Sunday, June 24, 2007

Banana Bread!

I realized today that there is a BIG difference between plain flour and bread flour. I dont know how to explain it-I wikipedia-ed it and found out it has something to do with the gluten/starch composition in the flour.

From now on when I make cakes, I will be sure to use proper cake flour as well. No wonder sometimes my recipes really dont turn out the way they are supposed to. The catalyst to my enlightenment was due to the amazing-ness that is the Japanese language. The noun for cake flour and plain flour, and bread flour are ALL DIFFERENT WORDS COMPLETELY. Brilliant, say. 上新粉、薄力粉、強力粉。

Anyway, using real bread flour, I made Banana Bread. This time I played the recipe TOTALLY by ear. My dad is in danger of developing Type II Diabetes, so I wanted something with less sugar, yet fluffy....

P.S-yes, this is another creation made in your single-person-friendly RICE COOKER!! Wahoo!!!

10g dry yeast
180ml luke-warm water
100ml milk
1 egg
20g sugar
20g margarine
400g BREAD flour :)
1pinch baking soda
1pinch baking powder (I dont know if those two things make a difference, but I threw em in anyway.)
1 pinch salt
1 teaspoon honey (just for a good measure)
3 "Dashes" (1 teaspoon?) Vanilla Essence. (Vanilla Essence comes out in little "nipple" drop bottles in Japan..not in small bottles with normal openings.)
3-4 bananas. Mashed. If they are hard to mash, pop em in the microwave for two minutes, add some (a teaspoon) of sugar, and they'll be mash-able. (Therefore you dont have to wait till they're ripe!)

Optional: A handful of walnuts. Whole, or broken up, your choice!

How To:...
1) Dissolve the dry yeast in 180ml lukewarm water, and let it hang out for awhile
2) Dump all the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda/powder, and sugar) into rice cooker bowl.
3) Mix #1 and #2 and KNEAD like your life depended on it. (or until it looks nice and fun!)
4) Knead in the margarine and the honey.
5) Let bread rise for 45 minutes. Or turn the rice cooker on to "keep warm" for 5 minutes, turn off, and let bread rise for 20 minutes. (If you have the "keep warm" function on your rice cooker, GREAT!!)

(looks kinda gross when it hasn't risen yet...)

6) While you're waiting, go watch an episode of "Everybody Hates Chris" or "CSI" or "Grey's Anatomy...." or something like that.

7) Also, mix the egg with the mashed bananas while you're at it.
8) Done? Knead the bananas into the dough. (Add Walnuts if you want them!)

9) Throw the dough back into the rice cooker, press "Keep warm" for 10 minutes, turn off, and let it rise this time for 2-3 hours. (Depends on how fluffy/ bread-y/dense you want your bread to be. If you want it to be very dense, maybe 1.5 hours of raising is better.)

*****If you want your bread to be more dense, knead the egg and banana mixture BEFORE you let the bread rise the first time around, and let it rise for an hour. Skip procedure 8 and 9.

10) Bake in the rice cooker for one cycle, turn it over, and bake for another cycle (Or until you can poke a fork/toothpick/chopstick in it, and it comes out clean!) I baked it both sides, cuz I wanted both sides to be browned :)


After the bread rose for the second time, I added whole walnuts just to the top of the bread. I have crushed walnuts mixed into the dough, which I put in TOGETHER with the mashed bananas.

Yup. Its the second day and my dad already ate half.

He's a bread connoiseur, so I guess its a good sign!


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