Hello foodies! It has been forever since I last blogged, and every time I cook or eat something yummy, I feel a pang of guilt in my stomach, and promise myself that I am going to start doing weekly posts again, and after months, which accidentally turned into a year of talking and no doing, here I go…
So much has happened since I last posted! I…got a new job in reproductive health, adopted two furry critters,
finished my Masters degree in Public Health
Kristen, Phumelele and I on Grad Day
and got engaged!
The recipe I am going to share with you is Lulu’s Steamed bread. According to the interwebs, steamed bread is a traditional Zulu dish typically served with meat, although my experience tells me that steamed bread has become a commonplace in many’s homes. I first tried it when Lulu brought it to work freshly baked for a colleague’s birthday and I simply couldn’t stop eating it, despite being stuffed to the brim. It is so moist and has a subtle sweetness that I can never resist. So of course I got the recipe and immediately went home to make it. Despite Lulu accidentally giving me the wrong ratios due to that the recipe is so engrained in her food repertoire that she no longer needs to measure and also accidentally waterlogging my ball of dough in boiling water, my bread was ridiculously delicious. Luckily, my second time making steamed bread was easier and just as delicious. Steamed bread can be eaten with anything from curry, stew and mexican food, to only with a smidgy of butter, which Lulu and I did all week when we were away on a work trip.
Steamed bread (serves four + leftovers)
- 2 1/4 cups flour
- 2 1/4 tbl sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp dried yeast
- 1 cup lukewarm water
- Mix all the dry ingredients together and then mix in the warm water
- Knead the dough (the dough should be slightly sticky-if it’s too sticky, add some more flour)
- Let the dough rise for about an hour
- Knead the dough some more
- Put the dough in a greased metal bowl
- Add about 5cm of water to a large pot that the metal bowl can fit into
- Gently place the bowl in the water (Don’t let the bowl touch the bottom of the pot; if it does, add a bit more water so that the bowl floats a little bit)
- Put on the lid
- Bring the water to a boil. Once the water starts to bowl, turn the heat down a bit so that the water maintains a lower, less hectic boil. Don’t keep the burner high enough for the water to bubble up into your dough bowl.
- Cook the bread for an hour. DO NOT open the pot lid until the hour is up.
- Carefully remove the bowl from the pot.
- Serve while still warm with anything!
Growing up, whenever we had over-ripe bananas in the house, my stepmom and I would make banana bread with the beautiful and coveted Kitchen Aid mixer, which I can only hope that I have in my kitchen one day. My job was to measure out the ingredients and help pour them into the mixer and I remember watching with excitement as they swirled and blended together to make heaven. The best part was and still is licking (or taking entire spoonfuls of) batter from the bowl and wooden spoon, even if it meant getting a tummy ache. Why does batter on a wooden spoon taste so incredible?
The spicy sweet aromas that float from the oven through the house during the excruciating hour of baking banana bread makes my mouth salivate and my tummy grumble. Once the bread is done, I have no self-control and am unable to prevent myself from cutting a piping hot piece and tossing it back and forth in my hand as I take my first of many bites.
Last weekend I clumsily whipped up my stepmom’s famous banana bread in a matter of minutes and popped it into the oven an hour before having to leave the house. An hour later, when we were getting ready to go, I stuck a fork into the middle of my bread and was strangely greeted by goo. I stalled for as long as I could but finally took the bread out of the oven so that we would not be late and it proceeded to collapse on itself. I sadly accepted the fact that this banana bread was a dud but there were too many confounders to identify where I went wrong.
This week I was determined to get back on that horse and bake a successful banana bread. I decided to try a different recipe and chose Smitten Kitchen’s Jacked Up Banana Bread. I meticulously measured every ingredient and followed every direction to the T, which is not my MO, but I figured I needed a guarenteed win after last weeks failure. The batter looked and tasted amazing (check), the smells coming from the oven were salivating (check), the bread was rising, browning, and cracking down the middle (check), and lastly my fork came back clean (check).
Foolproof Banana Bread
- 3 over-ripe mashed bananas
- 1/3 cup melted butter
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1 beaten egg
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1 1/2 cup wheat flour
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
- preheat the oven to 350F (176C)
- melt the butter in the microwave for about 30 seconds and mash the bananas
- mix together the butter, mashed bananas, sugar, egg, vanilla, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove
- slowly add the flour and mix thoroughly
- stir in the chopped walnuts
- pour the batter into a buttered bread pan and bake for about 1 hour or until your fork comes out clean
- if you have self-control and are able to wait for the bread to cool, it will easily slide out of the pan