29 January 2010

A Weakness

There are few things more comforting and delicious than bread hot from the oven or griddle.  I really can't resist it, whether it be sweet or savory, in the form of a loaf, roll, or disc.  Devouring carbohydrate-laden foods has always been a weakness, making bread no exception in the irresistable temptation department.  Having become much more comfortable with baking my own bread during the last few years, I am constantly consulting my favorite recipes as well as seeking new ones in order to ensure that I have a substantial supply of starchy love on hand.  The past few weeks have been no different.  Have a look at the results of my most recent attempts at bread-making:

Sourdough Banana Bread
I used this recipe from The Fresh Loaf, implementing vegan substitutes where appropriate.  I also replaced the walnuts with ground almonds already on hand and chose to use vanilla extract rather than orange zest.  I loved that this bread both deviated from the usual cinnamon-flavored versions of banana bread and was only slightly sweet.

Pain (French Bread)
Basic French bread recipes are typically quite similar.  I altered it slightly by substituting half of the bread flour with whole wheat flour.

Pizza Bianca
My version of the Roman flatbread used a pizza dough recipe my mother always uses when making regular pizza.  I substituted half of the bread flour with whole wheat flour, and to make the bread slightly sweet, I added two tablespoons of sugar to the dough.  I brushed the rolled disc of dough with some Kenzoil (an herb- and garlic-seasoned olive oil) and sprinkled it with course salt and pepper before baking.  The herb and garlic flavors were hardly detectable in the end result, so next time, I'll use plain, extra virigin olive oil prior to baking, and maybe the flavored oil for dipping.

Sourdough Sticky Buns
I followed this recipe for Sourdough English Muffins (again, using half whole wheat flour and making vegan substitutions), and added 1 tsp baking powder and 1/4 cup of sugar during the kneading process.  [Update 1/31: For my most recent batch, I added 1 tsp vanilla extract at the beginning, and later reduced the amount of sugar to 2 T.  The buns had a nice hint of vanilla and were perfectly sweet.]  For the "sticky" topping, I melted roughly a 1/4 cup of brown sugar, 1 tsp vegan buttery spread, and 1 T almond milk, then poured it into a lightly greased muffin pan.  Toasted pecan pieces went over the caramel.  I divided the dough into 12 pieces and distributed them in the prepared pan.  After a brief rest, the pan went into the oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes.

Sweet Potato Rolls
I threw these together to use up the rest of a huge, roasted sweet potato of which I'd only eaten a fraction.  The rolls were slightly sweet and pillow-soft.  I'm still working on perfecting the recipe.

I baked up some yeast-risen biscuits to go with a hearty bowl of chili for lunch this afternoon, but because I rushed the biscuit-cutting step by using a knife rather than circular cutter, the biscuits turned out a bit ugly (albeit pretty tasty).  They are not as biscuit-like as I'd prefer--they are actually quite fluffy, like a typical, soft yeast roll--so I'll probably try to make them with alterations and hope for better results next time.  The work won't be such a bad thing; it just means more bread for me!

3 comments:

  1. I always bake my own bread and love how I can decide what kind of ingredients and flavours I want to use every time. I love the idea of a sourdough banana bread and those sticky buns look divine!

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  2. Oh my word, SOURDOUGH BANANA BREAD?! That sounds amazing.

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  3. Oh my word, SOURDOUGH BANANA BREAD?! That sounds amazing.

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Thanks for reading! Your comments are always welcome and appreciated. :)