altivo: Gingerbread horse cookie (gingerhorse)
[personal profile] altivo
This may seem irrational gibberish to readers who don't cook. But when it is bitter cold outside and chilly inside, baking bread and simmering soup always seems to make it warmer. Plus you get a good supper from it.

Actually, no soup today. But I did make a new kind of bread. We have many, many shelves full of cookbooks. Most of them have been skimmed more than once, but certainly also most of those recipes have never been prepared here. Triggered by some bananas that were past their prime, I went in search of a yeast bread into which I could put bananas. No difficulty finding many such recipes, but most of them were overly sweetened and had raisins or other fruit added. I was hoping for something lighter and eventually I found it.



Philippine Banana, Brown Sugar, and Aniseed Bread

2 2/3 cups unbleached bread flour
3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. whole aniseed
1 1/2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
3/4 cup mashed ripe banana (about 3 small bananas)
3/4 cup warm water
2 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast (or 1 packet)

Place all ingredients into a 1 1/2 pound (or 2 pound) bread machine and process on basic cycle, medium crust, with preheat if machine has that feature. When done, remove loaf from machine promptly and cool on rack. (I had to add some extra flour during the kneading cycle, but I was expecting that since the bananas were pretty mushy. Always a good idea to watch a bread machine and adjust the dough to the proper consistency early on.)

This turned out really delicious, delicately scented and flavored by the banana and anise, but not overly so. It is good just plain or with butter, and could certainly be used for sandwiches (try tuna) or toast (with a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar or a light spreading with cream cheese or even peanut butter.)

Yield: 1 1/2 pound loaf, about 16 slices

Source: Ethnic Breads by Madge Rosenberg (Harper Collins, 1994.) Author does note that yeast breads have no traditional basis in the Philippines or Asia, and she was merely combining a typical flavor mixture and inserting it into a Western style bread. Whatever, it works for us.


We had the bread with our dinner salads and pronounced it a keeper. I'm eager to see how well it works as toast.

Somewhat colder today than yesterday. I went out to clean stalls and make up hay nets at about 2 pm, and had to interrupt that work after 30 minutes to come in and get warm again. Despite heavy mittens, my fingers were getting frostbitten. The temperature was about 13°F but the wind chill was probably below zero. I made tea and got warm, then went out to finish. That took another 45 minutes or so, plus the time to put the horses into their stalls and give them supper. Came back inside with painful fingertips and ears again, and that time I had switched to leather mittens lined with fleece and had a knit cap on over my ears. Woodstove is going again, after I cleaned out the ashes and got it started. Feels much better now.

Date: 2017-01-10 08:34 am (UTC)
aurifer: (Default)
From: [personal profile] aurifer
Hmm, I do have some yeast somewhere.
Although I'm also partial to the overly sweetened kinds!

Are recipes with whole wheat flour just adding it in there to be healthier, or is that a necessary part of the recipe? Come to think of it, what about the bread flour? I recently got about 20 Kg (44 lbs) of 'all purpose' flour, so I'm focusing on using up more of that.

Date: 2017-01-11 05:39 am (UTC)
aurifer: (Default)
From: [personal profile] aurifer
Thanks, that was plenty helpful! Just knowing that it works roughly similarly if there's enough, at the cost of making it dry, makes a difference. I can plan around that.

I'm known around my circles for baking things here and there, but it's all just baby steps. I experimented with yeast dough, I made my own yogurt and cheese, and lately I've been perfecting that cookie recipe, so there are individual things I'm slowly learning. I'm beginning to see how certain ingredients need to be prepared in the right way beforehand (as opposed to "mix A into B, add C, cook") and how I'd need to alter the recipe if some of that changes. Apparently there's a lot of science in a proper pie crust, too!

The local hackerspace has a book about the scientific aspects of baking, and the couple passages I've read from it seem fun, so I should spend more time with that. I unfortunately don't like cookbooks because they're usually filled with elaborate recipes calling for very specific ingredients I don't have.
(I guess I like knowing how the ingredients interact, so I like doing very basic recipes and then slowly adding onto those.)

Date: 2017-01-13 06:39 am (UTC)
aurifer: (Default)
From: [personal profile] aurifer
Well, by 'elaborate recipes' I mean stuff like adding raisins or using other ingredients I didn't happen to find on sale. I like customizable recipes. When you understand a white sauce, there's no limit to what you can do with it. I think what I'd like is a cookbook that covers all the most basic recipes and the kinds of things you can do with them.

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