March 9, 2011

Berry Bread - dairy-free, egg-free

One of my favorite breakfast treats is berry bread.  Really, it's just a muffin disguised as a bread or cake as you'll see from the original recipe that inspired this.

If you are dairy-free like our family and need to replace buttermilk in a recipe, a good alternative is to use 1 tablespoon of vinegar plus enough milk substitute to make 1 full cup of liquid, and let that mix sit for 10 minutes.  The vinegar and milk mix works especially well with soy milk (you get that curdling effect).  If you are soy-free, use almond (if it's safe for you) or whole grain milk.  Whole grain milk tasted great in the recipe but know that the vinegar won't curdle the milk.

I like to make our berry bread in one big pan for many reasons.  It's easier to pour out the whole batter into one pan, pop it in the oven, and check on it 45 minutes later.  I can also save money on muffin liners.  Beyond those reasons and on a serious note, safety is always on my mind.  Oily batter bleed through those liners and I worry that I'm going to miss scrubbing any remnant egg or other allergen off.  If I line a pan with aluminum foil, it provides an impermeable layer of protection against cross-contamination.  I can rest easier when I'm baking for friends with different food allergies.

Berry bread
Adapted from Nora Donovan's recipe submitted to

2 cups flour (I use whole wheat or white whole wheat)
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup canola oil
2/3 to 3/4 cup white sugar (I like organic sugar)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp ground flaxseed meal + 6Tbsp water, mixed (If you aren't avoiding eggs, you can use 2 here.)
1 Tbsp vinegar (I like apple cider vinegar) plus enough milk substitute to equal 1 cup
(I use Trader Joe's Unsweetened Whole Grain Milk or Soy Dream Original)
1 1/2 cup frozen berries (I like a mix of blueberries and raspberries)

  1. Preheat over to 375 degrees.
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine oil and sugar.  Stir in vanilla and flaxmeal/water mixture until well combined.
  4. Slowly combine flour and wet mixtures.  Then add milk substitute.  Hand mix or whisk to break up any big clumps.
  5. Toss berries with 1 tsp each of sugar and flour.  
  6. Spread half of batter into a foiled or well-oiled 8"x8" or 9"x9" square pan.  Sprinkle berries on top of batter.  Then cover with remaining batter.  Gently stir to mix the berries and batter. Doing this helps to prevent the juices of the berries from "bleeding" all over.  You can also toss the berries in a teaspoon of flour to try to absorb any excess liquid.  It's not bad if they bleed but it may not look the prettiest!
  7. Bake for 45 minutes in square pan or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  For muffins, fill muffin cups 2/3 full and bake for 25-30 minutes or until muffins spring back when touched at their center.
  8. I've also made this recipe with a mashed super-ripe banana in place of 1/4 cup of the sugar.  Yum!

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