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Posts Tagged ‘loaf’

It’s not all cake in the Vicarage. There’s bread too. Last week I made my first couple of loaves of sourdough.

I’ve been making my own bread on and off ever since we lived in Singapore and the only bread to buy was either ridiculously sweet chewy sliced rubber stuff or tastier but eyewateringly expensive. I started with a bread machine that broke from overuse and since then I’ve generally used my Kenwood mixer to make the dough. I very often make dough for pizza at home or for breadsticks for our weekly Cake and Chat community coffee morning. Although, after watching The Great British Bakeoff the other week, I think I may be making the sticks all wrong – they’re doughy rather than snappy. Still tasty though. I hardly ever make a proper loaf.

I’ve been thinking about sourdough for a while. It’s the bread of geeks, as you’ll see if you google it, made without any added yeast but a starter made from flour and water which is left to brew its natural yeasts. And then I was reading the side of my flour bag (I suffer from acute narrative hunger and need to read everything – one reason why the internet is so bad for me) and there it was – a sourdough starter recipe. So I consulted Annalise Barbieri’s lovely blog because I knew she made sourdough and also some recipes I found online. And then I gave it a go.

The flour and water concoction magically became my starter over the course of a week and a very sticky dough became my first loaf.  Although it spread out rather alarmingly, it came out of the oven with a lovely crust and proper airy texture. The second loaf was less airy but less spread too. I’m finding it a fun way to make bread, especially since the recipe I’m using doesn’t involve much kneading, just a brief punch a few times over the course of a morning. It also keeps really well, although there’s not much been kept. Sourdough has a low GI and is easier to digest than bread made with added yeast. And a loaf cost less than 50p to make. Brilliant.

A couple of days after starting my starter, I discovered that it’s Sourdough September. So I seem to have timed it quite well. Anyway, I’ve just pulled a new loaf out of the oven and I’m going to call a friend now and invite her over for coffee and a slice of bread.

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Wednesdays is my baking day and since the recipe for lemonies seemed to go down pretty well the other week, today I’m going to share another Vicarage favourite bake. I’ve adapted the recipe from one in an Aussie cookbook sent to me by my oldest friend, who now lives in Sydney.

Wildwoman is a big foodie and thought I should would enjoy Bill’s food, which I did, very much. This cake has become a staple in our house, where we always seem to have some overripe bananas attracting fruit flies in the corner of the kitchen.

If you have a kitchen mixer, like a Kenwood chef, this is extra easy, but it should be just as simple with an electric mixer, or even to do by hand. Both versions are great. The pecans seem to almost caramelise as they bake, so I think it’s my favourite. But there’s also something about chocolate and bananas…

Choc Chip or Pecan Banana Loaf

Ingredients

250g/8oz self raising flour
250g/8oz caster sugar
125g/4oz soft margarine
4 ripe bananas
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
150-200g/4-6oz chocolate chips or 100-150g/3-5oz chopped pecans

Plop everything in your mixer, or a bowl, and mix together. The batter doesn’t need to look too smooth – mine always look pretty lumpy. If your bananas are not very ripe at all, you should probably mush them up separately with a fork first. Then pop the mix into a lined (I use a nifty pre-cut reusable silicone liner) 2lb loaf tin.

Bake for 1hr-1hr15mins in your oven at 180ºC (Gas 4, Fan 170ºC). When it’s done, it will be firm to the touch and a skewer should come out pretty clean. Leave it to cool in the tin. This cake keeps really well, if you can manage not to eat it.

Here’s last week’s Pecan Banana loaf, which was popular with both the family and the gang at Cake and Chat.

I really hope you're not here for the quality of the photography

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