Posts tagged baking

THE Best cornbread

I’ve had a sick kiddo at my house so she’s been requesting soup–and cornbread. (She’s reading over my shoulder right now and said to call this, “The bestestestest ever cornbread.”) Her favorite recipe comes from King Arthur. I’ve tried to tweak the recipe by adding Greek yogurt for part of the milk, drizzling in some honey, adding whole wheat flour. Surprisingly, the basic recipe is best. So for a quick, moist cornbread (that makes for great snacks in packed lunches) try this version.

King Arthur Cornbread

Prep time: 10 minutes + 15 minutes baking

Servings: 8-10 servings


Ingredients:

1 3/4 cup flour

1 cup cornmeal

1/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cup milk

1 egg

1 stick (8 tbsps. butter, melted and cooled)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Combine all of the dry ingredients in one bowl.
  3. In another bowl mix together the milk and egg.
  4. Stir the dry ingredients into the milk mixture just until moistened. Stir in the butter.
  5. Spray a 9″ baking pan (I use my cast iron) and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. Serve warm.
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Whole wheat banana bread

Bananas are a wonder food. They’re packed with potassium, fiber. They help build stronger bones. They’re better than Tums for achy stomaches… I could go on, but you get the idea. I really like bananas, which is why banana bread is an infrequent treat at our house. I eat them before they ever get ripe.

But occasionally I do buy a large bunch so that I’ll have a few leftover for bread. Now I’m a bit picky with my banana bread—I don’t like it overly moist, which makes the crust gooey by day two. I like hearty slices that can stand up to a little slathering of butter. This recipe is a tweak from the America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. It uses yogurt to give the bread just the right smooth consistency. And it’s moist enough that I can substitute half of the regular flour for whole wheat without it becoming too dry. I also toss in some ground flax for an added nutrition boost (and then usually some chocolate chips because you can’t go wrong with bananas and chocolate…I mean, because you want added anti-oxidants).

And instead of a large loaf pan, I bake mine in two smaller pans. My favorite part of the bread is the crust anyway and smaller loaves equal more crusts–and more heels for everyone to argue over.

Ready to break out some bananas?

Recipe

Prep time: 5 minutes

Servings: 2 mini loaves

Ingredients

2 cups flour (I use 1 cup whole wheat, 1 cup all-purpose)

¾ sugar (I use ¼ cup brown, ½ cup white)

¾ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

3 ripe bananas

6 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled

2 eggs

¼ plain yogurt

1 cup chopped walnuts

1 tablespoon ground flax seed (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Coat each pan with baking spray.
  3. Whisk the dry ingredients together in a small bowl.
  4. In a large bowl mash the bananas with a spoon and then use the blender to puree them. Add the melted butter, eggs and yogurt and blend again.
  5. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet. Add in the walnuts.
  6. Gently mix until just moistened.
  7. Add the batter into the two pans.
  8. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until cooked through and golden brown.
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Italian focaccia bread

Have you tried focaccia before? The chewy Italian bread is almost across between a thick pizza crust and a crusty French bread. And it’s dimpled all over the top with indents that act as little pools for olive oil. Mmmmmm.

I’ll admit—good focaccia takes time to craft. You’ll need to create a starter dough, or biga, the night before you plan on making the dough. And the bread will need a couple rounds of rising. But none of the steps are difficult–you just need a little patience. Sure, there’s plenty of recipes with shortcuts, some even call for using pizza dough in place of the spongy focaccia bread, but I promise the effort is worth it.

You’ll want to serve the focaccia hot from the oven. I try to only use half of the bread the first night. And with the leftovers, I make Italian sandwiches the next night using slices of ham, salami, pepperoncini (also called banana peppers), tomato, lettuce and mayo mixed with a little pesto (you could also use Italian salad dressing). See, so at least if you go to all the effort of making focaccia you should have enough for a couple meals—that’s if you family doesn’t dig in and eat it all the first night!

Recipe

*From an old, well-worn copy of Cuisine at Home magazine

Servings: 1 loaf Prep time: 45 minutes + rising (x2) + 20 minutes baking

For Biga:

(Make this the night before)

1 1/2 cups water at room temperature

1 packet instant yeast

1 cup bread flour

For the dough:

2 cups bread flour

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon sugar

2 Tablespoons fresh rosemary needles (opt.)

4-5 Tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt

  1. Whisk the water and yeast together for the biga in a glass or metal bowl.
  2. Add 1 cup flour and whisk until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight (but no more than 16 hours).
  3. Before preparing the dough, bring the biga to room temperature, setting it on the counter for at least one hour. It will be thick and foamy.
  4. Combine the biga and 2 cups flour, 2 teaspoons salt and sugar for the dough in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix on low speed for 1 minute until incorporated.
  5. Transfer dough to a bowl coated with cooking spray. Pull the dough up and over itself until its top is smooth, then coat with spray.
  6. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 11/2 to 2 hours.
  7. Drizzle 3 Tablespoons olive oil in a 9×13 inch baking pan, then use your fingertips to stretch the dough to the corners of the pan.
  8. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until it’s about 1 inch thick, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
  9. Preheat oven to 400.
  10. Top dough with rosemary. Coat your fingers with cooking spray. Make indentions in the dough with your fingertips.
  11. Drizzle dough with 4 to 5 more tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with coarse salt. (I usually only use 2.)
  12. Bake until the top is golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer dough to a cooling rack.
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