Monday, January 16, 2017

Experimenting with flavors

Blueberry and Orange Walnut
Friendship Breads

In my last post, I described making Friendship Starter. It's a 10 day process that starts with a mixture of yeast, flour, sugar, and milk that you keep on the counter, stir, and "feed" until it's ready to use in a sourdough sweet style bread. (Recipe for the starter is repeated at the bottom of this post.)

Today was the final day of "growing the starter".  At this point, you end up with 3 cups of starter.

I put 1 cup of starter in the refrigerator to give to a friend, and the second cup I kept on the counter to begin another 10 day cycle.

To the 3rd cup of starter, I made this recipe,  

1 c. starter
2/3 c. vegetable oil
3 eggs
2 c. flour
1 c. sugar
½ tsp. salt
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
(original recipe includes 1 tsp. vanilla, but I omitted it at this point.)

In a large bowl, combine starter with oil, sugar, and eggs.  Mix flour, salt, baking powder, etc. Add to batter and mix well. 

At this point, I divided the mixture into 2 batches to try out a couple of different flavors.

To one bowl, I added 1/2 tsp. vanilla and a generous 1/2 cup of frozen wild blueberries. 

To the second bowl, I added the grated rind of an orange (about 1 & 1/2 tsp.) and 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts. I didn't add vanilla.

I buttered and floured mini aluminum loaf pans (3 1/2" x 6 1/2"), and added the batter to about 3/4 full. I ended up with 3 pans of blueberry, and 2 pans of orange/walnut and sprinkled with sugar. Coarse or demerara sugar would be best.

I baked the loaves in a preheated 350 F oven for about 35 minutes until the breads tested done. If you use 9 x 5 loaf pans, bake for about 50 minutes.

The breads are moist and flavorful. Using small loaf pans allows you to experiment with various flavors, extracts, fruits, chocolate, etc. Cinnamon chocolate, apple cinnamon, lemon, cranberry walnut, almond flavored are some ideas to try. If you hit on a good combination, let me know!

1 (.25 oz) pkg. active dry yeast
¼ c. warm water (110 degrees F)
3 c. all-purpose flour
3 c. granulated sugar 
3 c. milk

(Today you will be using only 1 cup each of flour, sugar and milk. The remaining cups of flour, sugar and milk will be used over the next 9 days.)

1. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand 10 minutes. In a 2 quart glass, plastic, or ceramic bowl (do not use metal container or metal spoon), combine 1 c. flour and 1 c. sugar. Mix thoroughly or flour will lump when milk is added. Slowly stir in 1 c. milk and the dissolved yeast mixture. Leave loosely covered at room temperature. 

Consider this Day 1 of the 10 day cycle. 

On days 2-4, stir starter with (non-metal) spoon.
Day 5 – stir in 1 c. flour, 1 c. sugar and 1 c. milk.
Days 6-9, stir only.

Day 10 – stir in 1 c. flour, 1 c. sugar, and 1 c. milk. 

Now you're ready to take 1 cup of the starter and make your Friendship Bread.