Choc Banana Bread

A beautiful dense banana loaf studded with choc chips.

*updated Oct 2015*

Choc banana bread - maybe the first time I've made this since 2007. Recipe on the blog.
Choc banana bread – maybe the first time I’ve made this since 2007. Recipe on the blog.

The first time I made this was for a family brunch event. It was still warm from the oven and I had used big, wide, flat chocolate buttons that just oozed as we cut into it. Divine. I’ve also made it with raspberries rather than chocolate.

Nice.
Nice.

Choc Banana Bread
 
A dense sweet delicious banana bread option.
Author:
Ingredients
  • 125g butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup choc chips
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180C and grease a 19x11cm loaf tin
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together until pale (I just do this by hand if the butter is nice and soft)
  3. Add the eggs one at a time
  4. Fold in the bananas, chocolate and vanilla
  5. Add the dry ingredients, be careful not to over mix, just gently turn the flour over into the mix - think of it like a muffin mix
  6. Pour into tin and bake for 1hr 15min

 

Choc banana bread.
Choc banana bread.

Onward.

 

Sourdough

The making of Suse’s sourdough.
A short story.

There is someone in our blogsphere who has a life I crave aspects of – the home with an outlook, the new kitchen, children at a Steiner school, the ability to knit, to name just a few. She makes bread. This is probably the pinnacle anyone can reach in my esteem.

So one day, she generously shared her sourdough recipe with the world. This caught me by surprise as some of her other baking efforts were well, funny looking.

I made the starter. It doesn’t look like hers. But it smells all fermenty and sour.

I followed the recipe. I may have forgotten one of the cups of flour, but am not sure. I (very very stupidly and completely due to total sleep deprivation) started making it after dinner with children everywhere and crying coming from what seemed like every possible orifice of all of them.

So I had to keep adding flour. And more flour. And more.

Due to my kneading insecurities I was leaving that job to the Kitchen Aid. Maybe this was part of the problem – kneading too fast? too long? Who knows. It kept ending up like a very smooth silken goop.

I sort of gave up, knowing it was going to be a leaden mass due to all of this. And then it was really late. So I moved it to the laundry to stop it rising anymore (it was cooler in there) and then faced it the following morning.

I cooked it, but as suspected, it was just a dense dense dense mass. The taste was sensational – a really decent sourdough flavour – and it had a really good crust (I can’t stand sourdough which has a soft crust) and tasted magnificent with salted butter.

Next time I’ll do all the kneading by hand and add a little more salt.

But still the cooking mojo is not quite as it should be. (And you know, when I cook something that doesn’t hit the mark or is not quite right, it affects my mood. Greatly.)

Suse’s Sourdough*

The starter
2 cups tepid water
2 cups bread flour (a good quality all purpose flour with a high protein content)
2 1/2 teaspoons yeast

Mix together in a ceramic or glass bowl with a wooden spoon (do not use metal bowls or implements)
Sit the starter, covered, in a warm location for a week, gently stirring once a day.

When you use some of your starter to make a loaf, you must ‘feed’ the remaining starter with 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of water.
If you don’t use your starter once a week, throw away a cup of it and feed it with fresh flour and water.
It can also be frozen if you are going away on holiday. On your return, thaw it in the fridge, and then when thawed, remove a cupful and feed as usual.

The dough
1/2 cup tepid water
1 cup sourdough starter
2 1/4 cup bread flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp salt
3/4 tbsp yeast

Mix the ingredients together, turn out onto a bench and knead. Return to the bowl and let rise for an hour or until doubled in size.
Punch the dough down and knead gently, pulling all the creases to the bottom.
Place the dough smooth side down into a bowl lined with a floured teatowel.
Cover and stand in a warm location for an hour or until doubled in size.
Turn the bowl onto a greased oven tray and gently remove the teatowel.
Score the top of the loaf with a sharp knife.
Bake on the middle shelf of a hot (210 celsius) oven with a dish of boiling water on the bottom shelf to create steam, for 20 minutes.
Reduce to a moderate (180 celsius) heat and bake for a further 15-20 minutes or until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.

*For the original with glorious pictures, visit Suse here. Suse – if I’ve got any of this wrong, let me know and I’ll amend it!

** UPDATED **
So I know make it following the recipe above and knead it by hand for 9 minutes. It is a wet dough so I just add more flour as required as I knead it. I then give it a light knockback, shape it as I want and let it rise the second time.

For an olive loaf, roughly chop 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives and fold through after you’ve knocked it back.

Bread and Butter Pudding

Well this week has been a ride.

I went for the job I’ve been acting in for the last 7 weeks.

I got down to the final three. I had a second interview. It was between me and someone else.

I didn’t get it.

I could go in to quite a wallow here. You’d all write lovely things and eventually I will get over feeling like a complete and utter loser. Instead, I have decided to share one of my favourites, because happiness is baking.

Bread and butter pudding

  • 10 slices of bread, buttered and cut into triangles – it is divine with left-over/stale croissant (just cut them in half across ways)
  • handful of sultanas – optional (rather lovely if you’ve soaked them in some grand marnier or liqueur before hand)
  • 500ml milk (or cream, it is rather lovely made with cream)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 60g caster sugar
  • brown sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C and butter a baking dish
  2. Layer the bread in a dish and scatter over the sultanas
  3. Mix the milk, eggs, vanilla and caster sugar together then pour over the bread
  4. Let sit for 10 minutes then scatter over some brown sugar, pop in the oven and back for 45 minutes.

Serve with cream, custard, ice cream or all three.