I always think it's the holiday season in December that is the busiest time of year, but the spring frenzy of school events and extra-curricular activities sneaks in and quickly brings that into question. So, I've fallen off my weekly post the past few weeks and I'm striving to get back there. Just a couple of weeks more and the schedule of evening and weekend events should lighten up as we roll into summer and we're definitely looking forward to it.
Full schedules need breakfast on the go and this week's recipe for a Buckwheat Flour Banana Bread brings the combination of flavor and nutrition to go with your morning cup of coffee. A small investment of time one weekend morning or late evening can set you up for the week. Serve it warm with just a smudge of butter and enjoy. Oh! And this recipe is gluten free too!
Buckwheat Flour Banana Bread (Gluten Free)
-2 overripe bananas
-2/3 cup organic vanilla yogurt
-1/4 cup brown sugar
-1/2 cup sugar
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-3/4 cup gluten free flour (I used Bob's Red Mill 1:1)
-3/4 cup Buckwheat flour
-1/2 cup oatmeal (use gluten free to keep the bread gluten free)
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1 teaspoon baking powder
-2 teaspoons cinnamon
-1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees and prepare a loaf pan by spraying with non-stick cooking spray. In a large bowl, mix together the overripe bananas, yogurt and eggs. Add in the sugar and continue to mix. Add the vanilla and mix. In a separate bowl, sift together all of the dry ingredients. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix with a rubber spatula until fully incorporated and mixed together. Pour the bread batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 55-60 minutes. Test with a toothpick to make sure it comes out clean after inserted into the middle of the baked loaf. Allow to cool in the pan for 15-20 minutes. Remove from the pan and allow to finish cooling on a wire rack. Once completely cooled, store in a freezer bag or air tight container in fridge for the upcoming week. Enjoy!
This is the recipe that started it all for me: Grandma's Brown Bread. I grew up watching my mom regularly make this recipe and we were fortunate to get back to Ireland every few years to stay with family where I would watch my grandmother make this recipe. I have awesome grandmothers to always remember and two of the things that I most distinguish them by is their bread recipes. My mom's mom is Irish Brown Bread and my dad's mom is Irish Griddle Bread. Both breads are delicious, cozy and food for the soul and today's post is dedicated to my maternal grandmother's Irish Brown Bread recipe.
I knew my grandmother was amazing when I was growing up, but I didn't realize the extent of her amazing nature until I started my own little family. My grandmother lived on a beautiful little rural corner of County Wicklow in Ireland where she raised her fifteen kids. Yes, you read that right: fifteen....as in a decent size classroom of kids. I obviously didn't know her until my mother and the rest of her siblings were grown, but she was kind, funny, loving...and sane....even after raising fifteen kids, of which she did a lot of this on her own as my mother's father died when she was around ten years old. I don't think I have ever seen her lose her temper or get too worked up about anything and that is inspiration for me every single day. I'm fairly certain that she could have run a country.
From what my mother has taught me, this bread recipe was a staple in her house growing up. I swear that you could have blindfolded my grandmother, tied one hand behind her back, spun her around three times and she would still whip up a perfect loaf of this brown bread. The scent of fresh baked bread lightly mixed with Irish air pouring in through her kitchen windows is a memory held in my core. I think about this recipe often, but especially when St. Patrick's Day rolls around each year. This recipe is simple and it's definitely from the "little bit of this, little bit of that" baking school. I don't remember seeing my grandmother or mother using precise measurements when they baked bread, and I distinctly remember them "just knowing" when it was done...when it needed more flour...more milk. Over time, I've made this recipe enough and grabbed some advice from my mom that I think I've given enough details so that someone new could pick it up and enjoy some brown bread within an hour, but feel free to reach out with any questions. You'll still see some hints of my mom and grandma's old school directions here, which I love and will never be tired of reading. So, get ready to brew a pot of tea, get out the butter and jam and enjoy some Irish Brown Bread.
Irish Brown Bread
(as made by my grandma and mom)
-1 cup all purpose flour
-2 cups wheat flour
-1 tsp salt
-1 TBS sugar
-2 tsp baking powder
-enough whole milk to bring the dough to a moist consistency (usually about 2 cups)
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Place all of the flour, salt, and sugar into a large bowl and stir to combine. Add in the milk and mix until combined to a sticky dough. Sprinkle flour over your counter top or a large cutting board and dump the dough onto the floured surface. Add flour to your hands and knead the dough by hand by using one hand to take dough from underneath and bring it on top while using the other hand to turn the dough. Add more flour when needed to prevent the dough from being too sticky. Continue this process until the dough is in a round shape with a smooth surface on the bottom. Grease a baking pan with butter, oil or non-stick cooking spray. Flip the dough over onto the baking pan and use a sharp knife to etch a cross in the top of the dough to allow steam to escape while it bakes. Bake at 400 degrees for approximately 35 minutes. This may vary depending on your oven and my mother and grandmother's famous words to know when the bread is done is to knock on it (like you're knocking on a door) and it should sound hollow. Allow to cool on a wire rack for 15-20 minutes and then wrap in a clean dish towel to allow it to continue cooling evenly. Slice and enjoy with butter and jam!
If you had to go to a desert island and could only bring one food with you, what would it be? Mine would be pizza...and I would secretly hope that someone else who had to go was bringing chocolate because together we'd be unstoppable...and happy.
Today I want to tell you what's cooking in my bread machine right now as Superbowl Sunday rolls in and we get ready to cheer on the New England Patriots. Yes, you can use this recipe if you're an Eagles fan but I hope you're ready for the Pats and our man Tom Brady tonight because we're gonna bring it. Back to the food. Years ago (as in well over ten years ago), I got a lovely gift of a bread machine from my in laws and it's still going strong. I actually don't use it often for bread, but I use it weekly for fresh, homemade pizza dough. I found a recipe online when I got the machine but I don't remember where I got it. I've made it so many times and modified it so much that I just know it by heart. I've made whole wheat versions and white flour versions, depending on what we're going for that week. We've used countless combinations of toppings, cheeses, herbs and spices (my favorites include a lot of garlic and basil). I think homemade pizza beats any delivery services, it's kinder to the wallet, and it's really really easy! I can set the ingredients in the bread machine in the morning before heading out the door and there's a pizza dough waiting for me that evening when we get home.
Bread Machine Pizza Dough (Adapted)
-1 cup + 2 TBS water- luke warm
-2 TBS olive oil
-3 cups flour (this can be all white flour, half whole wheat or other combinations to suit your preferences)
-1 tsp sugar
-1/2 tsp salt
-2 1/2 tsp bread machine yeast
Measure all of your ingredients carefully. This is where my "little bit of this, little bit of that" baking style can cause problems because bread machines are very precise. Place the ingredients in the bread machine in the order listed. Once the salt has been added, make a well using your finger or the back of the spoon on top of the flour and put the yeast into that well. Put the machine on dough cycle (mine takes 1 1/2 hours) and press start. Once the machine is done, place the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out or toss until it is shaped for your pizza pan. Add your sauce, cheese and toppings. Place into a 400 degree oven for approximately 20 minutes. Slice and enjoy!
wife, mom, faith, fitness, yoga, baking and constantly cleaning my kitchen.