by amvandenhurk | Bread, Dessert, Plant-Based Eating
I can’t tell the difference between this vegan banana bread and the traditional recipe made with dairy butter and eggs. And that makes me happy. Since 2003, I have been making Cooking Light’s Classic Banana Bread. It is seriously good. Basically it is if I have overripe bananas then make banana bread (or nice ice.) It is a family staple.
As dairy and I no longer get along, I wasn’t able to enjoy the banana bread as much as before. I decided I was going to makeover this family favorite to a vegan version. A brave thing to do as family favorite recipes are not to be messed with. I swapped the eggs for flax eggs (1 tablespoon ground flax and 3 tablespoons water mixed together then let gel for 10 minutes). I used Miyoko’s Creamery European Style Cultured Vegan Butter Unsalted which is crafted for baking and coconut milk yogurt. Everything else is the same.
Outside the ingredient swaps, I’ve always used a flavored yogurt usually strawberry. Mainly because that’s what I had in the fridge. Sour cream works well in a pinch. And if I have blueberries, I throw them in as well. They add moisture and a fun color. And it is fresh fruit is that’s good, right? 😉 I always have more overripe bananas than I know what to do with so I load it up with bananas.
Can you tell the difference with this vegan banana bread? Bet you won’t.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sugar
- ¼ cup vegan butter, softened
- 2 flax eggs (2 tablespoons ground flax and 6 tablespoons water mixed together let gel for 10 mins)
- 1 ½ cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 bananas)
- 5 oz container non-dairy yogurt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
- Cooking spray
- 1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
- 2. Prepare loaf pan with cooking stray.
- 3. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups.
- 4. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt, stirring with a whisk or fork.
- 5. Place sugar and vegan butter in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 1 minute).
- 6. Add the flax eggs beating well.
- 7. Add banana, non-dairy yogurt, and vanilla; beat until blended.
- 8. Add flour mixture; beat at low speed just until moist.
- 9. Spoon batter into a loaf pan.
- 10. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted in center comes out clean.
- 11. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pan.
- 12. Cool completely on wire rack.
by amvandenhurk | Bread, Plant-Based Eating, Vegetarian
Dining at a Turkish restaurant, you are usually served a wonderful warm bread called Turkish Pide Bread. It is moist and chewy perfect for hummus and other fresh salads served. My husband grew up eating Turkish Pide Bread in the Netherlands straight from the market stalls. They would eat it with raclette or as they would call it gourmet. We make ours without cheese. It usually is a grilled meat feast where I insist on having a salad and fresh veg to dip in the various sauces. For the past 20 years, when we have gourmet, it would be with French bread. And in the most recent past, I have been making the baguettes with success. My husband mentioned how nice it would be to have the Turkish Pide Bread.
Overcoming Fear of Yeast
I decided to find a recipe and make it. Overcoming my fear of yeast bread making. It was surprisedly very easy. All it is is flour, yeast, salt, water, and Everything Bagel seasoning.
I have been experimenting with proofing my breads. Usually, I leave them out, but I decided to try and making a proofing oven in my oven without a proofing setting. It worked. I turned my oven to the lowest setting which is 170F. When it is ready, I put my dough in a metal bowl with a damp kitchen towel in the oven and shut it off leaving it to do a first proof for an hour or longer. It really works! I’m now making all of my breads this way and have cutdown production time by half. I’m now making my no-knead bread in a day instead of over two days.
Ready to make two loaves of Turkish Pide Bread?
- - 500 grams quality brand of all-purpose flour (or 3.5 cups)
- - 7 grams dried yeast (or 1 teaspoon or 1 packet)
- - teaspoon salt
- -1.5 cups warm water
- - Olive oil to grease bowl for proofing
- - 1 egg yolk
- - 1 tablespoon olive oil
- - As much of Everything Bagel seasoning as you want
- 1. Turn oven onto lowest setting.
- 2. Combine flour, yeast, and salt in mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and add warm water. Use a wooden spoon to mix ingredients then your hands to bring the dough together.
- 3. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface kneading for 15 minutes until it is elastic and smooth.
- 4. Brush the metal bowl with oil then place the dough in the bowl coating it with oil.
- 5. Spray kitchen towel with water making it damp then cover the bowl with it.
- 6. Place bowl in oven and turn oven off letting the dough proof for an hour or until it doubles in size.
- 7. Remove dough.
- 8. Put a baking tray on the middle shelf then preheat oven to 450F/230C.
- 9. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and cut in half then flatten slightly with hands not making it too thin.
- 10. Place pieces on separate parchment paper then stretch into a rectangle.
- 11. Cover with damp cloth for 15 minutes.
- 12. Polk holes in the dough.
- 13. Whisk oil and egg yolk and brush on the pieces then sprinkle with Everything Bagel seasoning.
- 14. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
by amvandenhurk | Bread, Breakfast, Dessert, Holiday
Don’t regift that Panettone or Pandora Breads
Ever since watching the British Bakeoff Master Classes where Paul made the Italian sweet yeast dough, Pandora Bread, I wanted to make it since it looked tasty and lovely. It is a rich bread made with what flour, sugar, butter, and eggs. What has kept me from making with I lacked easy access to the tin star mold. Panettone with the fruit and raisins are common finds, but the plain one was very hard to find.
Right before Christmas, I stopped in RI Job Lots – a store I can not describe – and there was a shelf full of them. I had to buy it. And I couldn’t wait until Christmas to eat it. That night the box was opened and the Pandora was taken out of the bag. We all were looking forward to it. Well there was quite a lot of disappointment. It was dry and had a flavor we couldn’t figure out. Was it alcohol? We didn’t know.
The Pandora, which was quite large, sat on the counter top. I torn clumps of it as I walked by and I wasn’t putting a dent in it. Something had to be done with it, but what?
I made a Mary Berry Christmas Pavlova for a friend on Christmas Eve. It needed six egg whites. I kept the yolks not wanting to waste them. As I put them in the fridge, the thought came to me: bread pudding. I can make bread pudding with them since it takes six egg yolks. While you could toast the bread or batter them for French (or Italian) toast, I like the option for bread pudding better. It is warm and moist with tons of flavor. And it was a hit.
So don’t throw out your Panettone or Pandora or regift it, but instead make bread pudding with it. Tear it apart soaking it in an egg sugar cream mixture and bake. Sprinkle it with powder sugar and, as we say in this house, “Bob’s your uncle.”
Italian Pandora Bread Pudding
- - 6 large egg yolks
- - 2 cups whole milk
- - 1 cup heavy cream
- - 1 cup granulated sugar
- - 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- - 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- - 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- - Pandora Bread, roughly chopped into 1-inch pieces
- - 1/4 – 1/2 cup chopped white chocolate
- - Heat oven to 375° F.
- - Butter or spray a shallow 2-quart baking dish.
- - Whisk together the egg yolks, milk, cream, sugar, vanilla, salt, and nutmeg in a large bowl.
- - Add the bread and chocolate and mix to combine.
- - Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish and bake until set and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean in 40 minutes.
- - Serve warm or at room temperature.
by amvandenhurk | Bread, Plant-Based Eating, Sides, Vegetarian
Easy Summer Panzanella or Italian Bread Salad
Didn’t finish that baguette? And it is stale. Do not throw it out. Make Panzanella or Italian Bread Salad. It is a filling summer side and a way to get rid of some stale baguette. Sounds like a win-win. It is quick, fresh, and simple.
When I say simple, I mean simple. Especially in the summer time when we tend to have fresh tomatoes, onions, basil, peppers, capers, and cucumbers. Toast the bread in olive oil in a frying pan. Add the bread then add a vinaigrette and you are done. That is all.
This is a wonderful side. It goes perfectly with grilled meats and fish. I have to admit until I made this recipe, I had never eaten a bread salad before outside of some croutons on a Caesar Salad.
A lazy summer dining experience could include a table of cold salads to serve. Most are vegetarian and vegan. Nothing more satisfying than a table filled with different types of salads, fruits, cheeses, and bread to call dinner. Especially if you are dining outside as the sun goes down and day turns into night.
I’m working on adding more of this fresh but filling salads and sides to enjoy in the hot weather.Need other salads to fill your table? Look here.
Let’s get preparing Panzanella!
- 3 tablespoons good olive oil
- 1 small French bread or boule, cut into 1-inch cubes (6 cups)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 large ripe tomatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 hothouse cucumber, peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1/2 red onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
- 10-20 large basil leaves, coarsely chopped
- 3 tablespoons capers, drained
- For the vinaigrette
- 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic or squeezable garlic out of a tube
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard or spicy ground mustard
- 3 tablespoons White Wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup good olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1. Make the vinaigrette
- 2. Whisk together the garlic, mustard, vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper.
- 3. Make the bread salad
- 4. Heat the oil in a large saute pan. Add the bread and salt and cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently, for 10 minutes, or until nicely browned. Add more oil as needed.
- 5. In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, yellow pepper, red onion, basil, and capers.
- 6. Add the bread cubes then the vinaigrette tossing to coat.
- 7. Season the bread salad liberally with salt and pepper.
- 8. Serve immediately or let the salad sit for half an hour to allow the flavors to blend before serving.
by amvandenhurk | Bread, Dessert
Got overripe bananas sitting on your countertop? The ones you meant to eat a week ago or maybe longer. Yes, those. While you maybe tempted to put them in the compost or trash bins, do not. Do not waste them, but instead make banana bread. It is a simple quick bread.
Typically, your pantry has all the ingredients for this recipe: butter, sugar, flour, baking soda, salt, vanilla, eggs, and yogurt. I usually use whatever yogurt I have on hand in the fridge. Vanilla, strawberry, blueberry, or raspberry yogurt works nicely with this recipe.
Banana Bread Recipe
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup butter, softened
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 2-3 bananas)
- 4 oz container low-fat yogurt (vanilla, strawberry, blueberry, or raspberry works nicely)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste
- Cooking spray
- Heat oven to 350°.
- Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt, stirring with a fork or whisk.
- Place sugar and butter in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended.
- Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Add banana, yogurt, and vanilla; beat until blended.
- Add flour mixture; beat at low speed just until moist.
- Spoon batter into loaf pan coated with cooking spray, butter, or oil.
- Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
- Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pan.
- Try to cool completely on wire rack.
by amvandenhurk | Bread
Baguette Making Adventures
The French Baguette is iconic. So many wonderful images come mind where I think of baguettes. Mainly of my Paris trip with a dear Belgian friend, Lieve, when we both started working. We drove to Paris from Brugges. Just starting out professionally from school, we weren’t rolling in the dough, so we stayed at the hotel chain, HotelF1 and ate as cheaply as possible. But we were in Paris and that’s all that mattered. Why I remember this in detail? It was the most unique hotel I’d ever been in… the showers and loos were all automated and self-cleaning. My fear was I was going to get stuck in there and go through the sanitizing process. The weather was so hot, we resorted to washing our t-shirts and dresses in the sink every night hanging them to dry anywhere they would fit. In the morning, baguettes and jam were offered as breakfast. They were so good. And we would keep some for later.
Fast forward twenty or so years and my local brewery had a stand for the visiting Alimentaire Wholesome Bread. Franke had delicious baguettes for sale. I got the last one I think. Perfection. Of course, it got me thinking about baguettes. The French bread or baguettes you can get in the grocery stores are rubbish honestly and have no relation to the real ones.
I wanted to make baguettes. Real ones. Like in Paris and what Franke makes. Luck would have it Great British Bake-Off’s Master Class on breads. I would need all the help I could get in making the baguette. And I should have been watching as I made them. They are tricky. I made a few mistakes along the way. My first mistake was not finished the kneading by hand then putting it in a warm place. My house was too cold for the bread dough to raise so after three hours, I had to bring it into the living room and turn the fireplace on then it raised. My second mistake was in the rolling out stage. I did not start in the middle and work outwards. And I need a good surface to roll them out on. Lastly, I need to either make smaller ones or get bigger baking trays.
It was an adventure in baking, but I learned a lot about the process. While my baguettes will not win any beauty contests, they were tasty.
Paul Hollywoods French Baguette Recipe
- olive oil, for greasing
- 500g bread flour, plus extra for dusting
- 10g salt
- 10g fast-action yeast
- 370ml/13fl oz cool water
- Lightly oil a 2¼ litre/4 pint square plastic container with olive oil. (It’s important to use a square tub as it helps shape the dough.)
- Put the flour, salt and yeast into the bowl of a freestanding mixer fitted with a dough hook (don’t put the salt directly on top of the yeast). Add three-quarters of the water and begin mixing on a slow speed. As the dough starts to come together, slowly add the remaining water, then continue to mix on a medium speed for 5-7 minutes, until you have a glossy, elastic dough.
- Tip the dough into the prepared tub. Cover and leave for 1 hour, or until at least doubled in size.
- Dredge a linen couche with flour and lightly dust the work surface with flour.
- Carefully tip the dough onto the work surface. Rather than knocking it back, handle it gently so you can keep as much air in the dough as possible. (This helps to create the irregular, airy texture of a really good baguette.) The dough will be wet to the touch but still lively.
- Divide the dough into 4 pieces. Shape each piece into an oblong by flattening the dough out slightly and folding the sides into the middle. Then roll each up into a sausage – the top should be smooth with the join running along the length of the base. Now, beginning in the middle, roll each sausage with your hands. Don’t force it out by pressing heavily. Concentrate on the backwards and forwards movement and gently use the weight of your arms to roll out the dough to 30cm/12in long.
- Lay a baguette along the edge of the linen couche and pleat the couche up against the edge of the baguette. Place another baguette next to the pleat. Repeat the process until all 4 baguettes are lined up against each other with a pleat between each. Cover the baguettes with a clean tea towel and leave for 1 hour, or until the dough has at least doubled in size and springs back quickly if you prod it lightly with your finger.
- Preheat the oven to 430F and put a roasting tray in the bottom of the oven to heat up.
- When the baguettes are risen, remove them from the couche and dust lightly with flour. Slash each one 4 times along its length on the diagonal, using a razor blade or a very sharp knife. Transfer to a large baking tray.
- Fill the heated roasting tray with hot water, to create steam, and put the bread into the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the baguettes are golden-brown and have a slight sheen. Cool on a wire rack.