaten and creamed together until smooth and fluffy. Next, the egg and liquid flavoring are added to the butter and sugar mixture. The dry ingredients and other liquids are folded in last. This method is best when baking cakes since a lot of air pockets are added into the mixture. Folding in the ingredients creates even more air pockets to keep the cakes light and fluffy.
  • Cutting in method – The chilled fat is cut into the flour. The fat results in a flaky texture since the fat melts while in the oven. This method is best used when baking biscuits, scones or pie crusts.
  • Depending on the recipe and the type of quick bread, there are also three different types of batter:
    • Pour Batter: This type of batter has a dry:liquid ratio of 1:1. Because there is so much liquid in this type of batter, the result is very moist and dense.
    • Drop Batter: This batter has a dry:liquid ratio of 3:1. This batter will result in a moist but fluffy baked good.
    • Stiff Dough: This batter has a dry:liquid ratio of 7:1 This batter will result in a very light and fluffy baked good.
  • Lower gluten flours are best to make quick breads you can replace 4 tablespoons in each cup of all-purpose flour with cake flour in most recipes or replace 2 tablespoons in each cup of all-purpose flour with corn flour (cornstarch) if you wish to lower the gluten levels of your flour.
  • Flour should be sifted to aerate it which gives more rise therefore a lighter crumb to the final baked goods.
  • Add fruit, nuts, etc. after lightly combining the wet and dry ingredients. Then give the batter one more light-handed stir and you're done. Is the batter still thick and lumpy? That's exactly what you want.
With all that good information and some sample recipes to look at, I was ready to go.  I wanted a moist but fluffy quick bread so I used the muffin (two-bowl) method, sifted my dry ingredients and approximated a 3:1 dry to liquid ratio with my ingredients (a little more of the wet ingredients because I assumed the oats would soak up a fair amount).

Yield: 1 loaf (9x5 pan)
Time: 60 minutes

  • ¾ cup whole wheat flour
  • ¾ cup cake flour
  • 1 ½ cups old fashioned oats (uncooked)
  • ¼ cup sugar (plus more to sprinkle on top-optional)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 2 TBSP cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup 2% milk
  • ¾ cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup macadamia nut oil
  • ½ cup honey
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • Baking spray (or butter)
  • Parchment paper

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Lightly spray a 9x5 loaf pan with baking spray (or spread with butter) and line with parchment paper sling. Lightly spray parchment.
  • Sift flours, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon together in a bowl.
  • Stir in oats and raisins.
  • In a second bowl, mix together the egg, milk, yogurt, oil and honey.
  • Stir wet ingredients into dry, just to mix.   Batter may be a little lumpy, that is okay, don’t over mix.
  • Pour into parchment lined loaf pan.
  • Bake for 45 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in center comes out clean.
  • Sprinkle top with sugar when removed from oven (optional).
  • Cool 10 minutes in pan on a rack then remove from pan and continue cooling.
  • Serve room temperature, warmed or toasted.

A perfect loaf, if I do say so myself! Breakfast treat, dessert, afternoon tea?  Yes, yes and yes.

This is the first time I used the parchment sling with a loaf pan-it works like a charm, so don't skip that step. So easy to remove the loaf, just lift the parchment.

Printable recipe

Here's more info about the Daring Bakers and some of my other baking challenges:
Biscuits (aka scones in some parts of the world!)

Sans Rival Cake