Bread


Intentional waste.  I’m not sure exactly how I feel about it.  Most waste in this world is more out of negligence than it is specifically intentional.  Yet, I find that there are a few things that I specifically overbuy in order to justify my vices.  I would like to say that I was trying not to waste bananas in making this cake, yet if I’m being honest, I have to admit that I did, in fact, knowingly buy more bananas than I knew I could consume in a reasonable amount of time.  Why?  Because this cake is one of my favorites.  Perfect with a cup of coffee in the morning, it’s moist and wonderful.  I’ve experimented around with using partial wheat flour and applesauce in place of some of the oil.  It all works, but somehow I find myself always coming back to this original recipe and in a bunt pan, this is absolutely wonderful.

3/4 C. oil
1 egg
1 egg white
1 1/2 C. Sugar
1 1/2 t. vanilla
3 smashed over-ripe bananas

2 1/4 C. Flour
1 1/2 t. baking soda
3/4 t. baking powder
3/4 tsp. nutmeg

3/4 C. brown sugar
Cinnamon to taste

Mix together first set of wet ingredients, then slowly add the second set of dry. Place in a buttered/floured bunt pan and sprinkle the cinnamon-brown sugar on top. Swirl in with a knife. Bake at 350F for about 40-45 min.

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Whole Whole—there’s so  much that I want to say to you.  I love how you taste nutty and earthy and how you have such a lovely hearty texture.  However, I don’t love how you tend to make things unbearably dense and occasionally bitter.  I want to love you unconditionally, I really do, but I can’t.  Maybe I’m just too selfish, or maybe you’re just unwilling to change, but I just can’t see us making this work.  I don’t want to keep adulterating you by mixing you with White Flour to make you palatable.  I know this sounds harsh, but that’s how it is.

Whole Wheat had a response that not only stopped my melancholy monologue dead in its tracks, but renewed my love for it in a way I didn’t think possible.  What an easy solution to a seemingly unsolvable problem.

In a bread machine add:

1 1/8 cups water
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup honey
1 tablespoon yogurt
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

Remove from machine, roll into a log, place in a well oil/floured loaf pan, and allow to rise for about an hour, or until it’s filled the pan.  Bake at 350F for 40-45 min or until golden brown, with an internal temp of 200F (or crunchy on the outside and hollow sounding when tapped on the bottom).

apple spice muffins

Why is everything exponentially cuter when small?  Kittens, turtles, children’s socks, mandarins, are all cute for one simple reason: they’re small.  Well, in an effort to cutesy things up around here, feast your eyes and hopefully taste buds on these cute little mini-muffins.  Despite their cute shape, these Apple Spice Muffins pack a punch of flavor with their cinnamon, nutmeg goodness.  I made these with some of the applesauce we canned last year (keep your eyes peeled, as this Saturday is Applesauce Canning Day again), so the apple pieces were a little extra chunky.  Soooo good.

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup pecans or walnuts (3 1/2 ounces), coarsely chopped

Topping

  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 400°F. Grease muffin pan.

Stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt in a bowl. Whisk together eggs and brown sugar in a large bowl until combined well, then add butter, a little at a time, whisking until mixture is creamy. Stir in applesauce, then fold in flour mixture until flour is just moistened. Stir in nuts and divide batter among muffin cups.

Make topping and bake:
Stir together all topping ingredients and sprinkle on top of muffins. Bake until muffins are puffed and golden, about 20 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack 5 minutes, then remove muffins from pan and cool slightly.

(From Epicurious.com)

sourdough1

Although I haven’t been posting much about it lately, I’m here to tell you that I’m still holding up to my New Year’s resolution to conquer my fears and bake things that scare me.  Yeast bread has always been a little daunting, but the true bogeyman of the bread world to me has always been sourdough.  Maybe this is an aversion to responsibility in having to keep the yeast/bacteria colony alive.  It may also be that I live so close to San Fransisco, the True hub of all sourdough bread making, and thus have anxiety about measuring up (if you’ve tasted good sourdough, then you know what I mean).

This was what I made a few nights ago.  The starter that I used was only a few days old, so it didn’t have quite the flavor that it will in a few weeks, but was still very good.  The Bread Maker’s Apprentice has been a great resource that I would highly recommend.

zucchini muffins

This recipe came from “Jessi” on allrecipes.com.  I had to do something with all that zucchini I had lying around from the garden.  I decided to add some leftover crumble topping I had made for the peach crisps to get some of that out of the fridge too.  It really made for a great combo.  Hope you enjoy.

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour*
1 cup white sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
1/4 cup sour milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a muffin pan, or use paper liners.In a large bowl, combine flour and sugar. Stir in baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center, and pour in milk, eggs, zucchini and vanilla. Fold in walnuts. Fill muffin cups 2/3 to 3/4 full. Sprinkle tops with brown sugar. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool.

*I used half whole wheat flour, and it still turned out perfectly.

grilled garlic bread

You waistline may not thank me, but by gum, your taste buds will.  Next time you’re out at the grill making some skewers or tuscan lemon chicken, throw these on.  I think I remember reading something about garlic warding off vampires….so if you’re sick of all the Twilight hype,* this may just be the thing for you.

What you’ll need:

Ciabatta, or other crusty bread
Butter, softened
A good amount of garlic, chopped
Fresh parsley, chopped

Split your bread open with a sharp knife.  In a bowl combine butter, garlic, and parsley.  With a spatula or butter knife, spread the butter mixture over the bread.  Grill until butter is completely melted and bread is slightly crispy (this should be pretty quick, so make sure to watch yourself).  Nothing fancy.

*Or just sick of hearing Rob Pattinson’s name screamed from teenage girls at a ear-piercing decible.

As many of you might have already read, part of my New Year’s Resolve was to tackle some of the simple things in life that have always been a bit daunting to me.  One of those things was homemade yeast bread.  Here’s a picture of a loaf I made last night of Pain de Campagne–just trying to stay honest.  Yeah, yeah, and the elliptical machine is calling my name too.

bread-champaign

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