Oatmeal Breakfast Bread – Cinnamon Master Baker
Growing up, I was lucky enough to have a mom who — among many other wonderful qualities — baked a lot of muffins. Weekend mornings were often filled with the warm, spicy smells of cinnamon wafting from the kitchen; on the table would be a basket filled with treats like pumpkin muffins, zucchini spice muffins (especially in the summer, to use up the bumper crop of zucchini that was always bigger than we’d planned), and applesauce oatmeal muffins. Her baking extended beyond muffins to other delicious treats, but the muffins are one of my fondest memories of our breakfasts together as a family.
The applesauce oatmeal muffins she used to make were one of my favorites, because they combined some of the flavors and ingredients dearest to my heart: apples, oats, and cinnamon. Last year, when I received Dorie Greenspan’s wonderful tome “Baking: From My Home to Yours” — from none other than my sweet mom! — one of the recipes that I immediately wanted to try was the Oatmeal Breakfast Bread. It has lots of applesauce, cinnamon, oatmeal and raisins in the batter, and a brown sugar-walnut streusel on top. Call it a variation on the applesauce oatmeal muffins my mom used to make!
This bread is unbelievably moist, and when it bakes, it perfumes your whole house with the comforting, welcoming, homey smell of cinnamon. Something about the aroma of cinnamon, for me, evokes feelings of being home — and because of that, it’s one of my favorite ingredients to cook with, hands down.
Have a slice as a delicious accompaniment to a hot mug of coffee or tea. Also, if you’re like me, you could consider the bread to be slightly more on the healthy side…applesauce takes the place of butter in the batter, and I like to make mine fully whole grain, using King Arthur white whole wheat flour along with the whole oats. The recipe actually takes really well to using the white whole wheat flour; it blends really nicely with the spices and oats without losing any of the — as Dorie puts it — “pudding soft” texture. And, I cut down just a smidge on the amount of sugar in the recipe, using 1/2 cup in the bread instead of the 3/4 cup in the original recipe, and I find it to be plenty sweet.
This is also my entry into this month’s Master Baker challenge. It was started by Nikki of Crazy Delicious, and each month of the challenge has a different theme — this month’s theme is cinnamon! I can’t wait to see the other entries.
Oatmeal Breakfast Bread
From Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours
For the topping:
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
For the bread:
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup flavorless oil, such as canola or safflower
1/4 cup buttermilk or whole milk (I’ve also used plain yogurt with good results)
1 1/4 cups all-purpose or white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
pinch ground cloves
1/2 cup dried figs, apples, apricots, or raisins (I usually use raisins)
1 cup old-fashioned oats
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9×5 inch loaf pan, and tap out the excess flour.
In a small bowl, use your fingers to toss together the streusel topping ingredients (brown sugar, walnuts, and cinnamon.) Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, applesauce, oil and buttermilk (or milk or yogurt) until they’re well blended.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, and cloves. Stir in the oats.
In a separate small bowl, toss the dried fruit with 1/2 tsp of the flour mixture, just to coat. Set aside.
Pour the liquid ingredients over the flour mixture in the large bowl, and fold with a spatula just until they’re combined (try not to overmix.) Fold in the dried fruit, just until distributed throughout the batter.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Scatter the streusel over the top, and lightly press it onto the surface of the batter with your fingers. Place the loaf pan on a baking sheet (just so it’s easier to lift out of the oven when it’s done), and place in the oven. Bake for 50-60 minutes; I usually take mine out around 50 minutes. You can check that it’s done by inserting a sharp knife in the middle of the bread; no batter should stick to the knife.
Cool for about 10 minutes in the pan, then carefully run a knife around the edges of the pan and unmold the bread. Invert it back to right-side-up and cool it completely on a rack before you cut it.