Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Whole Wheat Banana Bread: HBinFive

The second bread in the July 1st Healthy Bread in Five Minutes Bread Braid is Whole Wheat Banana Bread. I had a bunch of  overripe bananas in my refrigerator that were almost past their prime so this was good timing.

This particular banana bread is a yeasted banana bread rather than a quick bread. It is made with a combination of white whole wheat flour and all-purpose flour and honey and oil rather than sugar and butter. I've made yeasted banana bread before and wasn't too impressed so I didn't know what to expect with this bread.  I guess I'm just partial to the banana bread that I grew up eating.

You can find the recipe for this whole wheat banana bread on page 200 of the Healthy Bread in Five Minutes book.

I used freshly-milled white whole wheat flour and all-purpose flour. I made the dough the night before I planned to bake the bread and let it sit on the counter for two hours. Then I put the dough in the refrigerator to ferment overnight.

I baked the bread the next day and I'm happy to say that I was pleasantly surprised.  This yeasted banana bread tasted good, especially warm with butter.

Editors note:  This bread tasted really good warm and fresh from the oven.  I tried it a little while later and it was a bit lacking in flavor.  This is probably because I was expecting it to taste more like a banana quick bread.  My son thought it lacked flavor as well and he didn't like the crust.

Having said that, this is a great bread for toasting.  It tastes good with peanut butter which is not something I would normally eat on banana bread.  Who knew?

Thanks for joining me in the bread-baking blog.  Check out BigBlackDog to see all of the breads in the July 1st Bread Braid roundup.

Happy Baking!

About the HBinFive Baking Group

The HBinFive Baking Group, started by Michelle of Big Black Dogs, is baking through all of the breads in the Healthy Bread in Five Minutes book. For more information on the HBinFive baking group, check out BigBlackDog.

Here are some additional bread-making resources:

Monday, 28 June 2010

Rosemary and Pine Nut Focaccia: BBD#31

This month marks the 3rd Anniversary of Bread Baking Day.  Zorra, the creator of BBD, chose the theme Bread with Nuts for this special occasion. 

I chose Rosemary Focaccia with Pine Nuts for BBD#31.  The rosemary aroma is heavenly and the toasted pine nuts give this focaccia an exceptional flavor.  This recipe utilizes a wash made with egg yolk, olive oil and water which gives the bread a beautiful crisp golden brown crust and a delicious crumb on the inside.

Rosemary and Pine Nut Focaccia

Recipe adapted from the Rosemary Focaccia in Cooking Light's 2006 Annual Recipes Cook Book

The rosemary steeps in boiling water so be sure to let the mixture cool to 100 to 110 degrees before adding the yeast.  Otherwise you might kill the yeast.

I used fresh rosemary from my garden. It's really nice to be able to go and pick it whenever I need it.


  • 1 1/4 cups boiling water
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary, divided into teaspoons
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided (I used bread flour)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided into tablespoons
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon seat salt or kosher salt


Combine boiling water, 1 teaspoon rosemary, and honey in a large bowl, cool to 100 to 110 degrees.

Sprinkle yeast over the honey mixture; let stand 5 minutes.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, level with a knife.  Add 3 1/4 cups flour, 2 tablespoons oil, and 1 teaspoon salt to honey mixture, stirring to form a soft dough.

I mixed the dry ingredients together.

Then I added the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients rather than the other way around.

This dough was really easy to mix.  You don't need a mixer.  I used my Danish dough whisk but a wooden spoon would probably work just fine.


Turn dough out onto a floured surface.  Knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.  Add enough of remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hand (dough will feel sticky).

Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top.

Cover and let rise in a warm place (85 degrees), free from drafts, 45 minutes or until doubled in size.

Gently press two fingers into dough.  If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.

Punch dough down.

Pat dough into a 14 x 12-inch rectangle on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.  Cover and let rise 20 minutes or until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Uncover dough. Make indentations in top of dough using handle of a wooden spoon or your fingertips.

Combine 1 tablespoon oil, 1 teaspoon water and egg yolk, brush over dough. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil, sprinkle with 8 teaspoons rosemary and sea salt. I also added pine nuts to give it a nuttier flavor and texture.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until lightly-browned.

Remove from pan, cool on a wire rack. 

Enjoy this Rosemary and Pine Nut Focaccia warm just as it is or with some marinara or a little extra olive oil. It really doesn't need anything else.  I made a meal out of it.

Thanks for visiting The Bread Experience Bread-Baking Blog. I hope you enjoyed your visit and will join me again next time.

Happy Baking!


Be sure to check out all of the fabulous breads in the BBD #31 Roundup.

Bread Baking Day #31 - 3rd  anniversary and giveaways (last day of submission July 1st)

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Whole Wheat Strawberry Bread: HBinFive

The first bread for the July 1st HBinFive Bread Braid, is Whole Wheat Mixed Berry Bread. You can use frozen mixed berries or any kind of frozen berries for this bread.

I had some frozen strawberries left over from my strawberry-picking adventure so I decided to make Strawberry Bread rather than Mixed Berry Bread.

To begin the process, I let the strawberries defrost for a little while. Then cut them up into smaller pieces.

While the strawberries were thawing, I milled some white whole wheat flour using my WonderMill.

It's very durable and can mill up to 6-8 cups of wheat.

This is the freshly-milled white whole wheat flour.

Next, I whisked together all of the dry ingredients (white whole wheat, all-purpose, yeast, salt, and vital wheat gluten).

Then I combined the wet ingredients (water, honey, and berries)

And mixed the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients using my Danish dough whisk.

I had heard from some of the other bakers that their dough was really wet due to the thawed berry juice so I was expecting a very wet dough. However, that was not the case with my dough.  In fact, I had to add a bit more water because the home-milled whole wheat flour soaked up the liquid.

Once the dough was thoroughly mixed, I covered it and let it sit on the counter for 2 hours to rest.

After the dough rested on the counter for 2 hours, I placed it in the refrigerator to ferment overnight.

The next day, I removed the dough from the refrigerator and since it was such a good consistency, I decided to shape it into braids rather than regular loaves.

I divided the dough into 3 balls. Then I divided each ball in half for a total of six balls of dough. I had only made 1/2 batch of dough which was enough for two loaves.

I rolled each ball of dough into a long rope.

Then I placed 3 ropes vertically side-by-side.

And crimped the ends together on one end to secure the braid.

Then I braided the bread using the over and under technique.

Then I tucked the ends of the other side underneath.

Eventhough the dough wasn't extremely wet, it was still sticky so the braid didn't turn out as nicely as I would've liked.  So, I decided to try a different method of braiding for the other braid.

I put the three strips vertically side-by-side, then I started the braid from the middle this time.

And did the over under technique on the bottom half.

Then tucked the ends underneath.

Then I repeated the over and under technique on the other half.

And tucked those ends underneath.

I actually think I like the first braid better.  It seems to be a little more uniform.  It's the one on the right in the photo below:

The braids were looking pretty good now so I covered them with plastic and let them rest for about 1 1/2 hours. I think that was a mistake.  It was really hot and they lost their shape during the rise.

When it was time to bake the loaves, I brushed them with egg wash and sprinkled them with raw sugar.  Then I baked them for about 25 to 30 minutes in a 450 degrees oven on a baking sheet (without the stone).

Once the loaves were baked through, I removed them to the cooling rack to cool before slicing.

Then it was time to it eat.  The egg wash and raw sugar made the outside brown and little bit crusty.  The dough was a beautiful color, but once it was baked, you could hardly tell that there were any strawberries in the dough. It still tasted good though.

I toasted a couple of slices.  I had one with cinnamon and honey cream cheese and the other with homemade Strawberry Lemon Marmalade which was made from the strawberries we picked. Delicious!

Thanks for joining me in the bread-baking blog.  Check out BigBlackDog to see all of the breads in the July 1st Bread Braid roundup. 

Happy Baking!

About the HBinFive Baking Group

The HBinFive Baking Group, started by Michelle of Big Black Dogs, is baking through all of the breads in the Healthy Bread in Five Minutes book. For more information on the HBinFive baking group, check out BigBlackDog.