Sourdough Banana Nut Bread, page 288, August 13, 2015

I will be seeing my cousin, Mandy in a few days, so I gave her the choice of two different sourdough breads; whole wheat sourdough or orange sourdough with cranberries, pecans and golden raisins.  She said they both sounded good, but I later realized I was out of some ingredients for each of those. This one will come as a complete surprise.  (Well, unless she reads this post.)

Ms. Hensperger describes this as a “nice sweet and sour bread with lots of goodies in it.”  She also writes that it is good for PB&J, smoked turkey or black forest ham sandwiches, or just as toast.  I was also thinking this could make a good French toast.

I have been continually feeding my sourdough starter since the loaf I baked the other day, so it was ready to go.

Into the bread machine pan went: 1/2 cup sourdough starter, 1/4 cup water, 1/2 cups sliced ripe bananas, 1 large egg, 2 tablespoons of hazelnut oil, 1 1/4 teaspoon salt, 2 1/2 cups bread flour, 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, 1 tablespoon dry buttermilk powder, 1/2 cup hazelnuts, 3 tablespoons chopped dried figs, 2 tablespoons light brown sugar and 1 3/4 teaspoons SAF yeast.  The machine was set for the 3 hour Basic Bread, Medium Crust cycle.

I know that sometimes sourdoughs take longer to rise, often requiring more time than standard yeast breads.  Because of this, I checked my bread machine manual and discovered that if I check the machine after 2 hours, I have the option of stopping the process to allow for additional rise time.  I can then use the bake only cycle to finish the bread when it has risen enough.  I set an alarm for 1 hour and 50 minutes and will check the bread at that point to see if more rise time is required.

I decided to let it rise a while longer, I gave it another hour and by that time it had risen sufficiently.  I then set the machine to the bake only cycle, which automatically times for 1 hour which is the same as the baking time for the basic bread cycle.

As this is baking, the banana scent is really coming through.  Along with the sourdough aroma, this is really nice.  Through the window on the top of the machine, the crust is smooth, light brown and speckled.

The bread is done.  The crust is a little dark, not burned black or anything, but darker than I am used to for one of my sourdough breads.  This could be from the ingredients, or from the baking.  Either way, it still looks and smells delicious.  I will try and post photos before I wrap it for delivery.  I will also ask Mandy and her husband, Rick to let me know what they think of it.

I just heard back from Mandy:

“The bread is amazing I just had some toasted with butter. I loved it.”

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Banana Sandwich Loaf, page 59, August, 2015

I know you have all been missing me.  I was visiting my mom and while I loved using her bread machine, I hated using her computer so I am going to post all the recipes I made, now.  (By the way, I didn’t think to take my usual photos.)

This first loaf is in the “Daily Breads” chapter of the cookbook.  The author recommends treating this onebananas_2 like a French bread, in that it is best served on the day it is made.  One thing that impressed me about this loaf is that there is no added sweeteners, the sweetness comes from just one banana.

Into the bread machine, I placed 1 cup water, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, 1 ripe banana, cut into chunks, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 3 cups bread flour, 1/4 cup dry buttermilk powder, 1 tablespoon gluten and 2 1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast.

This is a fairly simple, and straightforward recipe, using the medium crust and basic cycle settings.  I imagine that this would be good with nuts added, as well.

This loaf rose nice and high, with a rounded top.  It baked to a lovely golden brown.  The banana smell was very subtle, but it was there.  We tried slices toasted, with peanut butter, and it was delicious.  It was tender and slightly chewy, just the way I like my bread.  I imagine it will make tasty French toast as well.  As this is a loaf I can eat, I left half with my mom and brought the other half home.  It may have been best on the day it was baked, but was quite good on the next day as well.

Banana Oatmeal Bread with Walnuts*, page 444, July 25, 2015

* This recipe actually calls for macadamia nuts, but I am using what I have on hand.  Waste not want not.

I am on a mission, I am trying to get 6 loaves of bread baked this weekend.  I will be going to see family next week and need more guinea pigs taste testers for the loaves I cannot eat myself.  So this will be a largely high fiber baking weekend.

The first loaf is in the Sweet Loaves chapter of the cookbook. I had some bananas that needed to be used up, so this sounded like a good loaf.  The directions state that this is definitely a loaf for toasting, so I will be sure to share that with the recipient.

The ingredients I used went into the bread machine in the following order: 1 cup milk, 2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces, 7/8 cup sliced banana, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 2 cups bread flour, 1 cut whole wheat flour, 2/3 cup rolled oats, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon gluten and 2 1/4 teaspoons SAF yeast.  I set the machine for a medium crust and sweet bread and let it start.  When the machine beeped between Kneads 1 and 2, I added 1/3 cup chopped walnuts.

As the baking began, the smell of banana was quite intense.  As time went on, it either lessened, or I became used to it.  It still smells lovely, but it smells more like a whole wheat bread than a banana bread.  I know most banana breads I have eaten were quick breads which are usually far sweeter, denser and moister than yeast breadsIMG_4357 so I am very curious to see what my taste tester thinks of this.

The loaf didn’t bake up very high, it has a nicely browned, and nubby exterior, a result of the nuts and oats, to be sure.  It feels rather heavy for its size, so that will be something to bear in mind when the tasting results come back.

My sister shared the bread with her co-workers and this is what they had to say;

“Good!  A little dry but I love how dense it is.”

“Good – Would like to taste a bit more banana & is a bit dry.”

“Yummy! Though it’s a little dry, it’s delicious!  Would be great with yogurt.”

So tasty, but dry. All in all, a good result though.