Baking #139: Banana Bread

It had been a good few months since the last time I used the oven in the kitchen. I used to bake as often as I could but the novelty had worn off few months ago. I stumbled upon a few new baking blogs recently and they triggered my mood to bake.

After having breakfast with my colleague this morning, I drove to Supa Save to purchase some baking ingredients. I bought a small bunch of Pisang Berangan. I preferred Dole Banana but they looked quite raw to me and I needed ripe ones to bake. So, I bought the local Pisang Berangan.

I love baking but it is the cleaning up which I dislike. My parents love chiffon cakes but I thought maybe I should start with a relatively easy recipe first before returning to chiffon cakes. LOL!

Without further ado, let’s get this blog entry rollin’!

Banana Bread (adapted from Bakeomaniac)

Ingredients:

  • 240g all-purpose flour
  • 150g caster sugar *120g fine textured brown sugar*
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 115g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 160g bananas, mashed
  • 80ml milk *full cream milk*
  • a dash of ground cinnamon *optional*
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted *optional*

Directions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine all-purpose flour, baking soda, salt and ground cinnamon (if using) together. Set aside for later use.
  2. In another mixing bowl, dissolve brown sugar with the melted butter.
  3. Add in eggs, one at a time and whisk to incorporate.
  4. Stir in vanilla extract, mashed bananas and milk.
  5. Sift in flour mixture and add in chopped walnuts or ingredients of your choice. Gently fold in the flour mixture into the wet batter and stop immediately when you see no flour lump in the batter.
  6. Pour batter in a lined or greased 9×5 loaf pan and bake in a preheated oven of 180 degree Celsius for 50 to 55 minutes or until an inserted cake tester comes out clean.
  7. Transfer the cake to cool completely on a cooling rack before slicing.

This was how my Banana Bread looked on the inside when sliced. You don’t often see walnuts in my baking so I find toasting them a hassle. LOL! However, I used my Mayer airFryer to toast them this morning and I found it easier than using the oven.

I had never added ground cinnamon in my Banana Bread before as my parents did not fancy the taste of cinnamon as much as I did. Despite ground cinnamon had been added, the taste was non existent. The purpose of adding it was to bring out the banana flavor. It was like adding coffee into chocolate.

The Banana Bread tasted sweet but it was due to the local Pisang Berangan which I used for the recipe. I would consider further reducing the sugar to 80g next time. Another adjustment I would make next time round is the ground cinnamon. Maybe two more dashes?

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Baking #138: Champion Sweet Potato Bread

I just had my first coffee after banning myself from having it for more than a month. I had been craving for coffee lately and I finally caved in today. I made myself a cup of 3 in 1 instant coffee and it felt so good the moment I took the first sip. It felt as if I was reborn. I know, exaggerating much. LOL!

Anyways, I made Champion Sweet Potato Bread yesterday evening after coming home from work. I intended to use purple sweet potato as that was what the original called for but I could not find any decent one. The readily available ones were not good enough to be consumed. So, I made do with orange sweet potatoes.

Unfortunately, this bread was not as successful as compared to the Japanese Shokupan Condensed Milk Sandwich Bread which I baked the other day. The dough was hard to manage after it went through first stage proofing. They stick onto my hands badly and I had to use loads of bread flour to get them off my hands. By the end of the day, the bread was rather dense due to the excessive usage of bread flour.

Champion Sweet Potato Bread (adapted from LY’s Kitchen Ventures)

If I were to bake this again, I would save all the hassles and bake the entire bread with the bread machine rather than oven bake. It saves time and frustration dealing with the sticky dough. LOL! Mom claimed that I should have reduced the liquid as mashed sweet potato itself was rather wet despite not as wet as mashed pumpkins.

Ingredients:

  • 198g milk
  • 200g sweet potato, steamed and mashed into puree form
  • 24g sugar *raw sugar*
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 15g butter
  • 300g bread flour
  • 1 tsp instant yeast

Directions:

  1. Measure all ingredients in advance with measuring cups and spoons.
  2. Remove bread pan from bread machine and install collapsible paddle.
  3. Pour in ingredients in the following sequence – milk, sweet potato puree, sugar, salt, bread flour and instant yeast.
  4. Wipe spillage outside the bread pan, if any.
  5. Return bread pan into the bread machine and close the lid.
  6. Choose setting (Pasta Dough) and press START. Once the kneading cycle for Pasta Dough has completed, reset the machine to setting (Dough) and press START.
  7. Wait for the bread machine to finish all cycles before removing the dough from the bread machine after it was done with first stage proofing.
  8. Divide the dough into three or four equal pieces, shape them into balls and let them rest for at least 10 minutes.
  9. Using a slightly floured rolling pin, flatten the dough and roll them into log shape. Place the rolled dough with the seams facing down into a slightly greased Pullman tin and leave them in a warm place for second stage proofing until it reaches about 90% height of the Pullman tin.
  10. Cover the Pullman tin with the lid (slightly greased) and bake in a preheated oven of 200 degree Celsius for 40 minutes or until the bread is thoroughly baked.
  11. Remove bread from the Pullman tin immediately and leave to cool on a cooling rack before slicing.

The bread was rock hard when freshly out from the oven but turn softer the next morning. Texture wise, I think it turned dense due to the excessive dusting of bread flour to make the dough more manageable while shaping.

Despite the slightly denser texture, I liked what I am having. Taste wise, it was not as sweet as I anticipated it to be. I think the addition of one teaspoon of salt balanced out the sweetness.

Baking #137: Japanese Shokupan Condensed Milk Sandwich Bread

Decided to draft this blog entry first before heading out as I am still waiting for this bread to cool down before slicing so that parents can have sandwich bread during tea time later in the afternoon. The gang – San Diann, Clara, Shew Hiang and I are meeting for dinner tonight at Verve Caffe for their Sungkai buffet.

Anyways, I found out about this recipe of Japanese Shokupan Condensed Milk Sandwich Bread from my Facebook feeds and I was intrigued to try due to the simplicity of the ingredients required. However, the original recipe was made for two loaves and I only had one Pullman tin at home. So, I halved the recipe.

Japanese Shokupan Condensed Milk Sandwich Bread (adapted from Bake for Happy Kids)

Ingredients:

  • 238g full cream milk
  • 40g condensed milk
  • 25g unsalted butter *22g*
  • 4g salt
  • 325g bread flour
  • 1 tsp instant yeast

Directions:

  1. Measure all ingredients in advance with measuring cups and spoons.
  2. Remove bread pan from bread machine and install collapsible paddle.
  3. Pour in ingredients in the following sequence – milk, condensed milk, butter, salt, bread flour and instant yeast.
  4. Wipe spillage outside the bread pan, if any.
  5. Return bread pan into the bread machine and close the lid.
  6. Choose setting (Dough) and press START.
  7. Wait for the bread machine to finish all cycles before removing the dough from the bread machine after it was done with first stage proofing.
  8. Divide the dough into three equal pieces, shape them into balls and let them rest for at least 10 minutes.
  9. Using a slightly floured rolling pin, flatten the dough and roll them into log shape. Place three rolled dough with the seams facing down into a slightly greased Pullman tin and leave them in a warm place for second stage proofing until it reaches about 95% height of the Pullman tin.
  10. Cover the Pullman tin with the lid (slightly greased) and bake in a preheated oven of 180 degree Celsius for 25 minutes or until the bread is thoroughly baked.
  11. Remove bread from the Pullman tin immediately and leave to cool on a cooling rack before slicing.

I tried slicing the bread when it was still slightly warm and it was almost impossible as the bread was unable to hold the shape properly. So, I left it to cool completely until I came home after dinner. Thank goodness I managed to slice them quite evenly.

Mom mentioned that the bread had a strong scent of condensed milk. Dad said it had tearing streaky effect. LOL! Texture wise, it was extremely soft and taste great that you could eat it plain without any spread or filling.

All in all, I am satisfied with my bake this time round despite the dough was slightly hard to manage when I was trying to shape them for resting.

Baking #136: Double Chocolate Bread Loaf

It was Sister’s last day at home yesterday before returning to Shanghai this morning. She was thinking of baking a Matcha Bread Loaf with the Matcha powder that I brought home from my Tokyo holiday last September. I told her not to as the flavor might be compromised as it is not the authentic Matcha powder but rather instant Matcha powder to make instant Matcha Latte.

And off we went to LeApple Bakery & Mart to buy Matcha powder and Sister mentioned about baking Chocolate Bread Loaf with the Valrhona cocoa powder which she bought from Shanghai for me. So, I baked a loaf of Double Chocolate Bread Loaf with the Valrhona cocoa powder and some ground cinnamon powder.

Double Chocolate Bread Loaf (adapted from Nasi Lemak Lover)

I searched online for recipes for Chocolate Bread Loaf. However, most of the recipes which I came across require water roux, overnight sponge dough or gelatinized dough. I prefer a straight dough method as it is easier and time saving. Light bulb moment suddenly struck me and I thought why not use the Double Chocolate Hot Cross Buns recipe by Nasi Lemak Lover? It is the perfect recipe for me as no water roux or whatsover is required.

Ingredients: 

  • 240g fresh milk *full cream milk, cold*
  • 25g unsalted butter
  • 40g caster sugar *raw sugar*
  • 1/2 tsp fine salt
  • 350g bread flour
  • 20g cocoa powder *Valrhona cocoa powder*
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon powder, optional
  • 1 tsp instant yeast
  • 40g chocolate chips *Hershey’s semi-sweet chocolate chips*

Directions:

  1. Measure all ingredients in advance with measuring cups and spoons.
  2. Remove bread pan from bread machine and install collapsible paddle.
  3. Pour in ingredients in the following sequence – milk, butter, sugar, salt, bread flour, cocoa powder, ground cinnamon powder and instant yeast.
  4. Wipe spillage outside the bread pan, if any.
  5. Return bread pan into the bread machine and close the lid.
  6. Choose setting (Basic – Normal) and press START.
  7. Add in chocolate chips when the machine beeps before the end of kneading cycle.
  8. Wait for bread machine to finish all cycles before removing the bread pan from the bread machine.
  9. Leave bread loaf to cool on a cooling rack prior to slicing.

The bread turned out beautifully and it smelled chocolate-y. If you are not a fan of ground cinnamon like I do, fret not. Despite there was ground cinnamon powder in the recipe, the taste was pretty subtle.

The purpose of ground cinnamon powder is to bring out the flavor of the cocoa powder. Unfortunately, the chocolate chips melted under the heat. However, the chocolate chips stayed in shape when I used them for cakes.

This recipe is definitely a keeper for me when I am craving for a chocolate bread. However, I think I would consider increasing the amount of ground cinnamon powder next time.

Baking #135: Charcoal Bread Loaf

Sister came home from Shanghai and brought with her my Taobao hauls. One of them was the baking charcoal powder which I could not find here in Brunei. The first thing which I did after ransacking through her luggage finding my hauls was to bake a bread loaf using the said powder. All I need to do is to dump in all the ingredients required into the baking pan and let the bread machine works it’s magic!

The three of us, excluding Dad went out for grocery shopping and desserts after dinner. By the time we got home, the bread loaf was already baking inside the bread machine with 15 minutes of baking time left. It rose beautifully with a dome shaped top. Despite the dark shade from the charcoal powder, the bread did not come out with a burnt dark shade. Thank goodness! It was slightly brownish in color though.

Without further ado, let’s me show you how my Charcoal Bread Loaf turned out to be!

Charcoal Bread Loaf (adapted from Baking Mom)

Ingredients:

  • 150g water *Dutch Lady full cream milk, cold from fridge*
  • 42g unsalted butter, cold
  • 30g egg
  • 42g sugar *raw sugar*
  • 4.5g salt *roughly 1/2 tsp*
  • 300g bread flour
  • 2 tsp charcoal powder
  • 18g milk powder *Fernleaf full cream milk powder*
  • 4.5g instant yeast

Directions:

  1. Measure all ingredients in advance with measuring cups and spoons.
  2. Remove bread pan from bread machine and install collapsible paddle.
  3. Pour in ingredients in the following sequence – milk, butter, egg, sugar, salt, bread flour, charcoal powder, milk powder and instant yeast.
  4. Wipe spillage outside the bread pan, if any.
  5. Return bread pan into the bread machine and close the lid.
  6. Choose setting (Basic – Normal) and press START.
  7. Wait for bread machine to finish all cycles before removing the bread pan from the bread machine.
  8. Leave bread loaf to cool on a cooling rack prior to slicing.

The reason for the uneven coloring on the bread loaf was probably due to uneven mixing. I hand whisked the bread flour and charcoal powder together fearing that they will not combine well during the kneading process. It turned out that my concern was rather unnecessary as the outcome was the same even with hand whisking.

Apart from the uneven coloring, this was a good loaf of bread. It was soft and fluffy. I had it with a sunny side up this morning and it was great. It did not taste any different than your regular white bread despite there was charcoal powder in it. If you are worrying that there will be charcoal taste or what not, I can assure you that there is none. LOL!

If you do have charcoal powder sitting in your kitchen, do try this recipe.