November 17th is Homemade Bread Day. With cooler weather ahead and the holiday season upon us, now’s the perfect time to bake a yummy loaf. Your kitchen will smell delicious and you won’t be able to help but take a break to enjoy a warm slice from the oven. Sourdough? Organic whole wheat? Ooey gooey chocolate chip banana? So many loaves to love!
Is it Worth the Effort?
Yes! Baking your own bread has so many benefits. You can make it healthier, tastier, and cheaper than much of what you’ll find at the market. You can modify many recipes to increase fiber by using whole grain flours or fruit, and increase protein by adding nuts and seeds. If you’re on a gluten-free diet, don’t worry; delicious recipes abound that use rice, almond, oat, and coconut flour, just to name a few.
Quick Bread vs. Yeast Bread
Quick breads use leavening agents such as baking powder or soda instead of yeast. Since you don’t have downtime waiting for dough to rise, these breads truly are quick to make. Quick breads also tend to stay fresh longer and freeze well. Yeast breads need a bit more time and attention. It’s important to use the right flour and proper temperature for dough to rise. If you don’t have the time to put in the extra effort, invest in a good bread machine. With minimal effort, you’ll be baking bread as good as your downtown boulangerie.
Share the Love
Bread makes a wonderful gift. Choose recipes that stay moist and fresh for several days without refrigeration. You can extend the yield of your recipe by using metal or foil mini loaf pans. Plan to bake ahead of the holiday rush and freeze for later use. When ready to wrap and share, think beyond basic plastic wrap, foil, or parchment. A quick online search should yield some simple and inspiring gift wrap ideas.
Here are some tasty seasonal recipes, including a gluten-free option. Enjoy.
Bread Machine Apple Raisin Cinnamon Bread
1 cup water
2 Tbsp butter softened
3 cups bread flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt
2 tsp bread machine or quick active dry yeast
3/4 cup peeled chopped apple
3/4 cup raisins
Place all ingredients (except chopped apple and raisins) in bread machine pan in the suggested order of the manufacturer.
Add the chopped apple and raisins at the Raisin/Nut signal, or 5 to 10 minutes before last kneading cycle ends.
Select Sweet or Basic/White cycle, and light crust color. Do not use delay cycle.
When bread is done, remove from pan and cool on wire rack.
Pumpkin Pecan Quick Bread
Yield, 3 loaves
1 cup vegetable oil
2 2/3 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 15-ounce can of pumpkin
2/3 cup water
3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans
Turbinado sugar to sprinkle on top
Preheat the oven to 350°. Lightly grease three 8 x 4 loaf pans.
Spread chopped pecans evenly on a cookie sheet and lightly roast in preheated oven. Remove from oven.
In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, sugar, eggs, pumpkin, and water. Stir in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, vanilla, and roasted pecans. Put batter evenly into the prepared pans. Sprinkle the tops of the loaves with turbinado sugar.
Place the three loaf pans onto a cookie sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Rotate the cookie sheet and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.
Remove the bread from the oven and place on a cooling rack.
Gluten Free Banana Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Quick Bread
2 cups gluten free all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 cup pure pumpkin puree
2/3 cup mashed banana
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350°. Coat a 9x5 inch loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside. In a smaller bowl, mix on low speed, the oil, eggs, coconut milk, pumpkin, banana, and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the large bowl of dry ingredients. Mix on low speed until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
Pour batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool 10 minutes then remove from pan to cooling rack.