Archive for category Baking Breads

banana oat quick bread (on my new background)

After baking several loaf of banana bread over the past year, I was open to any variation to the basic recipe and I am glad I found this on http://www.weightwatchers.com/food/rcp/RecipePage.aspx?recipeid=50653 and tweaked it a bit to suit the availability of ingredients and the result was delicious.


you will need:

dry:
* 1 1/4 cup bread flour
* 1/2 tsp baking powder
* 1/2 tsp baking soda
* 1/2 tsp salt
* 1/2 cup old-fashioned uncooked oats
* 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder

mix all the dry ingredients and let the flour aerate

wet:
* 2 egg whites and 1 whole egg beaten until fluffy
* 1/2 cup brown sugar (adjust according to desired sweetness; you an always substitute an extra banana for the sugar)
* 1 tsp vanilla extract
* 4 tbsp of oil
* 3 ripe mashed banana

optional:
* chopped walnuts (1/4 cup)

make it:
1) Mix all the wet items and gently combine the dry ingredients into the liquids; once everything is mixed, add the walnuts
2) Pre heat the oven to 350 and butter a loaf pan
3) Pour the batter to the pan and let it bake for 40-45 minutes.

note: If the crust appears to get brown sooner like after the first 20 mins, cover the top with an aluminum foil and reduce the heat to 325. You can bake an additional 10 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let it cool and slice.

Notice anything different with the photo of the bread? yep, I made a new lighter background which is pretty elementary, nothing too fancy.

The camera and lens that I have are fairly decent, but my food photos are not really what I always wanted to look like.  So one step at a time, my first goal was to fix the background, and thanks to all those amazing bloggers who have experimented and shared their techniques online.

you will need:

1) wooden board or sticks (you can either pick up smaller plank bundle and start arranging them whichever way you like).  I personally prefer the planks to be somewhere from 4″ to 5″ wide, so I could avoid gluing a several pieces of wood and fear it falling apart every time I move it.

For this one, I bought a 6 foot by 5.5 inch wide plank that cost about $6.25 and I had it cut into 3 pieces each 2 ft long.

2) wood glue

3) small can of paint of your choice

4) a paint brush or a small paint roller

make it:

1) Start applying glue to the sides of two of the planks, stand them vertically and press one over the other.   Repeat the same for the third one.  Let it dry for at least an hour

2) Set the whole thing flat and start painting. I applied 2 coats and let it dry for 1 hour and this is what I have.

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Spelt Dinner rolls

After a few no so proud attempts of no knead breads, I am back to making rolls using some kneading strength.

Sponge:
Mix 1 cup spelt flour + ½ cup bread flour + ¾ cup water + 1tsp of yeast + 1 tbsp sugar together in a wide bowl, roughly and let it sit at room temperature for 8-12 hours or ever 24 hours.

Final Dough:
When ready to make the final dough, add the sponge + 1 to 1/2 cup of bread flour (adjust)+ ½ cup of whole wheat flour + 2tbps of non-fat milk powder + 4 tbsp of honey + 1 tsp of salt + 5tbps of flax meal + 3 tbsp of butter. Mix everything together until the dough comes together from the sides of the bowl. The water from the sponge was enough, hence I did not add more water. If your sponge does not have enough liquid for the final dough, add milk/water accordingly.

Total flour used: 3 – 3.5 cups (bread + spelt + whole wheat flours)

Note: I did not add any additional yeast to the final dough.

On a floured surface knead the dough for good 5 minutes, let it rest for 2 minutes,, and knead for another for 5-8 minutes until it comes to a soft ball, and place it in a well oiled bowl for first rising.

After 1.5 hours, it would double, punch down, and roll into small balls and placed in a cake pan lined with parchment paper and oiled mildly. Place the rolls about ½ inch apart giving them room to grow, and set it in a warm place for 1 hr or until doubled, and preheat the oven to 350 and bake for 25 – 27 minutes, and once it is done, set it on a rack to cool and run warm butter over the top, to soften the crust.

I just love how much the magic of kneading does to bread, my next goal is to make this recipe as a sandwich loaf. Its chewy and soft all it needs some warm butter smothered over it.

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easy english muffins

Not all days are for bread baking, this week, I am in no mood for doing the whole process. Sometimes I wonder if I prefer homemade bread so much, should I just go and buy a bread machine. But I just bake probably 1 loaf a week, is that enough to buy a bread machine. Another added advantage of owning one is that most of your new recipes would still come out fine, and you can definitely switch to whole wheat and still manage to get a lighter bread. But on the other side, I am afraid that will I lose interest as some people have once you got the equipment and baked a few loafs, and then one sunday morning I would sit and think why did I buy one, with the amount of time I have, I could definitely bake one from scratch. To summarize, I am not ready to make this decision now.

So I turned over to english muffins, which is quite an easy process compared to bread making. This make about 6-8 muffins.


You will need:

1.5 cups of whole wheat flour and 1 cup of AP flour
1.5 tsp of yeast (if you active dry yeast, proof the yeast)
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp of sugar
2 tbsp of butter
3/4 cup of milk

To make it:
1) Mix all the ingredients until the dough leaves the sides of the bowl, and 1 tsp of olive and knead for 2-3 minutes to form to a round smooth dough
2) Let it rise for about 1 hour until double

3) Punch down the dough gently, dust a cutting board with corn meal and flour, and roll out to 1″ thick
4) Using a round cutter, cut to round shapes of about 3″ in diameter
5) Let it rise for about 45 minutes. Mine took about 1 hour
6) Heat up a griddle, and add the muffins and cook each side 4-7 minutes until you see browned spots of the surface
7) If you are unsure whether the muffin was thoroughly cooked, just heat up the oven to 350 and cook the muffins for another 10 mins and let it coo. Slice them with a fork and spread some fresh butter, and the taste will make you fly 🙂

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no-knead pizza….. an inspiration and examination

Inspired from several blogs, I finally bought all the tools needed to make a home-made pizza (at least I think…).
a pizza stone, pizza cutter, cornmeal, and the sauce.. this took sometime for me to figure out walking through the aisles to figure out what is a pizza sauce!! at first I thought, I could find it next to the pasta sauce, no luck there, so I went to sauces/dressings, and no luck either, so I finally bought a small can of Hunt’s tomato sauce (with basil and oregano).. is this the right sauce to use on a pizza? Or there is something really called a pizza sauce?

Lets jump to the recipe now…

For the crust:
* Take out a grapefruit size dough from the no-knead dough (if you have one; after it has risen for at least 2 hours) or make the usual pizza dough. If you are using the no-knead version, it would be wet and soggy, add 1 handful of flour at a time, to knead into a nice soft ball; while kneading I liberally added some olive oil as well
* Let it sit in a well oiled bowl for about 30 mins for a rise

For the toppings:
* 1/2 green peppers finely sliced
* 1 onion sliced lengthwise
* 3 tbsp of the tomato sauce (note: I do not know whether this is the right kind yet)
* 1 cup of mozzarella cheese
* 1/2 tsp of chilli flakes
* 1/4 tsp of garlic salt
* 1/4 tsp of italian seasoning
* 10 cherry tomatoes sliced into 2

Make it:
* If using a cookie sheet, sprinkle liberally some cornmeal and flour to keep the pizza from sticking
* On a well floured surface, roll out the pizza dough to a round shape, add the tomato sauce, followed by evenly spreading 1/2 of the cheese, peppers, onions, tomatoes, chilli flakes, garlic salt and topped with the remaining cheese
* Preheat the oven to 400, and bake it for 20 minutes, until the cheese comes together

Now to the examination part,

* When slicing, I felt the crust below the tomato sauce was kinda soggy
* Or may be I rolled the crust too thin in the middle, unlike the ends
* And since I used a no-knead pizza dough (2 parts AP flour: 1 whole wheat flour: 1/4 bob’s red mill 10 grain cereal), even after so much kneading and adding a whole lot of flour, the dough was not stable enough to slide off the pizza, hence I had to give up the pizza stone and baked it on a cookie sheet
For the next time, I am going to use Bread Flour as suggested here

You are welcome to give me any suggestions to improve my next pizza-making experience!

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the grainy artisan bread

Its been few months that I updated anything in this space, and I am back to baking breads @ home. To keep me motivated, recently i even purchased a pizza stone to bake no knead breads. Well this is the first bread I baked on my new pizza stone. From what I read, they say that the pizza stone gets seasoned by use. So I just started using the first day.

The ingredients for the bread are the basic flour + salt + yeast + water a n d about 1/2 cup of Bob’s Red Mill whole grain cereal and I substituted 1/4 of the flour with whole wheat flour; hence why this one is turned out a bit denser.

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