Whole Wheat Currant Bread {ModBak}

Whole Wheat Currant Bread is the third quick bread in the Modern Baker Challenge. When I think of quick bread, what comes to mind is something sweet and flavorful, more like a cake than a bread. Pumpkin bread, banana bread, blueberry bread — these are all my quick bread ideals.

So I must admit that I wasn’t all that excited to make this bread. It’s loaded with currants — and while I have nothing against currants per se, I had never actually baked with them before, and they just seem so healthy and, I don’t know, British.

But the real problem I had with this bread is that it is made with whole wheat flour. And not just some whole wheat flour, but 100% whole wheat flour. That’s right — it’s all whole wheat; not an ounce of AP or bread flour to be found. Again, I have no particular objection to whole wheat flour — I bake a lot of breads with at least some whole grain in them and love the complexity it adds to the flavor — but 100% whole wheat quick bread? I just couldn’t see why I would want to bake, let alone eat that. But I have committed myself to baking every recipe in The Modern Baker in order, so, like it or not, I cold hardly stall out on the third bread.

I began by assembling my ingredients. Although I’m a big proponent of using mise en place, I don’t always do a full mise for all my recipes. At the very least, though, I get out all of the ingredients so they are all at hand and I am certain that I am not missing anything.

As with many of Nick Malgieri‘s quick breads, the list of ingredients in Whole Wheat Currant Bread isn’t really all that long. Other than the whole wheat flour and currants, there is sugar, baking powder, salt, eggs, oil, and milk or buttermilk. As with most recipes calling for buttermilk, I used dry buttermilk powder and water. I love the flavor of buttermilk but rarely keep in on hand, so  I almost always have buttermilk powder in the cupboard.

The batter came together very fast — it is a quick bread, after all. I didn’t time myself, but I would guess that the time between assembling the ingredients and putting the loaf in the oven couldn’t have been more than 10 minutes.

I baked the loaf at 350° F for 50 minutes, until a knife inserted near the center of the loaf came out clean. While the loaf was baking, I began to wonder if perhaps I had been too quick to judge this bread. It smelled really good in the oven, and when I took it out, I found I didn’t want to wait for it to cool before slicing into it.

But wait I did, at least for a while. When I finally sliced into the bread, it was still a bit warm and was loaded with currants. It still smelled divine, and I decided to try it with a little smear of salted butter.

So, how was it? Did the complexity of the whole wheat and the sweetness of the currants overcome my skepticism and make a believer out of me? In a word — YES!!! This bread was absolutely delicious. It didn’t have the grainy texture, density, and mealy flavor that whole wheat breads sometimes have. The robust flavor of the whole wheat was perfectly matched by the sweetness of the currants.

My family and several co-workers with whom I shared this bread all agreed: this recipe is definitely a keeper.



  1. petra said,

    April 27, 2010 at 3:04 am

    Kim, I would not use JUST stevia in baked goods that are to be light like a cake or even quick breads. Sugar is what makes the baked good light and airy by binding the fluids and with that reduces the forming of the gluten. Sugar is also a preserver and that means that the sugar in your baked goods will keep it fresh longer. There are other factors too (browning etc.). Here is a great site you can read up on what role for instance sugar plays other then sweetening.

  2. petra said,

    April 27, 2010 at 2:47 am

    Love whole grains though like you prefer them in my breads. These sweet quick breads are more like cakes to me having grown up calling them just that (Kuchen). However for a while I have been exchanging up to half (1/3 most times) of the processed spelt I use for baking with whole grain and found that especially with 1/3 it makes not much of a differance in the taste department but sure enough a diffenrence in nutrition. Glad you tried it.

  3. ap269 said,

    April 15, 2010 at 4:41 am

    Hmm, I thought of skipping this bread, but now that I read your post, I re-consider making it… ;o)

    • gaaarp said,

      April 15, 2010 at 6:32 am

      Andrea, this is one of those breads that, but for the Challenge, I never would have made. But I’m so glad I did!

  4. April 14, 2010 at 9:57 pm

    Phyl, your bread looks delectable! I will try to get my post up by the weekend; it’s been a bit busy on the blog front for me this week. But I loved this bread too.

    • gaaarp said,

      April 15, 2010 at 6:31 am

      Thanks, Nancy. It really was an awesome bread. I can’t wait to see your post!

  5. April 14, 2010 at 9:15 pm

    looks amazing…can i have some???? my search is this…trying to bake with Stevia…can you come up with some good bread recipes with Stevia?

    • gaaarp said,

      April 14, 2010 at 9:20 pm

      Kim, sure, come and get it. You’d better hurry, though. It’s disappearing pretty fast.

      I haven’t baked with Stevia, but my understanding is that it can be substituted for sugar at a ratio of 1 tsp Stevia per 1 cup sugar.

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