Saturday, December 17, 2016

Ice conditions require baking

Since the first half of the day was about ice and snow and freezing rain, it seemed like a good day to decide to be active indoors. Particularly since my neighbor brushed off my sidewalk, steps, and car before he took off for the day. 

I caught up on baking, both wholewheat bread and banana bread, and took out the yogurt cheese I'd had draining in the fridge for a couple of days.

The bread is from the Healthy Bread book, except that I change up the flour often.  You need 7.5 cups for this recipe, makes four sturdy loaves. Today I used 4 wholewheat, two all purpose and one and a half oatmeal. Cups, that is. I left the oatmeal as whole flakes, interesting to eat, rather than grind into flour.

The banana bread, baked in my trusty castiron baking dish, worked well.  I like to add stuff in to the basic recipe, today golden raisins and crushed walnuts. When I've used golden raisins I've been dusting them in the flour first, so they won't sink in the cake.  But they hung onto the flour, and tasted okay but didn't look so pretty.

So this time I mixed them into the mashed bananas, sugar and egg, beat them all together, then added in the flour, baking soda and salt whisked together.  Baked about an hour at 325F.  Worked a treat. They blend very well. So this is how I plan to do it from now on.

Then put up the oven heat to 450F for the bread, and baked that, in the usual nonstick casserole dish, about an hour.  I bake in the same dish I mix it in, works nicely.

I had put some whole milk yogurt, Dannon my favorite, probably because it was what I ate all the time as an au pair in France long ago, up for cheese a couple of days ago.  

This is where you turn the whole big container into a cheesecloth-lined strainer, sitting on a bowl.  Cover it, sit in the fridge for a day or two, so the whey strains out.  Then the solids make a lovely cream cheese.  I use it everywhere you might spread butter or cream cheese, and it's tangy and more interesting than either of them.  The whey is now in the freezer ready to use in soup.

Perfect for afternoon tea, as here.  As I picked up the tray to carry it through, the fork flew off across the room with a clatter.  I'd never get a job at the Ritz at this rate.

You did know that afternoon tea is what they serve at posh UK places to visitors? that's the name. It's not high tea, that's a kind of workman's supper deal, a knife and fork meal you come home from work to, involving meat and other stuff.  Poor man's dinner. So now you know.  And if you see establishments advertising high tea, you know they don't know their onions. Or their afternoon tea. The food might be good, though, so try it anyway.

So today's baking yield will go, some across the street to Rajiv, who is a keen fan of banana bread, some for Handsome Son, some for me. The bread, a couple of slices of lovely crusty stuff to neighbor for tomorrow's breakfast, to substitute for those "English muffins" he buys.  They remind me of hockey pucks, no matter how much jam you put on them.  

And since banana bread has bread in its name, I might have some toasted for breakfast, too. The bread police are out brushing off cars.


  1. So much good baking! Thanks for reminding me - I've got to bake some holiday giveaways to use up the pounds of walnuts in my freezer.

  2. I use the same bread recipe. Used snow and ice day here to make Clementine preserves (the box of fresh fruit a bit too big for me) using 20 Clementines and 2 Lemons with peel from three Clems. Turned out a bit more liquid that I wanted but very tasty. Melted Cheddar on home baked bread and added Clem preserve on top. delish!

  3. Must be genetic-- I love cheese and jam on toast, too. All homemade even better. Cant tolerate oranges though, allergic. Latest jam is lemon (those are fine) and tomato.


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