Tag Archives: yeast

Yeasted Banana Sandwich Bread.

I haven’t been able to participate in What’s Baking the past couple of months so when this month rolled around, I was ready to go!  And then, when I saw our host Lindsay, of Peace, Love and French Fries, chose the theme “Bake with Yeast?”  I was over the moon.

You may remember that yeast and I have a bit of a rocky relationship.  Typically, I have to scratch the first batch that never rose properly and try again before whatever it is I’m making turns out.  But this time?  This one was a breeze.  The dough rose like a dream, and the finished product?  Well, I just might be in love with it.

I was pretty excited when I found this recipe.  I had a full bunch of bananas sitting on my counter that were just screaming that they needed to be used.  And what’s the first thing anyone thinks of when they have bananas that are super ripe?  Banana bread!

But this isn’t your typical banana bread.  It’s a sandwich bread with just a hint of sweetness that’s almost reminiscent of Hawaiian bread.  I’ll admit that I shoveled 3 fresh out of the oven slices topped with butter and jam into my mouth immediately, but I’m most looking forward to making some incredible grilled cheese or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and some french toast!

Yeasted Banana Sandwich Bread – slightly adapted from King Arthur Flour

  • 1 Cup Warm Milk (~110 degrees)
  • 2 1/4 tsp. Active Dry Yeast (1 Packet)
  • 2 Tbsp. Agave Nectar (or Honey)
  • 3 – 3 1/2 Cups Bread Flour
  • 2 Tbsp. Butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 2 Ripe Bananas, cut into chunks

Add the warm milk and honey to the bowl of a stand mixer.  Stir, then add the yeast.  Set aside to proof for 10-15 minutes.

Add the 3 cups flour, butter, salt and bananas to the yeast mixture and mix, using the paddle attachment, until all ingredients are combined and a shaggy dough has formed.  Remove the paddle and attach the dough hook.  Knead for 5 minutes, until smooth.  If the dough is too wet, add up to 1/2 cup additional flour.  Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with a damp cloth and allow to rise for 1 hour.

Lightly grease a loaf pan.  Remove the dough from the bowl and shape into a log.  Place the dough into the loaf pan and cover with lightly greased plastic wrap.  Allow to rise for 1 hour, until the dough is full and rounded.

Towards the end of the second rise, preheat the oven to 350.  Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the bread is cooked through and the top is golden brown.

Basic Bagels.

Hey, so remember last year when I made this list of eleven things I wanted to make in 2011 and failed miserably at finishing?  Well, I was working on writing up the post for my Twelve in ’12 list (look for it tomorrow!) and noticed that I had this recipe still sitting in my backlog.  I had completely forgotten to schedule this post before the end of the year!  So instead of completing the low half of the list, I actually ended up just on the high end.

I made these for my family’s Hanukkah party, and while they came out a bit wrinkled, they were a great first attempt (well, second attempt.  The dough never rose on my first batch.  Working with yeast is my downfall.).  They were crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside, the way a bagel should be.  Rather than go crazy with the toppings, I simply used some Penzey’s Sandwich Sprinkle and they were wonderful.

Basic Bagels - adapted from The Sophisticated Gourmet

  • 2 1/4 tsp. Active Dry Yeast
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. Sugar
  • 1 1/4 Cup Warm Water (about 110 degrees)
  • 3 1/2 Cups Bread Flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 2 Tbsp. Penzey’s Sandwich Sprinkle (or your preferred topping of choice)

Add 1/2 cup warm water to the bowl of a stand mixer, then pour in the sugar and yeast.  Do not stir.  Let sit for 5-10 minutes then stir the mixture until it is all dissolved.

Mix together the flour and salt.  Add half of the dry ingredients to the yeast mixture and knead with the dough hook attached.  Then add 1/2 cup warm water and the remaining flour mixture.  Continue kneading for 10 minutes.  If the dough is too dry, slowly add up to 1/4 cup warm water until you have a stiff and firm dough.

Lightly oil a large bowl and turn the dough to coat.  Cover with a damp towel and allow to rise in a warm place for 1 hour, until the dough has doubled.  Gently punch down and allow to rest another 10 minutes.

Divide the dough into 12 equal sized pieces.  Form into balls.  Coat a finger in flour and gently press through the center of each dough ball.  Gently twirl around your finger until you form a ring about half the diameter of the bagel.  Place on a lightly oiled cookie sheet.  Repeat with remaining dough.  Cover with a damp towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

While dough is resting, preheat oven to 425 and bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer.  Using a slotted spoon, lower two to three bagels at a time into the water.  Boil for 1 minute, then flip and boil an additional 1-2 minutes.  Repeat until all bagels are boiled.  Transfer back to the oiled baking sheet.  If using, sprinkle your bagels with toppings now.  You may need an egg wash if you’re using a heavier topping, such as poppy or sesame seeds.

Bake for 20 minutes, until bagels are golden brown.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Spiral Dinner Rolls.

I was a guest this past Thanksgiving, due to the fact that my in-laws chose to host this year.  Sometimes, it’s nice to have a break from having to entertain a house full of people, especially since last year’s festivities ended with my mom in the hospital.  This year, however, was a complete 180.  Mom is making incredible strides in her recovery.  My parents joined us for Thanksgiving dinner and everyone was amazed at how great she is doing.  It’s a huge change from just a few short months ago, and I couldn’t be more proud of her for doing something great with the second chance she’s been given.

When you’re a guest at someone else’s Thanksgiving dinner, you have to figure out how to take a step back and graciously relinquish control over the meal.  This year, instead of making some grand dessert or tasty side, I was assigned the rolls.  That’s right, rolls – the least important fixture on the Thanksgiving table, and to add to it, my last few attempts at working with yeast have been epic failures.  And not only was I in charge of making the rolls, I was given a suggestion (and handed a recipe) as to what kind of roll to make.  No way, I decided.  If I have to make these rolls, I’m making them my way, and they’re going to be the best damn rolls you’ve ever had.

I came up with a list of a few amazing sounding rolls and handed it over to the Husby, who countered “Why don’t you just make plain rolls?”  Great, another wrench in my plans.  So off I went again, in search of the perfect, plain old boring roll recipe (if such a thing were to exist).

I was about to give up and just grab a tube of Pillsbury when I came across these spiral rolls.  They were plain but also had a fabulous flair to them.  Just my style.

And, because I’m me, I may have also shown up to Thanksgiving dinner with two additional unassigned dishes: some Whiskey Glazed Carrots and a Chocolate Hazelnut Tart.

Spiral Dinner Rolls – adapted from breadbaking.about.com

  • 1/2 Cup Warm Water, about 110 degrees F
  • 2 1/4 tsp. (or 1 pkg.) Active Dry Yeast
  • 1/2 Cup Milk, room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp. Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1/8 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 Tbsp. Butter, room temperature
  • 3 Cups Bread Flour
  • 1 Egg White
  • 1 Tbsp. Water

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl), mix the warm water and yeast.  Set aside until the yeast gets bubbly, about 5-10 minutes.  Add the milk, sugar, salt, cinnamon, egg and butter.  Stir to combine.

Attach the dough hook to the mixer, if using.  Add the bread flour and knead for 8 minutes (10 if by hand), until the dough is firm and smooth to the touch.

Transfer dough to a medium greased bowl, and turn over so that the top gets lightly greased also.  Cover with a kitchen towel and allow to rise in a warm place for 1 to 1.5 hours, until doubled in size.

Remove the dough from the bowl and transfer to a lightly floured surface.  Punch down the dough and knead for a few minutes to remove any bubbles.  Divide dough into 24 equally sized balls.  Using your hands, roll each ball into an 8 inch snake and shape into a tight spiral against a flat surface.  Tuck the end piece underneath the roll.  Repeat for all dough balls.

Place the spirals on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Cover and let rise for 45 minutes, until doubled in size.  Towards the end of the rise, preheat the oven to 375.

In a small bowl, mix together the egg white and water.  Brush each roll with the mixture.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the tops are golden brown.  Allow to cool 10 minutes before serving.

Brioche Burger Buns.

Check out my buns!!

Ok, now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, I am in utter disbelief that it is September already.  I feel like it was only yesterday when plans for Memorial Day were being tossed around and now here we are, only days away from Labor Day barbeques, the official unofficial “last day” of summer.

It’s been so hot this summer that we pretty much neglected our grill.  So once we realized that August was quickly coming to an end, we invited our friends PSquared over and fired it up.

I usually tend to keep my burgers fairly simple – a pound of ground beef, a minced onion and lots of Penzey’s Chicago Steak seasoning – but I wanted to take them to the next level.  My solution?  Bake my own buns!

While I’m still fairly new to the world of yeast, the buns turned out amazing.  I think I might almost be over my fear of working with yeast.  They rose up nice in size and baked beautifully.  I mean, look how pretty they are!  They were simple to make (the hardest part was the wait during the double rise) and tasted super light and airy with a buttery bite.  The perfect complement to the juicy patty, they even held up to all of the various condiments.  They’ll absolutely be making an encore appearance at my Labor Day barbeque… And you should definitely consider having them at yours as well.  You won’t be disappointed and you’ll likely never buy store bought again.  I know I won’t.

Brioche Burger Buns – slightly adapted from First Look Then Cook

  • 2/3 Cup Warm Milk (~110 degrees F)
  • 1/3 Cup Warm Water
  • 4 Tbsp. Honey
  • 2 Eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 1/4 tsp. (1 Packet) Instant Yeast
  • 3 Cups Bread Flour (plus a few Tbsp. if needed)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 6 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter, sliced and softened
  • 1 Egg Yolk
  • Sesame Seeds

Combine the flour, yeast and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Add the butter and turn the mixer on low, until just combined.

Add the milk, water, 2 eggs and honey to a small bowl and whisk to combine.  Add to the dry ingredients.  Turn the mixer on low until the flour is incorporated then increase the speed to medium and knead for 8 minutes.

If necessary, add an additional Tbsp. flour at a time until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.  Be careful not to add too much additional flour as the buns will end up too dry (I used 2 Tbsp).  Knead another 2 minutes (totaling 10 minutes).  Form the dough into a ball and place back in the bowl.  Cover with a warm towel and allow to rise in a warm place until the dough has doubled, 1 to 2 hours.

Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a floured surface.  Flour your hands, divide the dough into 8 equal pieces and form into balls.  Place 2 to 3 inches apart on a lightly oiled, parchment lined baking sheet.  Flatten each ball just a bit with the palm of your hand.  Cover loosely with oiled plastic wrap and allow to rise again another hour.

Preheat oven to 400.  Once risen, brush the tops with the egg yolk and sprinkle with sesame seeds.  Bake for 10-15 minutes, turning the pan once halfway through, until buns are golden.  Transfer to a rack and cool completely.

These also freeze really well!