Saturday, April 17, 2010

Whole Wheat Blueberry Bread (Sugar-free)

Update (April 17, 2010) and re-posting: this recipe was altered to use less oil and applesauce and I've added notes about how these changes affected the bread.

I've been trying to finish off the bag of frozen blueberries that we bought at Costco before we make our next trek there (at which point I will buy a new bag and start the process all over again). I also wanted to take my sugar-free whole wheat banana bread recipe and modify it for different fruits. What better place to start than with blueberries?

Since the basic components of the banana bread recipe like yogurt, oil, flour, and egg quantities, were sound, I mainly wanted to swap out the flavor components. That being said, bananas lend moisture and density to quick breads and blueberries do not. I decided to replace the bananas with unsweetened applesauce*. I also didn't include cinnamon or vanilla as flavorings because I didn't want to be able to taste the apple and I felt those seasonings would enhance it. I wanted the blueberries to shine through rather than for this to be an apple-berry mixture.

I don't mind being immodest and saying that this turned out fantastic. I sampled the batter and it was very "wheaty" (as raw batter can be with whole wheat flour), but very tasty. I was very keen to cut the bread and sample it right out of the oven, but waited for it to cool to just slightly warm first. I didn't want the structure to fall apart because I cut it while it was still too warm.

This is by far one of my best improvised recipes ever. One of my students made it with a 1/2 cup of brown sugar and hers turned out great as well.

Whole Wheat Blueberry Bread:

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce*
  • 1 medium egg
  • 1/2 cup plain (unsweetened) yogurt
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 tbsp. Canola oil (or any vegetable oil)
  • 1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour (I used whole wheat bread flour)
  • 1 cup granular Splenda (or just use 1/2 cup of white or brown sugar)
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen (unsweetened) blueberries
Mix the egg, yogurt, applesauce, Splenda (or sugar), salt, and oil in a large bowl. Squeeze in the juice of half a lemon and mix well. Add the whole wheat flour and stir until just moistened. Allow to rest 10-30 minutes. While the flour is resting, grease and flour a loaf pan and preheat your oven to 180 degrees C. (350 degrees F.). Stir in the baking powder until well incorporated, but do not overmix. You don't want to overwork the gluten in the flour as it will make the bread tough. Gently fold in the frozen blueberries. Pour into your prepared loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes. Note that I used a glass pan which takes longer to heat up so my cooking time (1 hour) may be longer than that needed for a metal pan.

*Unsweetened Applesauce:

You can make your own unsweetened applesauce easily in the microwave oven. Peel and core two medium apples (green or red is okay, but green apples are softer and cook faster) or one very large apple. Cut the apple roughly into bite-size pieces. Put the apple pieces into a microwave-safe dish with a lid and add about a quarter cup of water. Microwave on high power (600 W.) for between 3-6 minutes. After three minutes, check with a fork to see if they are tender and add more cooking time as necessary. The timing it takes depends on the type of apples you use. Drain the water from the cooked apple and place in a food processor with a small bowl or use your blender. Puree, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Two medium apples yielded 1.25 cups of applesauce for me.

The calories for the whole loaf are about 1220.

Notes after modifications: I reduced the applesauce and oil because the bread was so moist before. This moistness wasn't bad at all. That being said, it did tend to keep the bread from rising as well as it might and cause it to sink down further after cooling. Cutting the applesauce to 3/4 cup and the oil to 1 tbsp. had no negative impact at all, and in fact made a more "quick-bread-like" result. I think it's pretty much as close to being perfect as possible (not that it was bad at all before!).

by Shari (Orchid64)

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