Banana Nut Loaf

Everyone has a banana bread recipe that they swear is ‘the best ever’ and it might be true.  However, I have yet to find one as good as this.  It’s simple, moist, tender, and very flavorful.  Until a few years ago I had no idea you could freeze bananas.  I know that sounds weird but once they went over ripe I used to throw them away.  One time my husband stopped me and was shocked at what I was doing.  He explained to me that you use frozen over-ripe bananas to make bread.  I looked at him like he was speaking another language.  Then thanks to the power of Google, I was shocked – he was right!

I had enough to make the bread and I was just ecstatic at how good it was. Really the best result was as simple was freezing the blackened over ripe bananas for future use.  Just add your rapidly-darkening extra bananas to the “banana shelf” in your freezer until you have enough to make a loaf of bread.  As the fruit defrosts, the water crystals that formed during the freeze break down the flesh into a syrupy mush.  You will notice the now defrosted fruit won’t hold its shape but if you snip off one tip you can squeeze it out like toothpaste. It is the ideal texture for the bread and has an intense banana flavor.  It’s so simple!  I really cannot believe it took so long for me to know this.

Now that the cold weather is upon us and I can turn on the oven without getting heat stroke, I had to make some.  It freezes very well and defrosts quickly.  I usually make up a batch and freeze the slices individually or as mini-loafs.  Then as we head out the door to work we grab a slice and by time I get to work to settle in with my coffee it’s defrosted and delicious.  This also saves me tons of money because I don’t have to buy it at Starbucks to go with my coffee.  They own enough of my soul already with their soy vanilla latte’s.  This is one of our regular favorites and easily adapts to a loaf, mini loaves, muffins, so have fun and enjoy!

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Pita Bread

 

I have always wanted to make pita bread, mostly because well I like to bake and I love pita sandwiches.  I read a few different recipes and the ingredients are basically the same.  Just some slight different techniques to cooking.   I tried one batch by brushing it with olive oil, one with nothing, and one brushed with water.   I found the ones that had water brushed on the top prior to baking had the best results with puffing up, and softness.   One thing to take note of is when rolling out, make sure to try and keep thickness evenly distributed.  I had a few that had some thin spots, they didn’t puff up as well or at all.    I made alterations to the recipe based on what I did.

I was in a hurry, no that’s a lie.  I was playing Final Fantasy 13, so I tossed everything in a bread machine on the dough setting so I could beat a boss fight.  Yep, bringing my gamer geek side to my blog.  I am not ashamed.   Back to the food.   Granted using the bread machine helped, but it was a lot easier then I thought it would be to make these.  I was afraid of not having pita pockets but really big chips.  I wrote  the directions with what achieved the best results for me in regards to softness, puffy domes, and ease.  Enjoy.

Basic Pita Bread

  • 1 1/8 cups warm water
  • 3 cups  unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons white sugar
  • 1 Packet (7g) Active Dry Yeast

Place all ingredients in bread pan of your bread machine, select Dough setting and start. When dough has risen long enough, machine will beep.

Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Gently roll and stretch dough into rope form.  With a sharp knife cut it in half.  Cut one of the halves into half, and then cut each of those into half.  Giving you four equal portions.  Repeat with other half of original cut of dough, ending with eight equal portions.

Lightly flour your hands and kneed each portion into smooth ball.  Cover with a tea towel.  Only roll out what you are going to bake 3-4 at a time.  Roll each ball into a 6” circle.  After each is rolled out.  Place on a lightly floured cookie sheet laying flat but not overlapping, cover with a tea towel.  Let rise for 30 minutes.

Preheat you’re oven to 475F.

After 30 minutes, lightly brush the tops of the dough with water, and place in the oven.  Bake for 5-8 minutes, or just until turning slightly golden brown.  Remove from tray and wrap in a damp tea towel to soften.  Once they are soft cut in half with a sharp knife or keep whole.  They can be stored in a ziplock bag in the refrigerator for several days or in the freezer for 1 or 2 months.

Adapted: Allrecipes