This is my modification of a recipe from Kellogg’s All-Bran cereal, reprinted in Best Recipes from the Backs of Boxes, Bottles, Cans and Jars by Ceil Dyer. She says that this “Bran Nut and Raisin Bread” was served in the very first in-flight meal on a passenger plane, in 1930!
I went looking for a recipe for raisin bran bread because we’d bought 8 pounds of Kirkland Signature organic raisin bran cereal at Costco and then found that it was no fun to eat because the flakes were so big and hard and rough. The flavor was fine, though, so we wanted to find a different way to eat it, and we like quick breads. (If you would rather make bread from raisins and bran than from raisin bran cereal, see the revised recipe.)
With splendid faith in nengkan, I swapped raisin bran (plus extra raisins) for All-Bran and raisins, swapped whole-wheat for white flour, swapped sorghum syrup (huh?) for molasses, left out the nuts (because I just don’t like crunchy things in my bread), added cinnamon, and made a triple batch. It was fabulous. The next time, I swapped applesauce for milk and disregarded the complicated multi-bowl mixing instructions, and it was just as good.
The resulting recipe is vegan and free of common allergens (except wheat), which makes it great for serving at gatherings of people with diverse dietary needs. It’s loaded with fiber and iron, and it’s substantial enough for a breakfast that keeps you full all morning (especially if you spread it with almond butter–yum!), yet it tastes so good that several people at church coffee hour referred to it as “cake”!
For each loaf, you will need:
- 1 1/2 cups raisin bran
- 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/3 cup sorghum syrup or molasses
- 1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- additional raisins until it looks raisiny enough
- 1 Tbsp. baking powder
This step is optional, but you’ll get a better texture if you do it: Use a blender, food processor, or potato masher to crush the raisin bran until at least half the flakes are broken into smaller pieces. (The blender or food processor also will cut open the raisins, which then will transform during baking into pockets of scrumptious goo!)
Preheat oven to 350F.
Combine all ingredients in a bowl, adding them in approximately the order shown above and stirring after each addition. You want to add the baking powder last–sprinkling it lightly across the surface of the batter rather than dumping it by the spoonful–because it will make the batter foamy, and the sooner you get it into the pans after that, the better the consistency of the finished bread will be.
Pour batter into greased loaf pan. (I like coconut oil for greasing pans: It coats the surface easily and thoroughly when applied with fingers, it tastes good when you lick said fingers, and the bread pops right out when done. If you grease the pan with some sort of liquid or spray oil, it’s wise to flour the pan too.)
Bake 1 hour or until chopstick poked into the center comes out clean.
Eat it plain or topped with butter, coconut oil, nut butter, cream cheese, or apple butter.