Sunday, September 27, 2009

A side of bakin'

I've already explained that - given the chance - I prefer to spend time in the kitchen over the weekends. While I love to cook, I don't regularly bake. An occasional loaf of bread proves the exception. A couple of weeks ago I made real french bread and more recently a molasses and cornmeal mush based "Anadama Bread".

Several bananas have evolved in our fruit basket. They have reached a point of no return, and now must be reckoned with. Fortunately, I have at my disposal not one but two of my mom's excellent recipes for Banana Bread.

I also have a favorite basic whole grain bread recipe that is a very accommodating starting point for creative bread making. 

The Method (Banana Bread)

  1. Blend 1/4 C softened butter, 1 C sugar, and three eggs.
  2. Add in three (or four) very ripe banana.
  3. Add 1 C white flour (I may use wheat next time)
  4. 1 tsp baking soda
  5. Incorporate 1/2 bag of Ghiradelli's semi-sweet chocolate chips (which you were eating anyway while you were making Mac and Greens [and by You, I mean me]).
  6. Bake at 350 for 1 hour. (Cool 3 hours and then realize that you stuck the knife in the wrong place and it was raw. Return to the oven  for another 1/2 hour...remove fully cooked.)
The Method (Whole Grain Bread)
I'm certain you have your own favorite bread recipe. This isn't my very favorite, but it is forgiving. It includes butter, dried milk, and an open-ended request for "whole grain cereal". 

Okay. A confession. I intended to make Pugliese, a soft-crumbed Italian bread. HOWEVER, I failed to carefully review the recipe first. Had I done so, I would have realized that I needed to allow the starter to set for 8-10 hours before beginning the actual dough. Given that I mixed the yeast and water at 3:30, it seemed a course correction was necessary. Thus, I returned to the ole' stand-by.

After adjusting the flour and water ratios, using bread and wheat flours, I added the remaining ingredients: 1 C. combined of whole bran and granola cereals, salt, butter, honey, and...

Well, I had forgotten to buy milk and discovered I did not have dried milk. Previously I'd tried using soy and almond milks as a substitute, but they were vanilla flavored and gave the bread an odd aftertaste. Unfortunately, I only had those in the house. So, after a quick run to the Circle K for a $3.69 gallon of skim milk, i was back in business.

Of course, by this stage, the yeast had been proofing for almost 1/2 hour. 

Then the bread machine failed. (Yes, I had decided to take the automated route) 

So, I was left with a semi-stirred amalgamation. With a quick flouring of the counter and several minutes of hand kneading, all was ready.

Two risings. A final rising on the baking stone, then into a 425 oven for ten minutes. Lower the heat to 350 and finish baking for ...

I forgot to set the timer.  So, somewhere around 30 minutes after lowering the temperature, I checked the bread. Perfect!

The Results
Homemade bread. Forgiving. Delicious. 


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Dina said...

Having a hard time following these recipes, Jim...

Jim said...

I'll post the complete recipes soon!

Kudya Bwino Bwino (Eating Well) © 2009