The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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eva_stockholm's picture


I just wanted to share a successful (provided you are VERY fond of bananas) experiment: the "bananas only" bread.

This is not a proper recipe, but more of a method.

Take any wholewheat or dinkel rolls recipe (if you are using a sourdough process, follow standard procedures until you reach the "baking day" or "final dough" stage). Then substitute ALL liquid in the recipe with equal volume of mashed, ripe bananas. Omit any sweeteners or fats included in the recipe - the bananas are moist and sweet enough - but do include salt.

Bake according to recipe.

For variation, try one or several of the following additions:

ground cinnamon, ground cardamom, nuts, seeds, raisins, apricots

Some suggestions for toppings when enjoying these rolls are:

simply good quality butter

peanut butter

Turkish youghurt

cream cheese

blue cheese



dstroy's picture

A Sesame Street clip from the 90s about making homemade bread:


Floydm's picture

I made a couple loaves of French bread and also tried Dan Lepard's Onion Bay Leaf Bread. 

Subtle but quite good

hansjoakim's picture

Here's a photo of some whole rye and whole spelt small breads that I pulled from the oven this morning. They're made from approx. 50% high extraction wheat flour and 25% each of whole rye and whole spelt. The rye comes from a ripe sourdough. To shape them, I form the dough into a batard that I cut crosswise into eight or nine equal pieces. One of the "cut" sides are brushed with water and gently placed in a seed mix. They're flipped and put onto a pan. Delicious and filling, with a savory, "earthy" flavor.

Spelt and rye sourdough small breads


Next up is the spelt bread from Suas' Advanced Bread and Pastry. This was a great dough to work with, 90% spelt and 10% whole spelt, gently mixed, and bulk fermented for three hours. The dough is mixed very carefully, and some dough strength is developed over three folds during the bulk fermentation. 33% of the flour comes from a spelt poolish, so the dough feels quite slack and extensible all the way to final shaping. Suas writes that there's no pre-shaping for these, the dough is simply cut in two, and placed as "rectangles" on "well dusted linen". I think the dough behaved remarkably like a ciabatta dough, even though the hydration is only 68%. Quite fragile and sticky, but still smooth and a joy to work with. A fragrant, great bake that had a tremendous oven spring. The crust is very crispy, and there's a slight nutty flavor (probably coming from the poolish and the inherent "spelt" flavor). I made two of these rustic loaves, and they're well worth the effort! Advanced Bread and Pastry is a book I'm getting more and more fond of.

Spelt bread from ABAP


Finally, slightly branching out ("The Fresh Cake" anyone?): Apple breakfast cake, also from Suas. Lots of apples, walnuts and raisins. Yum!! Probably the best apple cake I've tasted... I picked this one, as it was the least intimidating of Suas' cake recipes ;-)

Apple Breakfast Cake from ABAP

Jw's picture

I tried something different this weekend, Duivekater. I read about it a while ago in a newspaper and last year we visited the Open Air Museum and received a recipe. It is 'special occasian bread', with Germanic roots, alltough I found a link to the French Hugenotes as well.

You can find the bread in paintings of Jan Steen at the Rijksmuseum, in this particular painting it is leaning against the wall. 

I am not too happy with the result. The dough did not rise as much as expected, I did not follow the recipe for 100% (e.g. warm butter instead of cold). Brioche or Zopf is much softer then this; it tastes more cakelike. I tried Pretzels as well, but failed there with the lye mixture (too high a percentage). The 'simple' bread (full wheat, slow rise, boule) turned out nice. Within a day all bread was gone....

Any tips on a better Duivekater are welcome. I will translate the recipe on request.


robpetraitis's picture


saw a receipe for rustic rye but can, figure it out. What's a levain? and how is it made?

Paddyscake's picture

The majority of us have tried different steaming techniques..professional steamers, ice cubes in the bottom of the oven, ice cubes in cast iron pan, spraying the loaves, spraying the oven walls, drip pans, pouring water into hot pans, pans with water heated during the preheat and combos of these techniques.

I have found that heating 1/4" hot water in a metal pan during the preheat gives me an oven full of steam by baking time, so much so that I have to be careful and keep my face away from the oven door when I open it to avoid getting a steam burn. Even after loading the oven, a few minutes later I see steam coming out the vent.

I recently tried the suggested method of pouring 3/4 cup hot water into a sheet pan that had been preheated with the oven. I thought even better was to use boiling water. Quite frankly, it seemed that I hardly had any steam compared to the way I had been doing it.

Does the temperature of the water poured into the pan make any difference? If I had used just hot water vs boiling would there have been more steam? It looked like it evaporated almost as fast as I poured it.

I do remember (I think) that someone said what was being produced was vapor not steam by most of these methods. 


One caveat for all new bakers..If you have glass doors, be sure to cover with a dry towel when pouring water to avoid cracking the window.

hullaf's picture

I've been baking various breads with seeds. When Lindy tried Hamelman's "Sourdough Seed Bread" it sounded so good. It has 92% bread and 8% rye flours and uses a white flour starter. I have a whole wheat starter so used JMonkey's version from the new TFL Handbook, the 'Three-Seed Sourdough Bread' which uses  80% white and 20% whole wheat flours. Both recipes use sunflower, sesame, and flaxseeds. My bread came out tasting very good. See node 10286. 

But I wanted a bread with more whole wheat flour, so I tried R.L. Beranbaum's 'Sourdough Wheat Bread with Seeds' from "The Bread Bible". It has 50% each of white and whole wheat flours and a whole wheat starter. I followed the recipe fairly exactly with expanding/feeding the whole wheat stiff sourdough starter as described, used the five seeds she used (pumpkin, sesame, sunflower, polenta -- I used medium coarse grind cornmeal -- and flaxseeds.) The fermentation and proofing times went along well, I shaped two batards, the oven rise was nice, the browning seemed good, and the aroma heavenly. 

sourdough wheat bread  sourdough wheat with seeds  lame scoring   sourdough wheat with lame scoring

sourdough wheat crumb  sourdough wheat crumb  

I've been trying new scoring after reading dmsynder's tutorial and have been better with my slashing. In the top photo, the left loaf was slashed with a bread knife and the right with a lame. I wish we got more times to slash per loaf. I want more practice - just means we get to bake more bread, right? 

Overall, I liked the taste of the three seeds alone rather than the five, but the whole wheat flavor of RLB's better.  


SylviaH's picture

This is my first attempt at a Ciabatta bread.  The motherdough was aged 3 days under refrigeration before using.  The recipe came from NWSD site  I followed recipe up to the shaping!  I changed it to one I thought simpler and just as effective!  It must have tasted ok as my husband ate nearly half the loaf before I could get some was still slightly warm when sliced : (   the crumb had a nice creamy taste

I added some extra hydration to the dough.

Sliced it into 4 pieces...I also had cut the original recipe in half!

The front two were dimpled before baking and the back two were not dimpled! 

Crumb and crust!




Rajee's picture

3 ripe bananas
1/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (or grated fresh)
1/2 teaspoon salt
/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 sliced banana
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
In a large bowl peel the bananas and break them into small pieces. With a potato masher, mash the bananas. Set aside. In a separate bowl add oil, applesauce, white and brown sugar, mix together and whisk briefly to incorporate. Add in the mashed bananas and mix until well blended.
Sift in the flour, baking soda, spices, and salt.Without over mixing combine the flour and banana mixtures together. Fold in the chopped walnuts.
Pour batter into a well greased 9x 5 loaf pan.Peel a banana and slice into pieces. Place the banana slices down the middle of the batter. Top the banana slices with chopped walnuts.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 55 - 60 minutes
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes until a skewer inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean.
Allow the banana bread to sit for 10 minutes before removing from the pan. Cool on a wire rack. Makes 1 loaf.


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