Tweaked rich banana bread

I made this banana bread, also to rave reviews from Cassie and Brigittie in particular. I admit it turned out very nicely and super moist. No pics fanciness, but here were my deviations from the recipe, for posterity:

  • I doubled it, so quantities adjusted accordingly.
  • I added enough molasses so that it was like using dark brown sugar.
  • I used two big bananas and two tiny ones which I think are a sweeter species.
  • No walnuts, a tad more vanilla than called for, and my usual pinch of xanthan gum with the dry ingredients.
  • Added about 1.5 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp allspice, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, and 1/4 tsp ground cloves.
  • Didn’t quite have enough sour cream, so I supplemented with about 1/3 cup leftover cognac-spiked vanilla-bean-infused sugar-sweetened whipped cream from Thanksgiving. Shut up; it worked great.
  • I wound up needing to bake mine for at least 10 min. longer than she called for.
  • If I did it over I might experiment with cutting back on the sugar. Didn’t seem like it truly needed it all, esp. with the richness of flavor that my other additions contributed. (No offense, dear anonymous Internet Janet! Your recipe was a badass base for my compulsive experimentation.)

Further bread success

After our Thanksgiving extravaganza, in which Grant made an adorable but short & heavy little loaf of whole wheat bread, we’ve been doing a lot of experimenting with our Zojirushi. After our slightly imperfect Turkey Day attempt, I started doing some research as to what makes for good bread.

We learned that bread flour (or high gluten content or other glutinous binders) would help create a better web with which to trap yeast bubbles, and a faster rising yeast (like Rapid Rise or Perfect Rise varieties) would both help, and that dry milk would help over wet (aka “normal”) milk.

But even though our bread-flour, dry-milk loaf turned out great, I wanted to figure out a way to use up all the whole wheat flour I’d bought, plus I wanted to try out the quicker bread recipes that only take 2 hours instead of 3.5. So I designed a blend of whole wheat and bread flour, and I included about a half teaspoon of xanthan gum in the dry ingredients. And it worked! Check out the loftiest little loaf we’ve managed yet!

Thanksgiving 2010

I decided to host Thanksgiving this year with my mum, hubby and five friends — this would be the first time we cooked for anyone else since our July wedding! Eek! It was a wonderful affair, though — I got to use literally every single wedding/engagement gift we had received, and all the foods turned out delicious (if not perfect). This post is hecka long and detailed, so read on if you’re brave or hungry! Continue reading “Thanksgiving 2010”