Breads andj Breakfasts

Fresh from the oven, breads are one of the favorite forms of carbohydrate for active people. Here are some baking tips to help you prepare the yum-miest of breads.

  • The secret for light and fluffy quick breads, muffins, and scones is to stir the flour lightly and for only 20 seconds. Ignore the lumps! If you beat the batter too much, the gluten (protein) in the flour will toughen the dough.
  • Breads made entirely with whole-wheat flour tend to be heavy. In general, half white and half whole-wheat flour is an appropriate combination. Many of these recipes have been developed using this ratio. You can alter the ratio as you like. When substituting whole-wheat flour for white flour in other recipes, use 3/4 cup whole-wheat flour for 1 cup white flour.
  • Most of these recipes have reduced sugar content. To reduce the sugar content of your own recipes, use one-third to one-half less sugar than indicated; the finished product will be just fine. If you want to exchange white sugar with honey, brown sugar, or molasses, use only 1/2 teaspoon baking powder per 2 cups flour, and add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda. This prevents an "off" taste.
  • Most quick-bread recipes instruct you to sift together the baking powder and flour. This method produces the lightest breads and best results. In some recipes, I direct you to mix the baking powder with the wet ingredients and add the flour last. My method is easier, produces an acceptable product, and saves time.
  • To prevent quick breads from sticking, use nonstick baking pans or cooking spray, or place a piece of waxed paper in the baking pan before pouring the batter. I've found that using waxed paper is foolproof. After the quick bread has baked, let it cool for five minutes, tip it out of the pan, then peel off the paper.
  • To hasten cooking time, bake quick breads in an 8- by 8-inch square pan instead of a loaf pan. They bake in half the time. You can also bake muffins in a loaf or square pan, eliminating the hard-to-wash muffin tins.

Fresh from the stove top, oatmeal is not only a healthful addition to your sports diet but also an easy-to-digest preexercise breakfast. Many people like oatmeal before long runs, hard workouts at the gym, swim practices, or other workouts. The following oatmeal additions will add variety to your breakfasts:

  • Dried apricot pieces, honey, and a dash of nutmeg
  • Raisins and cinnamon
  • Sliced banana (cooked with the oatmeal), brown sugar, and peanut butter
  • Dried cranberries, honey, and chopped pecans
  • Diced apple (cooked with the oatmeal) and maple syrup

Instead of adding sweetener to the oatmeal, some people choose to add a little salt and eat the oatmeal as a grain instead of a sweetened cereal. Because active people need some salt to replace what they lose in sweat, eating salted oatmeal is certainly an acceptable practice—plus most athletes find the oatmeal tastes a lot better.

RECIPE FINDER-

Banana bread 318

Blueberry oatmeal muffins 319

Carrot raisin muffins 320

Molasses muffins with flax and dates 321

Cold cereal with hot fruit 322

Cereal to go 323

Breakfast fruit salad with marmalade yogurt 324

Honey nut granola 325

Baked apple French toast 326

Oatmeal pancakes 327

Wheat germ and cottage cheese pancakes 328

See also: Tofu burritos, Oatmeal cookies, Peanutty energy bars, Peanut butter banana roll-up, Diana's supersoy and phytochemical shake, Fruit smoothie, Protein shake, Rainbow fruit salad

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