Posts Tagged baking n breads

Flax banana nut muffins

A super easy way to use overripe bananas and incorporate a good amount of nutrition to it is to make these banana flax muffins.

You will need:

2 ripe bananas mashed well
1/4 cup of flax seed meal
1/3 cup of vegetable oil
1 egg
3 tbsp of milk
1/2 cup of brown sugar ( or white sugar, adjust according to desired sweetness)
1 tbsp of vanilla extract
1/4 tsp of powdered cinnamon

1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp of baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup of unbleached bread flour
1/2 cup of unbleached whole wheat flour

* To add a little nut flavor, add 1/4 cup of walnuts

1) Mix all the wet ingredients and dry ones separately, and then slowly add the dry ones to the wet ones stirring gently until all the dry ingredients are well incorporated. Finally mix in the walnuts
2) Pour about 1/2 cup of batter to the muffin pans and bake for 25 mins at 350C


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strawberry love

Its the time of the year, where everything you see around you is blooming with life, and you would want to celebrate the change of season in some way or other, even by making a simple strawberry cream-cheese pie.  I got these lovely strawberries intending to make a chocolate strawberry cheese pie, instead got lazy and they turned into lovely strawberry muffins.

You will need two bowls, one to mix the wet items and dry items.

Make it:

Dry Mixture:
* 1 cup of chopped strawberry
* 2 cups of bread flour
* 1.5 tsp of baking powder
* 0.5 tsp of baking soda

Wet Mixture:
* 3/4 cup of sugar
* 1 egg
* 1/3 cup of butter or margarine
* 1 tsp of cinnamon
* 1 tsp of vanilla extract
* 1/2 cup of cream cheese

Mix all the wet ingredients thoroughly until it is fluffy and the mix is opaque and thick.  Mix together the dry items and slowly add the dry mix to the wet ingredients.   Mix gently until all the flour is completely incorporated and finally add the chopped strawberry and fold together.  The mix will be really thick, mostly like a cookie dough.  Preheat the oven to 350C and put the mixture to muffin pans and bake for 25 minutes.  Cool the muffins completely for an hour and serve with jam or butter.

Oh..wondering why there are 2 different kinds of muffins, because the ones on the right, golden browned are the result of an experiment recipe… They are made with the same batter and filling, but put together a bit differently… in case you are interested… First i started off by filling  only 1/2 the muffin cup with batter, then strawberries, and a tsp of the cream-cheese filling ( prepared by whisking together 1/4 cup of with cream cheese + 1/4 cup sugar + vanilla extract) and add a tsp of the filling.  Top it with about 2 tbps of batter and finally decorate with strawberries.  The problem with this recipe is that I could never find whether the muffins were really done,  and they were in the oven for about 40-45 mins, and hence why they got browned a bit more, and the inside was kinda soggy and punctured…. we of course, the cream-cheese filling will not give any stiffness to the muffin, but I was a little disappointed with this batch, hence for the next batch, I mixed in the cream-cheese filling into the muffin mix, and that gave me the pale-yellow golden color yet soft and a consistent texture overall.  I loved the second batch more.

I am not sure whether the results of the first technique is really what I should expect, but the pics look lovely, arent they?

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weekend whole wheat sandwich loaf

Whole Wheat Sandwich loaf – its perfectly the edible homemade bread I have ever baked…. could have been a bit more sweet, but this is awesome in lot of other ways… soft as a teddy bear, it turned out soo soft that its difficult to cut a perfect slice, you can just pinch out a piece of it, brush some jelly over it, and take a sweet bite.

Typically, a whole wheat bread takes about 4 hours from start to finish whether you are using a bread machine or an oven. Well, this one took a bit longer, and because I left it to sit for a few hours after step 1.

Should we call this a sponge?
Step 1) Mix 1 cup of white bread flour + 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour + 1 packet yeast + 2 tbps of sugar  + 1.5 cups of water and mix well, and let it sit for 1 to 3 hrs.   Actually, I left mine about 8 hours.

When you uncover this, you will see a bubbly frothy mixture, mix it gently.  Mine has enough water and hence I didnot add any extra water for the next step.

Make the dough…..

2) Add 1 egg + 1/3 cup of brown sugar + 1/2 tsp of salt + 3 tbps of oil + 1 cup of whole wheat flour + 1 cup of white flour + 1/4 cup of vital wheat gluten and mix everything together until dough does not stick to the sides of the bowl. 

3) After this point, start kneading for at least 10 -15 minutes.  During the kneading, if you need to add more flour, add in amounts of 2-3 tbps at a time and slowly incorporate into the dough.  I alternated between wheat and white flour.

I had to do all the kneading by hand, and the dough gets a bit unmanageable to knead initially (meaning it tears as you turn it, and does not show any signs to become a soft round ball), so I was constantly wetting my hands with oil and continued to knead until it formed a soft ball.  I must have used at least 1/4 cup of oil during the kneading process.  I am going to pay attention to this process and try to reduce the usage of oil next time…
4) Let it rise for 60 minutes, you will see the dough doubled.  Punch down gently and divide the dough into half, shape it into a loaf, and place in the loaf pans.

5) Let it rise for about 60-90 minutes for the second rise, until the loaf reaches the top of the loaf pan or when you push with a finger, the dough springs back quickly.  If the dough does not spring back, then it is ready for baking.   Mine almost tripled in quantity and was about 1 inch high from the pan.

Bake it….

6) Preheat the oven to 350 and bake for 30-35 minutes.

7) If you prefer a softer crust, just  brush a few strands of butter over it and let it cool completely before slicing.  Enjoy it with PB & J….

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