This week’s column is just one recipe, but it's one that that can launch a thousand more.
Quick Bread Master Mix
copyright janet groene
“Quick” breads are loaves that do not rely on yeast and the lengthy steps that go with it. They are easy for experienced and beginning camp cooks and so versatile you’ll use the master recipe in dozens of ways.
These breads can be crumbly when hot, so just cut a hunk, butter it up and you’re in hot bread heaven. For easier slicing, cool and wrap for several hours or overnight.
Cook’s notes: (1) To make the master mix ahead of time, use shortening, not butter, and keep mixture in the refrigerator. Return to “room” temperature before using. (2) Flours can vary in moisture content depending on the weather and type of flour. If dough is too wet add less liquid or more flour.
3 cups all-purpose, unbleached flour*
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup shortening OR
1 stick butter
Mix dry ingredients and cut in fat until mealy. Seal in a plastic bag and keep cool, preferably in the refrigerator. This makes enough for a 9-inch loaf or about 12 LARGE muffins. See below for suggestions on completing the mix.
* Flour measure may also include small proportion of cornmeal, whole wheat flour, blends of other flours, wheat germ, minute oats, milled flax seed or oat bran.
1. Whisk wet ingredients together, mix dry ingredients together, then combine just until everything is evenly wet. Do not over-mix or knead.
2. Grease a deep, 9-inch loaf pan well. You might line the bottom of the pan with waxed paper or parchment for easier removal. The same recipe can also make muffins. Do not fill pans or cupcake papers more than 2/3 full.
3. Bake loaves or muffins at 350 degrees until springy to the touch and pulling slightly away from edges of the pan. A toothpick plunged in the center should come out clean.
4. Cool loaf in the pan 15 to 20 minutes before removing. Cool completely, wrap and keep in a cool place several hours or overnight. Muffins can be eaten while warm.
5. A serrated bread knife slicing easier. Adding chunky items such as nuts and fruit makes for a delicious loaf but also makes slicing more difficult.
6. These breads can be baked in a stovetop oven but may not get brown.
7. To use this mix as skillet pizza crust, add milk or water to about 1 ½ cups of the mix to make a thick dough. Spread in a greased heavy skillet. Add toppings, cover, cook over low-medium fire until bottom and sides brown.
8. To make ahead for a camping trip use disposable foil loaf pans. Wrap and freeze in the pans.
*Onion loaf: to dry mix add ½ teaspoon baking soda, 1 cup buttermilk, 2 eggs and ½ to 1 cup packaged French fried onions OR
* Cheesy Dill Loaf : add ½ cup grated Parmesan and 2 teaspoons dried dillweed to the dry mix, then stir in 2 cups milk whisked with 2 eggs OR
* Pumpkin Spice Bread: To the dry mix add 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie or apple pie spice mix and 1/3 cup sugar. The wet mixture should be 1 cup canned pumpkin puree, 2 eggs and 1 cup milk OR
*Olive Bacon Bread: Add ½ teaspoon baking soda, 3 tablespoons real bacon bits and 1 cup chopped, stuffed olives to the dry mix. Add 1 1/2 cups milk whisked with 2 eggs. OR
* Blushing Italian Loaf: To the dry mix add ½ teaspoon baking soda and 2 teaspoons dried mixed Italian herbs. The wet mixture is 8-ounce can tomato sauce, 1 cup milk 2 eggs and 1/4 cup olive oil.
*Fruit and Nut Bread: To the dry mix add ½ teaspoon baking soda, 1/4 cup sugar and ½ cup each chopped nuts and dried fruit bits OR
* Pineapple Bread: To the dry mixture add an 8-ounce can of pineapple with juice, 1 egg, ½ stick butter, melted and 1/4 cup milk. Combine wellOR
* Banana Bread: To the dry mixture add ½ teaspoon baking soda and 2 teaspoons cinnamon . Fold in a mixture of 2 bananas, mashed, 2 eggs, 1 cup milk and ½ stick butter, melted.
* Peanut Butter Bread: Whisk together 1 cup smooth or chunky peanut butter, 1 cup milk and 2 eggs. Fold into dry mixture shown above.
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