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.
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