Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Freezer Cooking Day: Baking Time

Well, yesterday I set out to bake two items: banana bread and potato bread.

With the banana bread I wanted to use up 5 bananas in my freezer and some yogurt that was about to expire, so I searched All Recipes and found this recipe. I doubled the recipe to make one large loaf and some mini-muffins. I also altered it in several ways, but the loaf fell after it came out of the oven, so I think it still needs more work.

Rich Banana Bread

1/2 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups flour (next time I'll try 2 cups)
1/2 cup yogurt (next time I'll try 1/3 cup)
1/3 cup ground nuts (Trader Joe's nut meal is ideal) or 1/2 cup chopped nuts (OPTIONAL)
2-3 bananas mashed (2 large or 3 smaller)

Mix together oil and sugars, then add eggs and vanilla extract. Mix until combined. Add baking soda and salt to flour, stir, then add the flour mix to your batter. Mix until just combined, then add yogurt, nuts (optional), and mashed bananas.

Pour your batter into a well greased pan. I used baking spray with flour and it came out the pan easily. Bake at 350 for 60 minutes. Check the center for doneness with a toothpick. If the top is brown but the center is still gooey, cover with aluminum foil and bake until toothpick comes out clean. Check every few minutes.

As I said, I doubled this, so I got a 10x5 loaf and 4 dozen mini-muffins. The muffins turned out well. They cook for about 13 minutes per batch. The loaf fell. It's tasty, but very dense. The batter was just too wet, hence my tweaks to the recipe above.

The other baking task for the day was to make yeasted potato bread, one of my husband's favorites. I've not made a successful batch, so I wanted to try a new recipe. I went with this one from King Arthur Flour. Unfortunately I couldn't make the dough until late last night because I ran out of flour and had to make a Jewel run that went poorly (more on that later). The dough rested all night and will rest more while I'm at work today, then I'll put it in the pans when I get home and bake it tonight.

Two lessons learned so far with this recipe:
1. Cube your softened butter, or the mixer blade will slosh yeasty water all over your counter. And while the softened butter looks really weird, it will integrate into your dough eventually.
2. This dough is too much for a 4.5 quart stand mixer to knead. The dough wormed its way up over the top of my dough hook and tried to get into the machinery. If you knead this using a mixer, divide the dough before kneading and knead each piece separately. Then rise each piece separately as well. The recipe makes 3 regular loaves or one large and one medium loaf.

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