Archive | bread

Chocolate Babka

If it were not for Downton Abbey, I wouldn’t have known that ironing newsprint sets the ink, leaving one’s hands stain-free. Then again, I have yet to test this method. My last newspaper print subscription ended more than half a decade ago.  J’s mom, on the other hand, still gets her daily Globe and Mail. I kind of miss it and I must admit, I don’t think I’ll mind having stained fingers. I miss reading the papers and holding them in front of me on a table, a guilty pleasure I still do at coffee shops and from my occasional  purchase. They remind me of simpler times.

I remember being six or seven, eagerly awaiting the newspaper and milk delivery guys on summer mornings at my grandparents’ home. My grandmother would usually be found watering the red, pink, yellow and orange daisies along the curved driveway in front of the house. I would sit on, what seemed to me then were, always impeccably-clean mustard-colored stone doorsteps. My grandfather would either be typing away in the office, or busy attending to some concerns in the community (he was the head of a theological seminary then).  The glass jug of freshly pasteurized carabao’s milk from the nearby dairy farm would usually arrive first and I would carry it straight to the kitchen. It’s a dairy treat that’s not just for drinking, but also for eating —  it’s poured over fried or steamed jasmine rice and sprinkled with rock salt, a delicious combination I tell you. As for the newspaper, I would take it to the dining table and everyone would have their piece of it once breakfast was ready. I took the comics section, with Garfield and Dennis the Menace. Breakfast conversations were a mix of chatter about the headlines, politics, crime, sports (oh, how Filipinos love their basketball), and everything and anything that’s going on with us and the community. Oftentimes, my conversational contributions were about my new jokes, new “inventions”, and a rough idea of where my friends and I will go that day, and what food we’re taking for the lunch. There were no table-side electronic gadgets that demanded attention then, so everyone talked and read.

W (J’s mom) shares her newspapers every now and then, when there’s something interesting to read (we don’t live close enough to share papers reguarly), like the 2-page spread of the different FIFA teams and the match schedules. She’ll sometimes bring a newspaper clipping of a recipe she thinks we’ll enjoy and would have otherwise missed, like this chocolate babka. She gave it to us on a Thursday night and after quickly going through it, I decided to make it the next evening. Saturdays being our cleaning days, I go for recipes I can make ahead on Friday nights. This fits the criteria perfectly.

Chocolate Babka

In the morning, all that was left to do were the egg wash and the crumble topping while the oven is preheating.

The scent of chocolate melting between layers of dough makes its way from the kitchen to adjacent rooms after the 30-minute mark. By the time the oven beeps and you’ve been intoxicated by the baking aromas, you’ll meet an impressive-looking golden brown loaf once you open the oven. It really is a stunner.

Sliced Chocolate Babka

However, don’t start calling every one  just yet. It is best to  delay (every)one’s gratification and let it cool for a bit to set the chocolate, or it would be oozing everywhere when you try to slice it. It is truly worth the wait and can melt any morning grumpiness.

If you want to take it one chocolate step further, spread Nutella on a slice. [And know what else this would be good for? French toast.]

The length of the recipe looks daunting, but just take a deep breath and read through it carefully. There’s nothing complicated and with a little bit of patience. you can do it. I’ve included a lot of photos below to guide you through the different processes, which I hope would help.

I like this tradition of passing on recipes, from J’s mom, to us, then to you. This turned out to be a lovely and special breakfast for us, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it, too.

If you have any questions, you know where to reach me. :-)

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Posted in baking, bread, breakfast, brunch, chocolate, coffee buddy, featured, make-ahead, snacks13 Comments

Filipino Pan De Sal

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There’s nothing more definitive of my childhood breakfast –and I guess, the same goes for many other Filipinos–than pan de sal. The steam escaping out of the brown paper bag from the freshly baked buns, the crumbs getting all over your fingers,  the hot, tongue-numbing first bite…I missed every bit of it when we moved here. We eventually found out about Aling Mary‘s where we could get them fresh from the oven, which I remember doing twice. Twice.

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Pan de sal and coffee is akin to butter and bread. Inseparable, and you couldn’t go wrong with that combination.

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As the years went on, I slowly learned how to cook and bake, and eventually baked my own bread. I yearned to make pan de sal. I tried making my own half a decade ago, but they didn’t turn out as well as I’d hoped. At the beginning of this year, I set out to give it another go. After trying many recipes I found, I STILL wasn’t satisfied the least bit. Some tasted like brioche, others were too dry, and they all basically don’t have the right flavor and texture. It was frustrating, there’s no question about that. I experimented a lot. I wasn’t as lucky creating the recipe as I was when I made another Filipino classic, the mocha cake. It took me more than 20 batches of pan de sal and a lot of eating before I was finally happy with it. [Huge thanks to the beau J and the kids for putting up with all the not-so-perfect pan de sal iterations!] Then I’ve had a lot of people outside of family taste it over the course of more than 6 months — both Filipinos and non-Filipinos love them. And then when I thought I arrived at my final recipe, I baked pan de sal almost every week, sometimes even twice a week, because we went through 2 dozen buns so quickly during the school weeks (they make awesome lunch sandwiches).   Continue Reading

Posted in baking, bread, coffee buddy, experiments, featured, Filipino dishes, make-ahead, original Gourmeted recipe, snacks1 Comment

Welcoming the New Year and a Recipe for Banana bread with Pecan Streusel

How is it that we’re more than halfway through January? The three-week stretch before the holidays felt like the longest and slowest marathon of parties, get-togethers, preparation, shopping and errands and then Boom! time moves in lightning speeds.

It was lovely to spend some relaxing time with our loved ones once the flurry of pre-Christmas stuff settled down. The beau’s brother and his girlfriend flew in for the holidays, so it was quite a treat to have the entire family around the table on Christmas Eve. I remember when we were kids, my cousins and I were too eager and impatient for everybody to show up so we could eat then open our gifts. As an adult, one thinks about how to keep the kids preoccupied so we can enjoy each other’s company in peace. On the beau’s side, the girls are old enough that they engage in our conversations–they have very interesting things to say! We don’t have to give them toys and talk over the noise of their toys! Ha. On my side, my nephews are four and five, living and breathing dinosaurs, Transformers and Angry Birds.  They can be really blunt and honest, which make gift-opening around the tree hilarious. You never really know how they’d react or what they would say. Oh, I don’t like that!  [My gifting success average has been great so far when it comes to them. I pick items based on what I would like if I was a kid. Now what does that say about me?] Christmas reminds me of how fun it was to be very young and carefree, but then I’m glad I can sit back and appreciate the comfort of, and being with, family.

Living in a beautiful city–a prime winter destination at that–means getting a chance to repeatedly explore it like tourists whenever friends and family visit. The beau and his brother love skiing so a day trip to Whistler during their short stay was a no-brainer. Vancouver being Vancouver, it did take a bit of wrestling with weather scheduling, but in the end one should just go and prepare for the worst. It wasn’t a great snow day for our skiing companions, but the rest of us who roamed the village and took the leisurely gondola ride between Whistler and Blackcomb didn’t have much to complain about the view and the powder.

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Whistler Mountain, by the Peak To Peak gondola

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View from Blackcomb Mountain

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Posted in baking, bread, brunch, cakes, coffee buddy, dessert, quick & easy2 Comments

Keep Your Heart In Your Bread

Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse to make “hearty” food. Last year I made heart-shaped pizzas. This time I tried a heart-embedded loaf:

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I was anxious to slice the bread after I took it out of the oven, but was quite relieved after seeing the cross section. For a first attempt, it’s not bad at all. It served its cute purpose for breakfast toast and the girls’ school lunches. Of course, I always have the most fun making it.

I’ll give this loaf design another try and post a tutorial for next time. It was a fun exercise in “clay” shaping and thinking in 3D.

Posted in baking, bread, experiments0 Comments

Lemon Curd Rolls

The holidays have come and gone, and so has the beginning of the new year. Yet, you still didn’t hear from me. I’m sorry. Again. I’ve never really thought I’d be away from blogging this much, but it surely followed the theme of my 2011: There’s always a first time for something. I’ll spare you the excuses. I really am trying to get back in shape, at least when it comes to this website.** So a very late happy holidays (I hope it was memorable) and happy new year (of the dragon) to all of you! I hope we’ll pick up where we’ve left off just like old friends.

Just like old chums, here I am again at odds with Mistress Winter. She vacillates between the sublime, the dreary, and anything depressing or wonderfully surprising in between. Yesterday was dreamy, a touch warm for the season, just the kind of day for last minute lunch dates and making any excuse to go out (coffee run!).

Krystal in the sun.

Krystal the Cat shows her appreciation, lolling on the floor. I'd do the same if I were her. Cats do have quite an enviable lifestyle, don't they?

The sun-worshiping cat and I were relishing every bit of this. I worked on the couch, the glass door ajar to let some fresh air in, computer on my lap, kitty on the area rug an arm’s length away. The radio announcer’s voice echoed from the kitchen, reminding us, “Enjoy the last day of sunshine (for the week), folks.” I did catch a glimpse of the sunset as I walked down Burrard street later in the afternoon to get some gelato, the buildings juxtaposed next to the snow-capped mountains from afar. I can’t complain about the view at all. And today we expect rain. Day after day of rain.

For those of you who don’t live in Vancouver (or the Pacific Northwest, really), let me explain by saying that our rains could be overbearing. I like baking in winter specifically to scare the doldrums away. So for the next few days, I’d like to propose baking some lemon curd rolls:

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Here’s a zesty alternative to a favorite comfort food, the cinnamon rolls. Lemon curd squeezed between soft pillows of yeast-based dough and topped with melting lemon curd cream cheese glaze. It’s a welcome treat even if you’re not a lemon curd fan, and perfect for sharing.

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I’ve made these a few times and we always finish it among family members. I suggest on preparing more as they do go fast. The citrus flavors could be deceiving, not too filling, that sticking to one roll might be a challenge.

If you make the lemon curd yourself (recipe below), you’ll have an extra jar to keep. You can top up the glaze with even more curd, or you can keep it for future consumption. I like having emergency lemon curd at hand. Why not?

So here’s the to the rainy days. I’ll be ready for you.

** Twitter, on the other hand, is another story. It’s easier to share what I’ve been up to in delimited semi-comprehensible outbursts. You can easily ping me there.

LEMON CURD ROLLS

he Lemon Curd Rolls recipe was inspired by my friend Tracy’s recipe for Sticky Lemon Rolls, and the Lemon Curd recipe adapted from the website, Earthbound Chronicles. The recipe for the glaze is a Gourmeted original.

Yields: 12 rolls in a 9”x13” glass or ceramic pan

Ingredients

Dough

  • 2 ¼ teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast
  • ¾ cup milk, warm (whole, 2% and 1% are ok to use)
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, soft (mayonnaise-like)
  • 4 ½ cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • ¼ cup white granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • zest of 1 ½ lemons (leave the remaining ½ lemon zest for the filling)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs

Filling

  • ¾ cup white granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ cup lemon curd
  • 3 tablespoons butter, soft
  • zest of ½ lemon

Glaze

  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • ¾ cup (6 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • ¾ cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
  • ½ cup lemon curd** (Recipe included at the end)

Preparation:

1. Prepare the dough with a stand mixer: Place warm milk in the stand mixer bowl and sprinkle with yeast; leave it for 5 minutes. Using the paddle attachment, stir in the butter, sugar, and 1 cup of flour. Add the salt, nutmeg and lemon zest. Stir in the eggs, vanilla and enough of the remaining flour to create a soft and sticky dough. Depending on the humidity of your kitchen, you might only need 4 cups of flour in total. Switch mixing with a dough hook once it more or less comes together as one mass; knead for 5 minutes, or until dough is elastic and pliable. You can test by pressing a finger against the dough and it bounces back quickly.

OR Prepare the dough by hand: Stir all the liquid ingredients and sugar in a large bowl using a wooden spoon. Add a cup of flour at a time and mix. Once it comes together to from one big piece of dough, transfer onto a floured surface. Knead by hand for 5 to 8 minutes. Sprinkle additional flour if the dough gets too sticky.

2. Tuck the dough into one big ball (pinch together at the bottom) and spray or massage with vegetable oil, just enough so the surface doesn’t stick. Turn the dough in the same bowl you used for mixing to grease it. Cover with plastic wrap and towel. Leave to rise in a dry and warm area of your kitchen for an hour. You can also place it in your unheated oven.

3. Prepare the filling: Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl until a thick homogenous paste forms.

4. Form the rolls: Lightly grease a 9”x13” rectangular baking dish with baking spray or butter. Transfer the dough onto a floured surface and pat with your fingertip to spread into a large rectangle, about 10” x 15” in size. Spread the butter evenly on top of the dough, leaving at least half an inch space from the edges. Pour the filling and spread evenly using the back of a spoon. Roll the dough along its length; pinch the end of the dough with the roll (not the sides where you see the spiral pattern) to keep it from popping open. Cut the dough evenly into 12 rolls using a sharp serrated knife or a length of dental floss by wrapping and tightening it around the dough until it cuts through the dough [see photo here]. You can also use a sewing thread if you like. The string method keeps the dough from flattening out during slicing.

5. Place the rolls cut side up in the baking dish in 3 x 4 arrangement. Cover the dish with a kitchen towel and allow to rise for an hour, or until it has doubled in size. [Want to bake them later? Cover the pan with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for up to 24 hours. When you’re ready to bake, remove the pan from the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for an hour before popping in the oven sans plastic wrap.]

6. Bake the rolls: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake the rolls for 35 to 40 minutes, or until slightly golden on top.

7. Prepare the glaze while the rolls are baking in the oven: Whip the cream cheese with a hand beater or a stand mixer with a paddle attachment for about 3 minutes. Add the confectioner’s sugar and mix until smooth before pouring the lemon curd. Beat for a minute, scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula at least once.

8. Glaze the rolls right out of the oven. Spread at least half the glaze on the rolls as soon as you get them out of the oven. Save some for topping up individual servings.

Easy Lemon Curd

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • zest of all the lemons

Preparation:

1. Cream butter and sugar on medium speed in a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and yolks, and mix until combined. Pour lemon juice and mix. Resulting mixture will not be homogenous and will have butter curds – don’t worry.

2. Pour into a heavy bottom pan and cook over medium heat. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon or spatula until it thickens, about 10 to 15 minutes, or until the curd reaches 170°F. Don’t allow it to boil or it will curdle. It is done when it coats the back of the spoon or spatula, and when you wipe it with your finger it will leave a trail. Transfer to clean bowl and set aside. Add confectioner’s sugar and beat until smooth and free of lumps.

3. Transfer into a heatproof glass bowl and cool before using as filling.

Posted in baking, bread, coffee buddy, dessert, snacks7 Comments

Childhood Monkeys and Monkey Bread

Last Sunday afternoon it was all monkey talk among a handful of friends (Lovelylanvin, hungryrabitnyc, eatlivtravwrite, manggy, inuyaki, fujimama & jenjenk — yay #monchichiclub) and I in Twitter.

Oh, I’m sorry, did that sound loony?

We were nostalgic over Monchichi. How could we forget the monkey doll with its soft dark chocolate hair that’s almost pixie-ish around the face — that rubber-plastic cheeky freckled face (what kind of monkey has freckles?), tucked lower lip that fits its right thumb, and those innocent looking eyes begging for you to hold it. This, my friends, is a glimpse of our 80’s childhood.

Monchichi
The Monchichi doll — please, don’t…just don’t say which infamous US politician reminds you of that parted hair.
Photo courtesy of Winscott.com

I’m not even sure how we arrived at that discussion. I sort of jumped right in, just like when somebody (I’m talking about you, CrippleCreekBBQ!) suggested  Monkey Bread when I tweeted about being unsure what to bake. That’s what I love about Twitter. Everything can be so random and yet somehow make sense in the end.

Was it a coincidence my ape-etite (sorry, there I go again!) conceded that it’s about time to bake Monkey Bread? I think it was fate.

According to Wikipedia, this American favorite is also called African coffee cake, pinch-me cake, bubbleloaf and golden crown. I like it as it is, in all its non-ape-etizing glory [I swear, last time]. You and anyone around you, will be reduced to helpless monkey behavior, tearing apart and eating this bread like it’s nobody’s business. I’ll let you sit with that image for a bit.

Or you can turn to this:

"I die." - RZ

Monkey Bread Making begins with dough balls taking a dip in melted butter (for this recipe, it’s dough from scratch), rolling happily in brown sugar mixed with cinnamon, and reaching their final destination in a Bundt pan, piled on top of each other. And then they’re baked until the they rise, puff from side to side, squishing themselves while liquid caramel ooze through and out of crevices of soft pastry bread. The resulting sticky, gooey fortress is inverted onto a plate and allowed to cool down to eating temperatures before serving. I should warn you that it is so easy to get carried away, pulling-apart each piece, and if you sit down alone you can very well finish it alone.

Oh, look, it's me again playing with my food!

My initiation into the world of this fragmented cinnamon pull-apart bread was through Dan’s mom, whose own version is revered in Arizona, often baked only for special occasions, each morsel coveted like prized truffle. You should see how everyone’s eyes light up at the mere mention of it. It’s something you’ll come to know when you try it.

For those who have never seen or tried Moneky Bread, I’ll give you a point of reference
:
if you love cinnamon rolls, then Monkey Bread is  your friend.

But, but! not all Monkey Breads are created equal. Beware.

My 1st in March 2006 with frozen biscuit dough

I made them once before. The photo you see on the right is the actual photo taken in 2006, showing cut-up thawed frozen biscuit dough. Don’t cringe, most of the recipes call for the packaged stuff! If you want to cut down prep time, it is the way to go.

Having ready-made dough as a bread base meant that you have to up your game when it comes to the caramel. I didn’t realize it could be a frustrating task to get the taste right, given just 3 ingredients. I used a recipe I found online and it wasn’t that good. It was okay at best. Disappointed, I then continued to rely on bake-me-downs, a smuggled slice every now and then. [I’m just joking on the smuggled part — it’s not illegal to bring over baked goods like this to Canada.]

The era of MB Fear has ended. Folks, this is my second attempt at baking Monkey Bread in FOUR years. It took a leap of faith in Cook’s Illustrated, even though their recipes have worked for me without fail. I’m not going to lie, I was hesitant. I received tweets (from TwoPeasandPod and MelleCotte) pointing me to blog posts from browneyedbaker and smittenkitchen, which turned out to be adaptations of the C.I. recipe. That made me feel a better.

The yeasted dough from scratch requiring 2 proofing cycles was the the catalyst for ending my fifteen hundred days or so of Monkey Bread Baking Exile.

It sounds like such a long commitment to be in the kitchen when one speaks of dough rising once, twice. I’ll break it down for you: there are two 50 to 60 minutes blocks of time when you can do other things. You won’t regret it

…until you realize it’s gone so fast. Well, that’s not such a bad thing.

It’s worth it.

The Monkey Bread {enter angelic chorus}

It’s really not hard to make, but it takes time. There’s barely any kneading required. Bring your patience and it will be rewarded.

Are you ready?

Get the recipe for this sticky, gooey, sweet cinnamon-coated Monkey Bread

Posted in baking, bread, coffee buddy, dessert, snacks, sweets29 Comments

Dana Treat Scones: Sweet Dreams Are Made of Savory Cheese-Dill

On a gray Saturday morning in Seattle, we huddled around the kitchen island, hands clutching cups of tea and coffee for warmth,  and minds still waking up from restful slumber. The morning lull segued into caffeinated conversation, all of us excited to revel in the food blogging bubble for a weekend. Dana, the admirable hostess that she is, had breakfast treats ready for us house guests: fresh blackberries and Frog Hollow Farm peaches, yogurt, and home baked muffins and savory scones. It was a good morning.

This was two weeks ago.

Wouldn’t you agree that there are things about a vacation that anchor you there? The ebb and flow of time, the scents and sounds, the vibe, the people, and the food and their flavors. Although Seattle had its own charm, with its quaint rows of colorful houses amidst greenery, there is no contest that our weekend there could be easily embodied as a collection of tastes.

Here’s the great thing about memories surrounding food: you can recreate the dishes and be transported back to that moment with

a

single

bi t e.

Or whiff.

Yesterday at the crack of dawn, when it was cold and dreary, just like that weekend morning, I enjoyed a leisurely brunch of scones and tea.  The girls I miss, yes, but I was back in Seattle with them if only for a few nibbles (and Tweets).

Savory Dill-Cheese-Shallots Scones

Savory Dill-Cheese-Shallots Scones

These scones, they’re light and flaky; perfect. The inviting aroma of shallots, dill and baked cheese beckon you to usher a wedge into your mouth. Sinking your teeth into the buttery bread, you can listen to it crumble, morsels rolling down your chin, fingers, and onto your plate, your table. Some might be left at the corner of your mouth, but don’t be too prudent and wipe it, please, only if you must. There will be more. Sip tea, look around you, relax. Come back for more.

You couldn’t even tell I have had scone-o-phobia, can you?  They used to be under my category of, “I’ll Live Even If I Don’t Get To Ever Make Them” having sworn them off because of one too many cardboard-ish (cafe) scones. Opinions change once your friends make them and you’re willing to give it a second chance. The rest is history. And well, my dad should be happier now that I’ve finally made his long-standing request. Hah!

Dana Treats

I got the recipe from Dana, and for me they are Dana Treats even if they were originally Holly Bower‘s (aka Holly B of Holly B’s Bakery in Lopez Island Washington) recipe.

Just so you know, I really had fun with these scones. {grins}

Mmmm...scones

Now get bakin’ and munchin’!

Get the recipe for the Dana Treat Scones (Savory Cheese-Dill)

Posted in baking, bread, breakfast, cheese15 Comments

Banana Walnut Bread

Could we have one too many Banana Bread recipes? Clearly, Laura, who has an entire website/blog dedicated to banana bread would agree with me when I say: NO.

What is it with banana bread that we have hordes of recipes for it? Are all our kitchens swelling with overripe bananas? (Mine is.) Are we predominantly banana eaters? (Or just meaning to eat banana and forgetting about them till they start to get mushy?) Whichever the case for all of you out there, I can pretty much speak for my family and friends that banana bread will always be accepted with wide open hands and mouths.

I know, I know…banana bread is so versatile that it can be adjusted for and with just about anything. Here at Gourmeted, we’ve already given you one that has almond butter and save-till-last cinnamon crumble top and another that is moist, dense and an undeniable indulgence thanks to the butter and cream. This time, I offer you a nice compromise between the two, and then some (nuts).

What’s different with this banana bread? It has vanilla yogurt, most number of bananas among the 3 recipes, and chopped walnuts. It is moist without being too dense, which is an issue for some. There is a good balance of nuts to bread (i.e. not too much) to give it an all around pleasurable bite after bite after bite.  So far, this has all the elements I want in a banana bread. I think I just found my new go-to banana bread recipe!

Banana Walnut Bread

I made it into 3 little loaves that’s the perfect size to give out. I kept one for myself, gave one to my parents and another to my friend and her fiance. If you want some, you’ll have to make it. I’ve none left to share. Haha. Time to get more bananas because I already used up my frozen ones.

Freezing bananas: If you have any overripe bananas and not quite ready to make something out of it, don’t throw it away. Heavens, no. Peel the bananas and place them in ziploc bags before popping in the freezer. Just defrost in the fridge before using, or simply defrost in the microwave for a few seconds.

BANANA WALNUT BREADDownload the PDF recipe

Ingredients (makes 3 small loaves)

•    2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
•    4 very ripe bananas, mashed well (about 2 cups mashed)
•    3/4 cup sugar
•    3/4 cups coarsely chopped walnuts
•    1/3 cup vanilla yogurt
•    2 large eggs, lightly beaten
•    6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
•    1 tsp vanilla extract
•    1/2 tsp salt
•    3/4 tsp baking soda

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line each small loaf pan with parchment paper, one strip lengthwise and another crosswise. If you use one big loaf pan, adjust the baking time accordingly.

2. In a large bowl, mix all dry ingredients together and set aside.

3. In a medium bowl, mix the mashed bananas, yogurt, eggs, butter, and vanilla extract.

4. Fold the banana mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients until just combined. The resulting batter would be thick. Pour into the parchment lined loaf pans.

5. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes if using small loaf pans, and begin to monitor doneness at 40 minutes. For larger pans, time may vary from 50 to 60 minutes. It’s done when the top is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle.

6. Place the pans on a wire rack and let it cool for 10 minutes before sliding the bread out of the pan. Serve immediately or wait to cool before enjoying.

Posted in baking, bread, original Gourmeted recipe18 Comments

I Finally Made Bread and It Didn’t Suck

Hurray!

It’s true, it’s right up there with making a flaky pie crust: I didn’t think I’d ever make it — my own bread. I used to break out in a cold sweat when I thought about it.

While I was in Vancouver a months ago I learned of the book, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day [also popularly referred to ABin5 in Twitter] through Elle. I made a note to myself to buy it when I go back to the US, because I was too busy at the time.

So here I was, got the book, baking stone (well I used a pizza stone), oven thermometer and single edge blades from the hardware store and started baking boulés using the book’s Master Recipe. In fact, I made 8 boules to date. I’m a perfectionist, what can I say? I still have to work on the boules looking like Hershey’s kisses, though. Then I moved on to another recipe: whole wheat bread. The first one in the oven was a disaster because I used the wrong size of pan, so the bread was half loaf, the bad kind — halved horizontally. It looked like a recession bread, haha.

I made another one the following evening using the proportion for two loaves for make up for the larger pan. [Insert angelic chorus…] See:

The hardest part for me with these breads is waiting for the bread to cool down so I can slice it. I waited 1.5 hours to slice this brown babe.

The crust is not hard, but not too soft, either. It’s perfect. The bread has a hint of sweetness from the honey, but you can barely taste it. It is perfect for making sandwiches. I’m completely happy just slathering butter on it. It’s a very filling snack, too. One slice is enough.

I’m so happy. I did it, I did it! I made a loaf bread and it didn’t suck. I fully credit the book, which I think you should get right now if you’re even thinking about trying to make bread. It is no knead bread. You don’t need a stand mixer with a dough hook. The latter is important to me because my Kitchenaid is in Vancouver, hehe. And you know what — and trust me when I say that I can’t believe I’m saying this:

Making bread is easy!

I’m now one of those who join the chorus in praising Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day as THE book that changed my attitude towards baking breads and completely turned me into that Crazy Bread Baking Lady.

This is also our very first entry into any cooking/baking challenge among the food blogging community. It really is hard for me — for us — to join them because of everything going on, including my regular travel. But I’m committing to 3 challenges per month, including Ben‘s Homemade Food Challenge. This month is for Homemade Bread. I think when I saw Ben’s announcement, it was after I baked my first boule, and it couldn’t have been better timed!

Here’s the recipe from the book: Continue Reading

Posted in bread33 Comments

Thess’s Nana’s Banana Bread

It sounds like Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, right? Haha.Here’s the story behind it: I got the recipe from Tita Thess, who got it from her husband, who got it from his co-worker. See how this works? Plagiarecipism! :) This recipe’s been around, alright, but it’s still as fantastic as when it was first discovered. I love that it doesn’t have vegetable oil as I’ve seen in other recipes (and also used in my Almond Butter Banana Bread with Cinnamon Crumble Topping). I don’t know…something about the oil that makes me want to substitute it whenever possible.

So back to the baking…how did it fare? The baked bread is dense, moist, full of the banana taste and the ‘crust’ is the best part! I’m not sure if it was because of the pan, but I had a beautiful even crust all around the bread. The slices look beautiful and the taste definitely lives up to the inviting facade.

I’m so glad I tried Tita Thess’s recipe (I love getting recipes from family and friends!!!). I followed it, including her recommendation to use 2 cups of mashed bananas, and skipped the nuts and raisins. This is a winning recipe with Dan, who does not like bananas, but ended up LOVING the bread.

For the loaf pan, I used the ceramic kind and lined it with two sheets of parchment paper along its length and width. No need to grease it with oil.

I like this method better than spraying it with oil because it makes it so easier and neater to take out the bread once it’s baked.

Look at it! I honestly do not know how I was able to wait overnight before I ate slice after slice…after slice.

This is one bread that would really leave a mark/aroma not only in your kitchen. In fact our apartment smelled of delicious banana bread the entire night and woke us up in the morning.

We still have more than half a loaf to ourselves. I’m going to try warming it up and slathering it with heavenly butter (I love, love, love, butter) for breakfast, then OJ…mmm. Dan and I are driving out to the Desert Botanical Garden to see the Chihuly exhibit so we can pack some up to go, too. Better than store bought. ;-)

I urge you to try it this weekend! Continue Reading

Posted in baking, bread, coffee buddy, dessert, snacks16 Comments