Banana Bread

Banana Bread

This is something I started making (really this is only the 2nd time I’ve made it) out of necessity.  Typically we buy bananas every week so I can take to work.  Occasionally I’m just too busy at work and don’t end up eating all the bananas.  When they start to get very ripe or over ripe, they’re not great to eat (the dog would beg to differ).  The first time I did it I didn’t even think about documenting it.  And then today when I wanted to make it again I had to google recipes.  I had started documenting my baking/cooking here so I had one place to go back to for recipes so I figured I should document today’s endeavor.  Banana bread is a lot easier to put together than making regular bread.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups All Purpose flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 ripened bananas
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
  1.  Combine dry ingrediets (flour, baking soda, salt) in one bowl.
  2.  Cream butter and brown sugar together.  Then add in mashed bananas, vanilla, and eggs.  Combine
  3. Most recipes say to add the wet ingredients slowly to the dry.  (I used a larger bowl for the wet ingredients so I did the opposite and slowly added the dry to the wet).
  4. Pre-heat oven to 350 F, butter a loaf pan (or can use parchment paper as well – we ran out so I didn’t use it and it has been hard to come by due to COVID-19).
  5. Pour mixture into loaf pan and put in oven for 60-75 minutes (until toothpick inserted comes out clean).
  6. (Optional)  Add in 1/4-1/2 chocolate chips +/- walnuts (we didn’t have any and I don’t really care for it).  Add to mixture after combining above.

Continue reading “Banana Bread”

Sourdough bread (fresh starter!)

Sourdough bread (fresh starter!)

D found this recipe from the King Arthur flour web site about a no-knead sourdough.  Since I just made a starter again (see this post), I figured this would be a good first try.  I followed this site’s directions relatively closely and will put my slight alteration.

Ingredients

  • 225 g fresh sourdough starter (it wasn’t exactly fresh as I had fed it around 7 am and didn’t make the dough until about 7 pm…most things I read said you should start your recipe about 4 hours after feeding your starter)
  • 395 g luke warm water
  • 598 g bread flour
  • 15 g salt
  1.  I took all the ingredients and mixed them in a large metal bowl (I typically use a metal bowl for my baking…I know a lot of places say you should use wooden or plastic but I haven’t had any issues with rising).  I made it into a cohesive moist dough, covered it with my plate (that fits almost perfectly as a lid) and let it sit for 1 hour.
  2. Next I lifted the dough and then folded it over on itself (I just grab a piece from the edge and fold it to the center and then go around the edge of it to fold on itself).  I covered it again and let it rest another 1 hour.
  3. I repeated step 2 another 2 times (total of 3 hours) and folded it one more time after the last hour wait.  I then covered it and put it in the fridge.
  4. The King Arthur site says you can let it sit in the fridge for as little as 8 hours and up to 48 hours.  Since I started it on one of my work days, I was going to wait until my day off to bake.  I ended up letting it sit in the fridge for about 36 hours.
  5. On a well floured counter, I poured out the dough, formed a rough ball and let it sit for 15-20 minutes.
  6. I then shaped it into a boule and with seam side up put it in a well greased bowl.  The dough ball didn’t really rise much (which is what it said from the original recipe) but did spread out and relax.  I let it come up to temperature for about 3 hours (again it depends on warmth of your house…2.5 to 3 hours)
  7. About 1 hour before baking I preheated the oven to 500 F.  I put in my dutch over with the lid partially ajar to preheat as well (as this is my baking container).
  8. After 3 hours, I dumped the dough into the dutch oven, floured the top and made 4  cuts on top with a sharp knife.
  9. I replaced the dutch oven cover, put it in the oven and reduced the temperature to 450 F.  I baked it for 45 minutes covered.
  10. After 45 minutes, I removed the cover and allowed it to bake another 10 min (~10-15 min until internal temp is at least 205 F).

Continue reading “Sourdough bread (fresh starter!)”

Sourdough starter

With COVID-19 going on, a TON of people have decided to take up baking.  I’m glad that I got into it a few years ago so at least I’m already familiar with the process and had started building up supplies prior to the lockdown.  I have heard a lot of people who have started making bread starters because it is difficult/impossible to get active dry yeast at this time (side note: my wife mentioned part of the reason for the shortage is that it is hard for the yeast companies to obtain the packaging for the yeast and normally their “busy season” is int he fall so they weren’t prepared for the high demand).  I had made a starter a few years back and kept it going for a few months but then neglected it and eventually tossed it.  For the last year or two I’ve been meaning to re-start one.  It happened to be unseasonably warmer this week and since I have a little extra time (I’m considered essential so still working but not as much as before) decided to start a new sourdough starter.

Surprisingly you can make a sourdough starter pretty easily and with few ingredients.  All you really need is flour and water.  There are some particulars to each that you have to pay attention to.  For the flour you can actually use different types (as evidenced below).  The water you ideally should be using something that doesn’t have chlorine or chloramine in it as that can retard the growth of the starter (either using filtered water or bottled water).

I decided to try two different types to see which would create a better yeast starter.  I made one out of whole wheat flour and one with AP flour.

And….

Both those failed to produce.

I waited a week and then decided to try once more (what’s that saying “try and try again”).  This time I kept it very simple.

  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup water (used the Brita since that water has sat and if there is extra chlorine, hopefully it will have evaporated out).
  • Food safe plastic container
  • I mixed everything up thoroughly and then used cheesecloth to cover (and partially covered with the lid but didn’t seal it). I put this on top of the fridge because it’s supposed to be a little warmer there.

Then I just let it sit for about 24 hours.  Our house is relatively cool so I left it an additional 12 hours.  By now I could see a little bit of bubbles.  I removed 1/2 of the mixture and then added in another 1/4 cup flour and 1/4 cup water and mixed it thoroughly.

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I kept repeating the process (waiting 24 hours between feedings).  It took almost 2 weeks (most web sites say you can have it ready in 5-7 days) probably because it is cooler in our house (normally they want it in 80-85 F temps).

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A few bubbles…it’s ALIVE!
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Got some expansion and more bubbles

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If left too long a crust can form, just discard it and underneath is fine and toss 1/2 and re-feed

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After removing crust
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Healthy starter – notice the bubbles
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Those bubbles are what you want to see

 

-StewsCat