Banana Spice Bread

Looking for the easiest sweet bread in the world to make?  Seriously, there are only two ingredients.  I made this as an experiment and it was so good that I ate it. . . all. . . by myself.   Hmmm, that really sounds horrible, but to be fair to myself I had a little bit every day over a week, because the rest of my family doesn’t like the spice cake flavor.  Man, it was good!  :)I think I’ll try this with other combinations of cake mixes.  Possibilities are endless!  Okay here it is:

Banana Spice Bread

Spice Cake powder mix

4 banana’s mashed

(possible add-ins:  nuts, coconut flakes, dried fruit bits, etc.)

Stir the ingredients together.  Pour in bread pan that has been oiled.  Bake at 400 degrees for approximately 50 minutes or until knife poked through comes out clean.  Done.  Woohoo!

Lion House Whole Wheat Bread

You can’t go wrong with anything from the Lion House Classics cookbook.  This bread is light, airy and delicious!  I put the recipe in exactly as written from the cookbook, but I add gluten and dough enhancer when I make it.

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Lion House Whole Wheat Bread

1 Tbsp. dry yeast

3 cups warm water (apx. 101 degrees)

1 cup cooked oatmeal

1/4 cup molasses

6 Tbsp. nonfat dry milk

6 Tbsp. shortening, softened

5 1/2 cups whole wheat flour***

1 1/2 Tbsp. salt

2 cups white flour

Proof yeast in 3 cups lukewarm water in large mixing bowl.  Add remaining ingredients and beat until dough forms a ball and leaves sides of bowl.  (I used cinnamon roll flavored instant oatmeal and it was yummy – I could taste a hint of cinnamon in the cooked bread.)  After kneading the dough using an electric mixer for 3-5 minutes remove the dough and knead it by hand for another 5ish minutes.  If you cut off a small piece of the dough and carefully stretch the dough, it should not tear.  If tearing occurs then continue kneading for another 3-5 minutes.  Place dough in a large greased bowl, cover with terry cloth and let rise until double (about one hour).  Be sure it rises in a warm area away from breezes.  I think the best place to let dough rise is in an oven turned off, and the oven light on.  Once the rising process is done, cut the dough in half and roll it into two greased loaf pans.  Let rise until about double and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until a nice golden brown.

***I grind my own wheat, these measurements were given from bagged flour.  Fresh ground flour is much lighter and airier, so if you’re using fresh flour you’ll use quite a bit more then what’s asked for.  I usually wait a week before I use my flour so that it will settle.

Zucchini Bread

You would never guess that this bread has two cups of zucchini in it.  Over the summer we grew some very productive zucchini plants and this was the best reward to our hard work. 

Zucchini Bread

(adapted from a recipe on allrecipes.com)

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil (or applesauce)
2 1/4 cups white sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups grated zucchini (be sure it’s not too wet. I dab it with a paper towel and let it sit out for a while before making the recipe)
1 cup chopped walnuts
apx. 1 cup oats (I just added a couple handfuls of this)

Grease and flour two 8 x 4 inch pans. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
Sift flour, salt, baking powder, soda, and cinnamon together in a bowl.
Beat eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar together in a large bowl. Add sifted ingredients to the creamed mixture, and beat well. Stir in zucchini and nuts until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pans.
Bake for 40 to 60 minutes, or until tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack for 20 minutes. Remove bread from pan, and completely cool.

Sweet and Squishy White/Wheat Bread

One of my favorite memories growing up was bread days.  I loved getting home from school and walking into the house filled with the smell of warm bread.  I strangely loved going into the kitchen and seeing the sink full and my Mom covered in flour.  I loved that the moment we would walk in the door she would yell, “Don’t run! Bread is rising, walk softly.”  The bread always tasted the best on the first day, when it came out of the oven and I could put butter on it and it would melt before I could spread it all the way.  Mmmmmm. . . and then the fresh jam.  Life is just so much better with hot bread and homemade jam.   Thanks Mom for all your hard work in the kitchen.  Thanks also go to my sisters who have kept the cooking/baking tradition alive.  I love that if I can’t get a hold of Mom I can run through all my sisters to ask questions or get advice on recipes and cooking in general.
I have a few bread recipes that I could share, but this is the recipe that I made today and it turned out so perfectly that I just had to share.

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Sweet and Squishy White/Wheat Bread

3 cups warm water (about as hot as you would give your kids in hot cocoa)
2 packages active dry yeast (1Tbsp + 1/2 tsp)
1/3 cup honey
5 cups bread flour
5 Tbsp. vital gluten
approx. 3/4 Tbsp. dough enhancer

3 Tbsp. butter, melted
1/3 cup honey
1 Tbsp. salt
3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
3 Tbsp. vital gluten
butter or margarine
(opt. sunflower seeds or other added goodness)

In a large bowl (or Kitchenaid) mix warm water, yeast, and 1/3 cup honey.  Add 5 cups flour, 5 Tbsp. gluten, and dough enhancer, and stir to combine.  Cover bowl with a towel and let set for 30 minutes, or until big and bubbly.

Mix in remaining butter, honey, and salt.  Stir in 2 cups whole wheat flour.  If in Kitchenaid then gradually add the remaining flour about a 1/2 cup at a time while continually stirring it with the kneading arm.  Let it continue stirring until the dough is completely off the sides and the consistency is slightly sticky to the touch.  If by hand then flour a surface and begin to knead the bread adding the remaining flour little by little until the dough no longer sticks to the counter but is slightly sticky to the touch.  Place in a greased bowl.  Cover with a terry cloth.  Let rise in a warm place until doubled.  (TIP:  Put your oven rack a little lower and then place the bowl in there to rise with the oven light on to keep it the perfect warmness.  DO NOT turn the oven on!  Putting it in the oven will prevent breezes or heavy traffic from ruining the rising process)

Once doubled in size (about an hour later) punch the dough down and divide into 3 loaves.  Place in greased 9×5 inch loaf pans, and allow to rise until dough has topped the pans by about one inch (again let it rise in the turned off oven with the light on).  Rising time will be about 30-45 minutes.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes; do not over bake.  Lightly brush the tops of loaves with butter or margarine when done.  Let the loaves sit in the pans for a few minutes and then turn them upside down over a towel and they should just pop right out to continue cooling.