Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Banana Bread Dairy Free


I love dairy. I know you all know that by now.

But maybe a little too much, especially in the form of cheese. Is it possible to love cheese too much? And why doesn't it always love me back? Thats just not a good relationship now is it?!

I find that too much milk feels heavy in my stomach, and I tend to feel so full and kinda gross, that I avoid it for a bit.

Sans my everyday coffee. That's a non negotiable for this parent! I have to have a coffee everyday.

Anyway, so im always looking at different ways to make baked goods still taste creamy and delicious, without adding milk.

Well I am loving using nut milks. Almond, cashew, any nut really. They are all delicious! I also find they are sweet, which is perfect as I don't like to add much sugar, if any, to a sweet baked bread or muffin. But as always you can add as much as you want. I find it always depends on the fruit your using on how much sugar to add. But generally I think 1/2 cup brown sugar would be enough.

This is a super easy bread to make. As long as you have a stick blender. Or something like that.

Wet ingredients 
2-3 small ripe bananas, or any sweet fruit apples, pears etc
1/3 cup olive oil
1 cup cashews
1/3 cup water
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda

Dry ingredients
1 cup plain flour
1 cup whole oats
1/2 cup wholemeal flour
1/4 cup quinoa, raw I like the crunch, but you can leave it out
strawberries, as many as you like, roughly chopped
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
handful dark choc cocao chips/nibs

Preheat fan forced oven 170C
Place all the dry ingredients into a large bowl.
Blend the wet ingredients with a stick blender, then pour it into the bowl with the dry. Mix them together really well.
Pour the batter into a lined baking loaf tin. Top with whatever ingredient you like, I like coconut.
Bake for 45 minutes.
Told you it is an easy one!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Fruit and Nut Rye Bread

I heart freshly baked bread. I have always been intoxicated by the smell of freshly baked bread. The whole reason I try to avoid Bourke Street Bakery and similar, when i'm feeling peckish.

The smell of this bread is especially delightful. And fills the house with a wonderfully spicy, sweet orange aroma, that is very difficult to resist indeed! I could not. As soon as it was out, steaming hot, I sliced the end off and stuffed it in my face!

I recently switched to using This Rye Flour and am absolutely in love with it. It have a mild nutty flavour, and I use it in making plain NY No Knead Bread, fruit bread like banana and pear (is this really bread? Can't we all agree to call it cake?, Rye Crackers, and also this fruit and nut bread. Rye flour, has a much denser crumb and texture, so its much more difficult to use, and to make rise. You can adjust the quantity to a 1/4 cup, but I love it like it is. It is surprisingly quite a light loaf, not as heavy as I thought it would be. Perfect for what I wanted to use it for.

You can add as many fruits, nuts and spices as you wish to this bread. I added a rough guide as to what I added to my loaf.

This makes a small loaf, my husband hates fruit loaves, so I don't bother to make them too big. If you want a larger size, I suggest to double the quantities.

Also you don't have to add the butter, but it makes for a softer crumb, delicious. Besides, butter is the food of the Gods, isn't it?

Makes 1 loaf.

1 1/2 cups plain flour
!/3 cup rye flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 heaped teaspoon dry yeast, or 1 packet
zest of 1/2 orange
2 tablespoons currents
1 tablespoon dried cranberries
4-6 medjool dates, sliced the bigger the chunks the better
handful of walnuts, I prefer not roasted for this bread
10-20 roasted unsalted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
25 grams melted butter
pinch salt
3/4 cup warm water

I use my Kitchenaid, with the dough hook attachment for this bread.

Place all of your ingredients, besides the water into the mixing bowl.  Mix for a minute to combine the ingredients first, then slowly add the water. Knead for about 6 minutes on a low speed. You may need to add a tablespoon of either water or flour at this stage depending on the flour your using.

Once the dough is ready, i leave it in the bowl, cover it and set it aside to rise for about 1-2 hours, till double or at least close to it. 1 hour is usually enough.

Turn the dough out and shape it how you like. I just plonk it into a lined loaf pan and kind of shape it into a loaf. I haven't got that much time to fuss, with a toddler at my heels! Then set that aside for about 1 hour to prove. Start preheating your oven to 200C fan forced, in the last 30 minutes.

Bake for about 35-45 minutes depending on your oven and the size of the loaf, for a small 35 minutes should be enough. You can glaze the top with egg before baking to give it a deep rich colour.

I challenge you not to eat it fresh, and steaming out of the oven this smell and tastes that good!

NB Only use this method when you know your yeast is good.

I served this fruit and nut loaf toasted with:

Stewed Apple Spread
1 whole large apple, cut into smallish cubes
1 orange juiced
vanilla to taste
Stew everything for about 15 minutes until quite soft

Fresh strawberries

Cream Cheese Cream

1-2 tablepoons cream cheese softened at room temp
dash cinnamon and vanilla extract
1 tablespoon fresh cream
pinch nutmeg

Served this then topped with coconut syrup, you can substitute with any syrup, and a sprinkle of walnuts. Hope you enjoy!