Quick Brown Bread

A 'quick' brown bread, easy to mix by hand with just a wooden spoon. No eggs!

Easy-mix, cupboard-ingredient BROWN BREAD may be a misnomer. It isn’t the yeast-leavened bread that comes to mind but instead a quick bread leavened with baking soda and reminiscent of a steamed Boston brown bread.

As regular readers will notice, I’ve 'Alanna-sized' the recipe, reducing the sugar by half. I also cut the currants / raisins along with the nuts, following my mom’s theory about chocolate chips: a few ‘delight’ when more can seem ‘rather ordinary’.

The changes result in a 20 percent drop in calories and a 33 percent reduction in fat – and with no loss in enjoyment, an absolute requirement.

A favorite new baking pan helps too. It is longer and narrower than a standard 9x5 bread pan but holds the same volume of batter.

The length change makes it easier to cut a dozen substantial-seeming pieces versus a dozen skimpy-seeming pieces. This is a mind game, of course, but like serving meals on smaller plates, it works.

If you think it might for you, too, visit KingArthurFlour.com for a Danish loaf pan.

ALANNA's TIPS Soften any brown sugar lumps before adding since they won’t get worked out during the usual butter-sugar creaming process. Unsulphured molasses has a lighter, cleaner sugar cane flavor but can be harder to find so stock up when you do.
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Send your own tips for improving nutrition to e-mail.


Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Oven time: 50 minutes
12 slices
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar (reduced from 2/3 cup)
  • 1/4 cup molasses (unsulphured if available)
  • 2 cups low-fat buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup currants or raisins (reduced from 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (reduced from 3/4 cup)

In a large mixing bowl, stir together dry ingredients with a wooden spoon. Add remaining ingredients and stir together until just combined. Pour batter evenly into a lightly buttered 9x5 bread pan, leveling the top with back of a spoon.

Bake at 350F for 50 minutes or until a slim knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool for five minutes, then remove from pan.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per slice: 217 Cal; 4g Tot Fat; 1g Sat Fat; 40g Carb; 3g Fiber; 262mg Sodium; 3mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 4 points


This bread is barely sweet, so to my taste anyway, is perfect as a 'morning cake'. It's also especially good with an unsweetened apple butter.
For a vegan version of this already-eggless quick bread, substitute soy milk for buttermilk and add a tablespoon of vinegar.
No buttermilk on hand? Just add a tablespoon of vinegar to sweet milk.
If there's a Great Harvest bakery in your neighborhood, stop by to purchase just-found whole wheat flour. It's not inexpensive but the freshness can't be matched.
King Arthur keeps changing manufacturers for the Danish Loaf Pan. If you encounter a page reading, "This product is no longer available", just enter Danish Loaf Pan in their search box and chances are, another will be available. The one I have is definitely a long-time favorite and is much recommended.

More Quick Bread Recipes

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Shhh Banana Bread Autumn Pumpkin Bread Best Shortcake Biscuits for Strawberry Shortcake
~ more quick bread recipes, sweet ~
~ more quick bread recipes, savory ~

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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Anonymous7/22/2007

    Hi Alanna,
    This bread sounds really good. Similar recipes have caught my eye for years, but I always dismiss them because of all the calories, fat, etc. Thanks for lightening it up! And thanks, too, for the link to your wonderful new bread pan. : )



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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna