Sunday, February 12, 2006

Blueberry Muesli Bread

Muesli is basically a combination of uncooked oats with fruits, nuts and sometimes spices that is lightly toasted and sweetened, then stored dry, rather like an uncooked granola mixture. It is great as a snack, a hot cereal, a cold cereal or as a healthy topping for something like ice cream. I personally like snacking on it in the morning, but here I decided to add it to a quickbread.
I used a Swedish muesli that I bought at Ikea, Finax Good for You Muesli. It is very lightly sweetened with honey and has pieces of dried papaya, apples and raisins throughout. Though I did use all purpose flour, not whole wheat, the bread still has a lot of whole grains from the muesli, antioxidents from the blueberries and protein from the soy milk. It's quite low in fat, too, so this is a very healthy loaf.
The bread turned out to be exceptionally good. It developed a nice crust that contrasted well with the soft interior of the bread, which had a great texture due to the meusli. It is slightly sweet and suprisinly hearty, though neither heavy nor dense. There are also a lot of blueberries in every slice. While I'm sure that you could, I did not toast this bread, preferring instead to eat it plain, like a muffin. In fact, it would make great muffins, but even sliced, it was one of the most delicious and satisflying quick breads I've had in a while.

Blueberry Muesli Bread
1 cup muesli
2 cups flour ap
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup vanilla soy milk (plain milk is ok, too)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup blueberries

Preheat oven to 375F and grease and 8x4-inch loaf pan.
In a large bowl, whisk together muesli, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. In a small bowl, beat egg with sugar, then add in soy milk, oil and vanilla. Add sugar mixture to flour mixture and stir until just combined. Stir in blueberries.
Pour batter into prepared pan and top with a few tablespoons of oats or muesli.
Bake at 375F for 55-60 minutes, until a tester comes out clean.
Remove from pan and let cool completely on a wire rack.
Makes 1 loaf.

Note: If you are worried about over browning (though I did not have this problem), simply put a loose tent of aluminum foil over the loaf in the last 10-15 minutes of baking. Dried fruit bits in the muesli topping might scorch slightly, so it is best to remove them.