Tag Archives: bread

Banana Bread

In honor of back to school, I’ve decided to cook the alphabet.  A little A-Z of recipe goodness.  Today’s post is brought to you by the letter B. Stay tuned for the rest to come.

There aren’t too many recipes I can say are family recipes.  My mother, though I love her dearly, is definitely not known for her cooking.  At least not in a good way.  Simple was the name of the game growing up.  She always made sure we ate well.  Colorful and balanced plates were always achieved.  But creativity and flavor were not always a focus.  When I think back on my mom in the kitchen, I have vivid memories of the few items she did well.  They were the few items she made from scratch and she made them very well and the scents and tastes of those items bring me great joy.

Golden brown goodness.

Banana bread is one of them. Even now when the wafts of warm banana bread fill the kitchen, I’m taken back to cooking with my mom.  Instead of lamenting the ugliness of overripe bananas, mom would dig out the old recipe card, tucked somewhere on the cookbook shelf in the livingroom.  The cookbooks were hidden on the very bottom, left shelf, tucked behind the rocking chair, as they were not used often.  In fact, I can’t remember her actually using any of the books except to hold the tinged old recipe card with the banana bread recipe.

Hot out of the oven

Now I too have a well aged index card that I keep stashed away with the simple recipe for banana bread.  It’s the only recipe I actually keep on an index card, the rest are in a word document.  I have a fondness for pulling it out whenever we end up with overripe bananas.

Dig in.

Banana Bread

2-3 very ripe bananas, mashed

2 cups flour

2 eggs

1 stick butter, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

greased bread pan, I like a simple butter flour combo for this recipe

Bake at 350 for 45-55 min.

Nothing fancy here.  Just mash the bananas and stir in the rest of the ingredients.  Occasionally I will add a little cinnamon for some extra depth of flavor, but it good just as it’s written.  Serve warm with cream cheese or just plain.



Week Recap: Bread

So I kind of got into a bread phase last week and ended making a progression of bread types.  I started with pretty standard recipes just to get my feet under me, but now feel like I am ready to explore and get a little more creative!  Thanks everyone for your comments and encouragement!  It’s always nice to get feedback and I really do appreciate it!


Notable points from the week:

What I’m reading: Gumbo Tales by Sara Roahen.

What I’m thinking about: Recipe ideas for Spring fruits and veggies!

What I’m excited for: Grilling Season!

Teaser for This week’s posts: In the words of my fellow ATLers, the immortal Outkast,

“What’s cooler than being cool?  Ice cold.”


Just loafing…..

I’ve been wanting to make  a loaf of bread for sometime now, but the idea of kneading and kneading dough has really turned me off.  Also, since I am not the most patient person, waiting 12-16 hours for rising doesn’t get me excited. However, with my successful progression through types of bread this week, I figured it was time to try it out.

Hot out of the oven.

Why have I been baking so much bread this week?  Its yummy.  It makes the apartment smell great.  I always have the ingredients on hand and with my poor track record for going to the grocery lately, there are few recipes for which this is true.

Captain Hook.

I started looking for a good basic bread recipe and finally settled on a farmers wheat. Now here is where one of my cooking weaknesses really got me.  I am not good at following recipes.  I tend to loosely follow them, liberally exchange ingredients, and skip steps.  Likewise when I pick out recipes, I often skim or half read them before I decide it’s a go, thus leading to my previously mentioned issues sticking to the recipe.  Same with this one.  I quickly looked at the ingredient list, saw that I had everything, and checked the simplicity of the “day 1” steps and decided to start.

New ingredient addition to the bread progression.

Day 1 is super easy. Combine two types of flour, warm water and yeast in a bowl until smooth.  That’s it.  Then in the interim you can hit the hay, hit the clubs, or head out for a day of work.  I prepped “day 1” right before I went to bed with dreams of having warm bread for breakfast.

Good morning dough!

The next morning I looked at the “day 2” steps and realized that there would be no bread for breakfast.  There are several resting and rising steps in “day 2”, nothing to hard or complicated, it just takes time.  At the start of day 2, warm water, yeast, salt, and molasses are added to the dough and mixed well, followed by the remaining flour. The resulting dough looks like this:

Complete Dough.

I let the dough rise covered at room temperature for 1.5 hours and then it looked like this:

It just keeps growing.

At this point, the dough was divided in half and shaped into ovals and allow to rest covered at room temperature for twenty minutes.

Resting loaves to be.

Afterward, one end of the dough was rolled out, brushed with olive oil, and folded over.  At this point the loaves were set to rest covered at room temperature for 1 hour.

Looks kind of like a envelope or satchel.

After the hour, the dough will have obviously risen again.  Seriously, it just keeps growing.

It's alive!

Now here is the glorious part, the actual baking!  The loaves only need about 30 minutes in the oven, until they looked golden and tasty.  They are really handsome loaves once you’re done.

Just baked.

The loaves turned out great.  The recipe is not technically very difficult, it just takes a long time because of all of the resting and rising.  I managed to find great ways to multitask for each of them (take the dog for a run, clean the kitchen, solve world peace). The bread is quite tasty.  It’s perfect for a sandwich or paired with a nice spread.  I definitely would make it again especially now that I know all of the steps.

Well Rested Wheat Bread

Adapted from this recipe.

Day 1

1 cup wheat flour

1 cup all purpose flour

1/4 tsp yeast

3/4 cup warm water

Combine day one ingredients until smooth.  Cover and leave at room temperature for 12-16 hours.

Day 2

1+1/4 cup warm water

1/2 tsp yeast

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp molasses

2+3/4 cup all purpose flour

Olive oil

Add the warm water to the dough and mix.  Stir in the salt, yeast, and molasses until combined. Slowly add in the flour while continuously mixing the dough.  Once it is all combined, transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and toss once to coat.  Let dough rise for 1.5 hours cover at room temp.  Divide dough into two piece and shape into an oval.  Let rest 20 minutes covered at room temperature. Roll out one end of the dough, lightly baste with olive oil, and fold over.  Let sit an additional 1 hour covered at room temp.  Preheat oven to 400°F and place a cast iron skillet one shelf below the shelf you plan on using for the bread.  Once the oven is hot, place the loaves on a cookie sheet in the oven and add 1 cup of hot water to the cast iron skillet.  This will create a steam effect that creates a good crust on the bread.  Bake for ~30 minutes and cool on wire rack.



Na, Na, Na, Naan

I’m on a bit of a bread kick this week.  Oregano flatbread was a success and the crowd at french lunch gobbled it up.  It’s always nice to see one of your creations enjoyed.  For the next step in my bread progression, I decided to add an ingredient and its a big one in the bread world.


It was a pretty rainy here the other day and there is nothing better than warm soup on a cold, rainy night.  To go with it, I made some naan.  I love naan.  To be honest I love all carbs, but warm bread, the kind that is both soft and slightly crispy, really gets to me.

Stack of rolled naan.

Naan is quick.  No overnight rising steps to worry about.  And the ingredient list is simple.  All stuff that you have in the pantry.  More importantly, it pairs perfectly with stew or soup.

Hand-pinched Naan stack.

To start, mix yeast, sugar, and warm water in a small bowl.  Hot water from the tap should be just fine, no need to heat some up.  Mix the ingredients well and let sit at room temp until a layer of foaminess forms on top.  In a separate bowl, combine flour and salt.  Dig a little well in the middle and add the clarified butter and yeast/sugar/water.  Stir together until dough forms.

Dough, close up and personal.

Lightly grease or oil another bowl.  Transfer dough to greased bowl and turn to coat lightly.  Greasing the bowl and the dough will allow it to rise more evenly and completely.  Let the dough sit at room temp until it doubles in size (~1hour).  It’s the perfect amount of time to prep the rest of dinner, clean up the kitchen, or walk the dog (my multitasking activity of choice).

Dough in a row.

Divide the dough into 6 equal balls.  Now the next step is up to you.  I tried two different methods of flattening the dough, by hand and rolling, and got very different results.  Both were great, but they are different (see pics above and below).

Hand pulled naan (one upside down)

I hand pulled/flattened half of the dough and got a thicker, softer naan that still had a slight crunch to it because of the butter.  I rolled out the other half of the dough paper thin and got a lighter, airier, papery naan.  I liked both and had no trouble eating them.  It just comes down to personal preference.

Thin and light rolled naan.


based on this recipe

1 tsp yeast

1/2 tsp sugar

1/2 cup warm water

1 cup flour, plus extra for rolling out

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup butter, clarified

Mix yeast and sugar.  Add warm water and mix well.  Let stand at room temp for 5-10 minutes (a little foam should form on the surface).  In a large bowl, combine flour and salt.  Create a well in the middle of the mixture and add butter and yeast/sugar/water mixture.  Mix together all ingredients until consistent and smooth dough forms. Dough will be very sticky, but continue mix/knead for an additional 3-5 minutes.  Lightly oil another bowl and add dough.  Turn dough slowly to coat with oil.  Let dough sit at room temperature until it doubles in size (about 1 hour).  Preheat oven to 400°F.  Divide dough into 6 equal balls.  Roll out until very then.  Bake on a lightly greased cookie sheet for 6-8 minutes or until golden brown.