Monday, April 27, 2009

Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread Recipe

“Eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart”

-Ecclesiastes 9:7

Baking bread is sort of a hobby of mine. Having worked in a bakery (the picture is from my brother’s first day on the job with me) and, later, watching the KETC-St. Louis program “Breaking Bread with Father Dominic” (good article about him here), it wasn’t long before I picked it up—in part because it’s also easy and economical. And, who needs a pre-sliced, store-bought, week-old loaf when you can make it yourself and fill your home with the aroma of fresh-baked bread? If only they made car air fresheners with that heavenly bouquet.

Anyway, last night I did a couple loaves: a basic banana bread (wet dough/batter) and an imitation Wonder bread (dry dough/bread machine). The recipe for the latter comes from the Top Secret Recipes cookbook (a disclosure I hope will protect me from a lawsuit should DG rack up as many hits as Pete Rose). But I digress…again.

The Wonder bread was my first try at it and calls for semolina, which looks a bit like fine-ground cornmeal (makes sense, as semolina can sometimes be used as a cornmeal alternative). Yellowish and a little gritty, it’s the same stuff you’ll find in recipes for gnocchi. Nicole said she thinks it might also contain more gluten, making the bread softer in texture. Came out good, but gigantic; I’ve modified the recipe to yield 2 loaves:

1 1/4 C warm water

2 T sugar

2 t salt

1/4 C unsalted butter, melted

4 C white flour

1/4 C semolina

4 1/2 t dry yeast

Add ingredients to bread machine in order listed and select dough cycle. Once dough is complete, separate in half and turn into 2 greased loaf pans, covering each with a bag. Let rise in warm environment for 20-30 minutes or until bread is peeking out above the pans about an inch. Just before placing in a preheated, 350° oven, brush the tops with extra melted butter. Bake for 30 minutes.

Regarding the banana bread…While it’s good on its own, I made the loaf mostly because I had some bananas that were starting to speckle, and because I wanted to try some banana bread French toast, an idea I got from the menu of Butterfield’s Pancake House, which Nicole and I visited on my birthday. Came out good! See below. Too bad the picture’s a little blurry…but you get the idea.

If anyone wants the recipe for banana bread, let me know and I'll share it in my next post. For now, I've gone on long enough (yep, here comes Nicole with the cane to yank me off the stage).

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