Tag: whole grain

Sourdough Pita Bread

I’ve been keeping a pet in the refrigerator these days..my sourdough starter. This starter was given to me by my mom, and it’s been alive and kicking for over 2 years now. The starter I made way back when, turned pink for Valentine’s Day, and hence that one was no more.

If there’s anything you can do to keep your baking self-sustaining, it is to grow make some sourdough starter. This method is great- I’ve used it twice with 100% success! I’m no sourdough starter expert; just a novice user who remembers to feed her starter once in a while.

I bought a grain mill last year and I love it! I buy wheat berries and mill turns them into flour for me. Anyway, as I started to bake with whole wheat flour, I realized that some whole wheat bread recipes, even good ones, got kind of crumbly, flaky, and fall apart-y if they weren’t eaten right away. It seemed like most recipes for 100% whole wheat flour require a decent amount of fat, sugar, or both, to help keep the bread soft. I googled and researched a bunch on the internet, read articles, and either from some articles or as a result of reading, got this theory..Whole wheat grains existed long ago, when there was no way to separate the germ and bran from the endosperm. Sourdough also existed way back when, before the invention of today’s baker’s yeast (which, by the way, only contains Saccharomyces cerevisiae, as opposed to sourdough, which contains many more organisms). Soo…maybe whole wheat grains and sourdough go together.

So began the experiments. After baking whole wheat bread with sourdough, I noticed that the bread stayed intact and held a great texture, even though I only used water, sourdough, flour, and salt. My theory is that it’s not only the freshly milled whole wheat, but also the long fermentation time, and in the little organisms in the sourdough starter. So, when I want to eat something biologically leavened, (in this case, leavening that is not baking powder or soda) and nutrient-dense, I bake whole wheat flour/water/sourdough/salt bread. When I want something biologically leavened that is more splurgey, like cinnamon rolls, I’ll use mostly white all purpose flour and commercial yeast. After all, I doubt most people eat those types of breads for nutrition 😉

I tried to think of all the recipes that I could convert to use sourdough instead, because there is always sourdough starter in my kitchen, but not always yeast. I stumbled across this great blog that I think everyone should read- called Bint Rhoda’s Kitchen! She grew up eating this bread (cooked on the stovetop), and she is into sourdough baking as well! :d

I’ve made this pita bread with 100% whole wheat flour (oven), as well as 100% spelt flour (stovetop), both with great success, so I encourage you to try both and see which you prefer. Me? Stovetop for convenience and lack of pre-heating the oven. But, it’s always nice to sit in front of the oven and watch the pitas grow and get pillowy.

If you’ve made pita bread with baker’s yeast, it’ll be easier to make this recipe. No matter, just make sure the dough is soft, but does not stick to your hands.

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Banana Bread

Is banana bread supposed to be a dessert bread or a breakfast bread? I had phases of time where I would try to make desserts “healthy” and then realized that the compromise on taste wasn’t worth it. Plus, when I ate it , I would justify that I could eat more of it because it was less caloric.

This banana bread just tastes good to me. It is sweet enough that it tastes like a dessert, yet has whole grains so it could pass for breakfast food! Sorry to whomever I might have deceived to click for more; I felt that this was too good of a recipe to have people ignore it because it had the word “whole wheat” in it.

This has the taste of bananas, but the heartiness and earthiness from the whole wheat flour, is not too sweet, and has a touch of cinnamon. I was a firm believer in only white flour banana bread, but this recipe has made me reconsider. See for yourself! 

Banana Bread

Banana Bread
Makes a 9×5 inch loaf
only slightly adapted from King Arthur

Ingredients:
½ cup butter, at room temperature
½ cup (106 g) packed light or dark brown sugar
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups (454 g) mashed ripe banana (3-4 medium to large bananas)
¼ cup (85 g) honey or brown sugar (53 g)
2 large eggs
2 cups (240 g) whole wheat flour, traditional or white whole wheat
½ cups (55 g) coarsely chopped walnuts
Cinnamon sugar (optional)

Instructions:
1) Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Lightly grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan or line it with parchment paper (my preference).

2) Beat together the butter, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg
and vanilla in a medium bowl until smooth.

3) Use a pastry cutter or fork to mash up the bananas mostly finely; leave some chunks for texture.

4) Add the banana, honey and
eggs into the butter mixture from step 2, beating until smooth. Add the flour and nuts, stirring until
smooth. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan.

5) If you wish, mix some cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle atop the banana bread.

5) Bake the bread for 50 minutes. Lay a piece of foil over the top and bake 10-15 minutes longer until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

6) Take the bread out of the oven and let it cool in the pan 10 minutes before removing it.   Remove the bread from the
oven and allow it to cool for 10 minutes before turning it out of the
pan onto a rack to cool completely.

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