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The brioche collection

There’s a great bakery, Julien’s, by my place here in Halifax that’s got me hooked on brioche. Recipes for brioche have been jumping out at me in my RSS feed and elsewhere. Once this semester finally wraps up (only a few weeks left…!!!), I’ll be baking and baking and baking. I haven’t baked in too long and am missing it more and more every day. 

Nonetheless, for those of you with some free time, I know you’ll want to check out and try these delicious recipes for variations on brioche. 

Have you made brioche before? What’s your favourite recipe?

Wheat brioche bunsSprouted Kitchen

Buttery brioche sandwich rollsThe Café Sucré Farine

Brioche filled with chocolate ganache – Technicolor Kitchen

Brioche à la fleur d’orangerManger

 

Banana roundup

Since I always have bananas around the house, they’re bound to get too ripe every once and awhile, making the perfect excuse to bake. I usually stick to my classic banana bread recipe – it’s moist, delicious, always turns out well – but I’ve been wanting more and more to switch it up. Here are some of my favourite banana-focused recipes, some of which are on the top of my to try list. 

Streusel-Topped Banana Berry Muffins
Tart to Heart

Dark Chocolate Banana Bread with Cayenne
Baker Bettie

Baked Banana French Toast
Bakerella

Banana Cupcakes with Cinnamon Honey Frosting 
Honey & Jam 

 

 

Pull-apart cheese & herb bread

Well I finally tried it and overall it worked out quite well!

The whole process of making this was actually really simple. As mentioned, I used my classic sandwich bread recipe as the base for this one. One thing I really like about this recipe (other than it being super delicious and you eating it all before you probably should) is that it’s very flexible. You can add whatever spices you think would work well.

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Here’s what you’ll need:

1 1/2 cups hot water
1 1/4 tsp yeast
2 tbs softened butter/margarine
4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tbs sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tbs milk
———–
1-2 cups grated cheese (cheddar is a good option)
** 1/2-1 tbs of each herb (possibilities include oregano, basil, dill, rosemary, etc., etc…)

Here’s how it’s done:

Put the yeast into the measured amount of hot water. Wait ~15 minutes for it to froth. Put butter, then dry ingredients, then milk into the bowl of your mixer. Give it a quick stir. Once the yeast/water mixture is frothy, add it to the dry ingredients. Mix. Knead the dough until it becomes elastic, about ~6 minutes in the mixer or ~15 by hand. Cover and let rise in a warm place for about 2 hours, or until it has doubled in bulk.

Before kneading for a second time, add your selection of herbs to the dough. Knead again for at least 5 minutes. 

Line the loaf pan with parchment (the melted cheese will make the bread hard to remove if you don’t). Pull off handfuls of dough and roll it out into thin strips. Cut sections of to approximately fit the width and height of your loaf pan. Lay one piece down at a time, alternating with grated cheese (see photo).

Bake at 350°F for ~30 minutes.

Let the bread cool on a rack before pulling it apart and eating it. Mmmmmmm…
———– 

While I usually split this recipe into two loaves, I used all the dough for one loaf this time. What I found tough was to gauge how much I would need once it started being stacked up. Using all the dough seemed to be a good idea. The only slight complication was that, when it puffed up and baked, the slices kind of baked together. While they did actually pull apart quite easily, using more cheese would have helped (as it always does with everything). Either way, the outcome was incredibly delicious. I’ll be making this again really soon, especially with guests coming, and I hope you do too!

New recipe for pull-apart cheese & herb bread?

Well… not quite yet. I’ve been seeing a lot of recipes on Pinterest and Twitter and everywhere else for pull-apart bread. Most of them have been sweet though, such as this delicious looking cinnamon sugar pull-apart bread found on Joy the Baker

As much as I love making and baking the sweet, I do also love the savory. So, here’s my plan. This week (or weekend) I’m going to try to switch it up and make a recipe for a pull-apart cheese and herb bread. Using my classic sandwich bread recipe as a base, I’m going to try using cheese between the layers and mixing the herbs into the dough. This doesn’t sound too complicated and I’m sure it will be delicious, but my main concern is making sure it pulls apart as I’m imagining it to. I did also find this recipe for cheddar, beer, and mustard pull-apart bread on Smitten Kitchen, from which I’m drawing some inspiration:

 

You can see how they both have a similar look – that’s what I’m going for. I also want to make sure this is a really simple recipe that anyone will want to try. It would even be great to bring to potlucks or to gift.

Wish me luck – I’ll report back as soon as I’ve tested it out!

Simple banana bread

I had done a previous post on peanut butter banana muffins, but not one on simple, regular banana bread. There isn’t too big of a difference between the recipes, but everyone has to have a go-to recipe for this. Here’s mine:

3-4 mashed bananas
2 eggs
1/4 cup canola oil
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 3/4 cups flour
Some enthusiastic dashes of cinnamon!

Mix together the mashed bananas, eggs, oil, and sugar. In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. Add the dry to the wet. Put the batter into muffin cups or a loaf pan. Sprinkle some cinnamon on top. Bake at 350F for ~ 20-25 minutes for muffins and ~ 50-60 minutes for a loaf. Not sure if your muffins / loaf is done? Poke a fork into it. If it comes out clean, without batter, then it’s ready to be removed from the oven.

Enjoy!

* Tip for extra deliciousness: mix in or add on top some frozen berries of your choice. It will give a nice burst of flavour. My favourite fruit to add to this recipe is raspberries! Mmmmm.

Cranberry-orange loaf

This is one of my favourite loaf recipes. It’s not too sweet and the cranberries add the greatest bite of refreshing sourness.

If you’d like to try it out, here’s how:

In bowl A:
1/4 cup margarine or butter (room temp)
1 cup sugar
1 egg
Juice of 1 orange & water to make 3/4 cup (or use orange juice with pulp)
In bowl B:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Rind of 1 orange
1 1/2 cups cranberries

Put butter, sugar and egg in bowl A and mix. Beat until smooth then stir in the juice.

In bowl B mix the dry ingredients then stir in the orange rind and the cranberries.  Stir bowl B into bowl A and mix until moistened.  Pour the mixture into a parchment-lined loaf pan.

Bake 350F degrees for ~1 hour.  Keep your eye on the oven after 45 minutes. You can test whether your loaf is ready to be taken out of the oven by poking a knife or fork into it – if it comes out clean, it’s done! Let the loaf cool on a rack for a while before cutting it.

Also – don’t dare skimp on the orange rind!