10 Minute Nanner Loaf

10 Minute Banana LoafThere’s something odd about this. No, not this particular bread but the situation around it. You see, Punkin hates bananas but LUUUVVVVS banana bread. So it’s a rare occasion when I do buy bananas since I know they’re rather disliked. A lot. I’m told it’s the texture and/or the smell. And some excuse about humans having evolved passed them… or something. I’m sure he’s joking. (I think.)  Hey, I can live without bananas if it will keep Punkin happy.

So this week, I decided to pick up some bananas because I just had a hankering. However, I bought five that were, well, riper than I was expecting, I wanted to put them on cereal or in a PB&B sammich but they decided to go brown on me rather soon. No prob! Because there’s a great Banana Bread Recipe online over at the Fresh Loaf. I’ve made it before and, in spite of finding bananas gross, Punkin will eat this bread up like nobody’s business.

I don’t ask. Cause I have even more “I don’t likes” myself (I blame it on my mother’s terrible cooking skills) so it’s a decent trade off from my end. No green peppers on my stuff, no nanners in the house, 99% of the time. And usually when they do make it past the front door, some Nanner Bread comes out of the deal. Like now.

As it’s been a long while since I made it and I’ve never done a Step-By-Step of the process, I figured this was a good time to do so. Go grab the recipe linked above (there’s a “printer friendly” link near the bottom) and follow along. If you happen to have two or three ripe nanners at hand, it’s a seriously quick bread so you could probably mix it up as I go. Seriously, the “10 minute” claim isn’t off the mark (unless you’re also taking photos and need to make the process somewhat presentable. Then it may take 15.

Oh and in case anyone’s wondering, this isn’t part of the BBA Challenge, just a little side trip.

Continue reading “10 Minute Nanner Loaf”

Le Pain Français du #BBA

FrenchBBA-SneakPicBonjour et salut à tous! La recette d’aujourd’hui est un pain français du livre «The Bread Baker’s Apprentice» par le boulanger célèbre, Monsieur Peter Reinhart.

And that’s all the French I’ll force you to suffer through for now. So yes, today is French Bread day in the BBA Challenge and dare I say, “it’s about time!”. Not because the other breads so far have been bad but because I’ve rather been looking forward to this one for a while.

Although my extended stay in Paris was a couple decades back, one of the very best things (although there were many) was being able to get up in the morning, go around the corner this way or down the street a bit that way, and hit a bakery to pick up a still warm fresh baguette, perhaps some almond croissants, then head back to the apartment and consume it with some strawberry jam and crème fraîche (yum!! Rather like Devonshire cream) along with a hot cup of coffee while looking out onto the bustle of Boulevard de Rochechouart.

This experience is simply not doable back here in North America as there aren’t bakeries in almost any neigbourhood and even when there happens to be one, it’s simply not a habit here to get bread for the meal and expect to go out again next time for the next loaf, warm off the shelf. No, we may pick up a loaf at the local grocery store that we don’t expect to get into for hours if not days, the quality simply isn’t the same in these factory-produced breads.

So getting to this particular loaf is giving me hope of getting a little bit of that ‘plaisir’ back, and maybe reliving a little bit of that Paris experience. You can probably tell I haven’t made this yet (I write the blog up halfway while waiting for things to proof or bake) so I don’t know how it will turn out.

Let’s get going and see, non?

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English Muffin Loaf, Peter Reinhart style

bakedLoafAs it looked like we were about to run out of bread (I gave away the remainder of the Focaccia to a neighbour) I decided to give a go at Reinhart’s version of the English Muffins (loaf style) after all to compare  it to the Mike Avery version I made a few days back.

The Bread Baker’s Apprentice recipe has slightly different ingredients; it requires buttermilk where Avery’s uses milk powder, Avery adds a tiny amount of baking soda which Reinhart does not  and of course the most obvious being that Avery’s uses about 2c of sourdough starter vs Reinhart’s 14g of instant yeast, albeit the sourdough version makes two loaves and the BBA makes just one so the Avery version would have an equivalent of about a cup of starter.

Will that still affect the flavour significantly? How do they compare? Let’s go through the process and see…

Continue reading “English Muffin Loaf, Peter Reinhart style”

Stretch and Fold (again)

Stretch & Fold 07

I figured that, since I have these steps already photographed for another entry, mainly the Vermont Sourdough post here, I may as well include them separately as their very own little “Stretch and Fold show and tell” .

More show than tell, mind you.

I hope this helps to show the technique well and let people know that there is an alternative to kneading, if you find that aspect of bread making difficult or tedious. Some people actually like kneading and feel it’s a good mental zone out therapy, they just get in the groove. I like kneading, myself, and some doughs you pretty much have to knead by hand, like bagels, which is usually way too stiff for a mixer to handle.

But this is a really great way to simplify your bread making if you don’t want to get into the heavy push and turn stuff. Even if you like kneading, this is a good technique to have in your bag o’ tricks for those time you’re just not feeling like it.

For a little more info on the ideas around the process and a couple of video clips, see the other page on this blog, Stretch and Fold: you don’t need to knead.

Here it is, step by step:

Continue reading “Stretch and Fold (again)”

Focaccia!

Welcome back, dedicated followers, first timers and anyone else who’s just stumbling on this little blog! Today’s post is going to look at my first time try at Focaccia, The Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge recipe, where a whole whack of people are systematically going through each recipe in Peter Reinhart’s book as a personal challenge and to try out lots of recipes they may not ever have attempted otherwise.

With summer being half over already, we’re now at recipe #13 out of 43 total. Those who are keeping track of such things may note I’ve hopped over a couple of recipes in the list, particularly the last one which was English Muffins. The only reason I skipped that one is that I had a bunch of extra starter (“excess” starter I’d actually been feeding) and I wanted to use it up. I happen to come across Mike Avery’s English Muffin Loaf recipe which uses Sourdough, so I made two loaves of that. Totally didn’t click English Muffins was one of the next Challenges. They were similar, so I’ll just assume my batch counts. You can read that officially non #BBA post here.

Anyway… enough of that, let’s look at Focaccia. This is a very simple bread, based on number of ingredients:

Focaccia1

A short list of ingredients for this one! Continue reading “Focaccia!”