Banana Bread: Fast, Easy and Deeee-licious!

I like banana bread. Or banana cake. Not sure how you tell the difference. But in any case, I went looking for a new recipe (I have blogged a recipe from TheFreshLoaf previously) just to see what was out there and ran across this one from baker and author David Lebovitz that looked pretty darn good. So I gave it a go and really liked it. So I thought I’d share the process for those of you who want a quick, warm-from-the-oven treat. It’s very simple and, I need to point out, really yummy.

Banana Bread,
from David Lebovitz
Makes one 9-inch (23 cm) cake, 12 servings

Be sure to use very ripe bananas: the skins should have black speckles on them and be soft to the touch.

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Mellow Bakers’ first bread bake on it’s way!

It’s Official! Mellow Bakers is launched and we’ve picked our first group bake bread: Hot Cross Buns.

This bread happens to be a seasonal regular for Easter, although these spicy & fruity buns aren’t specifically religious in origin.

We’re baking the recipe from two sources, Bakers choosing between either the Hamelman Bread recipe on page 266 OR it’s online offspring, a variation given by Susan of WildYeastBlog.com, so even those who don’t currently own the book can join in and make the March bread with us.

Mellow Bakers is a bread baking group that’s choosing an easy, relaxed  pace where members can follow along with the main group as we select a recipe from a popular bread book (currently Hamelman’s Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes) and an online recipe which may or may not be similar. This allows people to bake along even if they don’t have the book the group uses.

Registration to the discussion is simple and free and you can hop on and off as your schedule permits and any one can bake a bread at any time and add their own post and/or blog about it even if the bread they pick was done a long time back.

Join us at MellowBakers.com!

Mellow Bakers: group baking at an easy pace

I had mentioned in the last post of the the BBA Challenge, that I wanted to perhaps continue doing a bake-along with others, although not something as “big” again as the entire set of recipes in one book.

So far, a few of the BBA members have said that they might be interested in a similar venture. So I’ve spent the last couple of days working up a bit of space on this site to work as “home base’ for such a group.

I’ve arbitrarily called it Mellow Bakers as this describes a somewhat more relaxed goal for the group.

So what’s the deal?

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Roasted Onion & Asiago Cheese Miche

Here it is, the final bread in Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice and also the last bread in the BBA Challenge which began back in May of 2009. Is it really almost a year ago? Wow. Well, about 43 weeks in all since the idea was to make one bread every week and this is bread #43. Granted, I did NOT make every single recipe, a few were for certain not going to be enjoyed in our household and it was better to skip than to throw away a partially eaten loaf. Still, the bulk of them were done and we’ve found some nice breads as well as a couple of duds we’ll not be getting back to.

None the less, we’re now looking at making another cheesy bread, this time a three day extravaganza, according to the book. Day one: mix the sourdough sponge and allow to proof for 8 hours. The mixing part took about 4 minutes so this isn’t exactly a difficult or time consuming step. The sponge is basically just sourdough starter, water and flour. I made this up very early in the morning and had it proofed 8 hours later that day. Here the recipe says to chill it until tomorrow, then let it sit an hour to warm back up. I decided to skip that chilling part since the dough was going to again chill overnight in the final proof stage so flavour development would still occur while I shaved a day off the full run. Since this is a heavily cheesed and onioned loaf, I don’t think the dough flavour will suffer.

So later that same day, I’ve got my ingredients ready and I’m heading into step two, mixing the dough and bulk proofing.

Day two is supposed to be preparing the roasted onions then mixing the dough and refrigerating overnight. Day three  is finishing the loaf’s toppings, final proofing and baking in the hearth oven.

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Potato, Cheddar & Chives Bread

Here we are at the 42nd recipe in Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice with only one more to go in the BBA Challenge. This is, I’m hoping, a good counterbalance to the previous White Bread that was a bit lackluster and will help to close up the Challenge with a bit of a bang.

This recipe, as well as the next and final one, is a cheese laden bread and looks to have definite character. This is not bread for peanut butter and jam sandwiches – well, maybe it is – but will decidedly want to be paired with more robust spreads and topping such as deli meats or served with a stew.

This is an enriched bread and takes only one day to make, as long as you’ve got your sourdough starter ready. I fed my starter early in the morning and, using the excess, built up the required 300g in one go; it was ready to go in just a couple of hours.

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