It feels so good to be baking again! Recently I got hold of the book, Heirloom Baking with the Brass Sisters. I had seen an episode with them on the Food Network show Throwdown with Bobby Flay and they were so adorable that I knew I had to get their book.
Recipes that are handed down through generations have their own charm. Every family has their own masterpiece recipe. This blog is an attempt of getting prized recipes from my family and the ones that I find good under one roof and make an heirloom recipe collection of my own, just like the Brass sisters.
So, I set off to try their Banana Bread recipe, with pretty good results. The reason I chose a banana centric recipe was that I had these overly ripe bananas sitting on my kitchen counter for some time. And unlike others, who would gross out by just the sight of black skinned bananas, I just exclaim, overjoyed by the opportunity to bake something banana-eyy!:)
The melted butter gives the bread a texture quite close to that of cake. And, for an extra punch, I toast the nuts.
The other day I was talking to one of my ‘bestest‘ friends, B. Now married and living in the Middle East, she is one person who comes closest to being my replica. A fellow Capricornian, her traits are quite similar to mine. We have had our ups and downs, periods where either did not know what’s happening with the other, but, somehow, and mostly because of the effort she has put in staying in touch, we are still the ‘bestest’ friends.
Growing up, we have had numerous meals in each others houses- her mom, for me, is one of the best cooks I know and for her, the same holds for my mom. These days, both living the lives of housewives, our phone conversations have evolved from normal school bitching to talks about our housewife roles! Its quite funny to see both of us exchanging recipes on the phone- two people who never entered the kitchen before marriage! How life takes a turn!
These days my bedside novel is Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Bakers’ Apprentice. I am in love with this book. Last night, even though I was sleepy I couldn’t put the book down- like it was some really interesting crime mystery novel and I was at the part where the murder was just seconds from getting solved. No one would have thought, especially those who have seen me growing up, that I was so passionate about baking. I too never knew till only recently, and even though I am not a great baker – I’ll call myself that only when I am able to concoct my own recipes- I know that I’m passionate about this. And, believe me, if you find something you are passionate about- you can and will eventually become great at it. Until that day I’ll keep trying!
Inspired by Reinhart’s words, I decided to try my hand at his version of French Bread.
Bread – a combination of flour, water, salt and yeast- all combined to form this beautifully fermented dough with layers of flavor hidden in it. One bite into the bread- and I’m talking about the freshly baked kinds- not the store bought, kept on shelves, filled with preservatives kinds- and you are like- whoa…oh my god, this is it- Yes! almost like having an orgasm for the mouth!
Previously, I have tried making French Bread with decent results. Reinhart’s version is slightly different and does require more time in the preparation. He starts off with a pre-fermented dough, pâte fermentée (dough that has been kept overnight to ferment in the refrigerator). The resulting bread has a sweetness associated with it due to the sugars released from the starches during fermentation. The crust is nice and rustic on the outside and the bread full-flavored!
Use this bread for making garlic bread or serve it with a roasted garlic infused ricotta cheese topping or use it to make your own version of crostinis!