produce bread: bananas, pumpkins, zucchini?

It's not bread. It's not cake. Just what is it?

When dr bob was young, cakes were Betty Crocker or Duncan Hines from a box. Mom made 'em. The bob made 'em. They never had produce in them. Lots of sugar and high fat icing. Bread was white, full of air, and easily returned to the dough ball state by imaginative kid hands. Not to mention often found in the company of peanut butter and jelly or bologna and cheese. Fortunately at some point in life, things changed. bob evolved into a higher plane of cake consumption.

And then things changed again. With a warning shot across the bow from the updated food pyramid. These produce breads we stumbled upon by chance are less damaging than the traditional versions and seem to be better off for it.

The first was a random save from our massive recipe harvest of years of multiple women's magazines sold to ms_ani in a telephone marketing package deal, who finds it hard to say no on the phone. The second came in a checkout counter impulse buy and got its first trial thanks to a pumpkin pack can grabbed for a Thanksgiving day cheesecake never made. Oops, not! It was from our next stage in life food magazine Cooking Light, which we now seem to use more than Bon Appetit, though both continue to roll in the door month after month and stack up in our cooking library with lots of post-its marking interesting recipes that rarely get a trial run.

Quite by accident a partial categorization of these cake-breads came from a bob's mom's visit. "Quick breads", she said. Sure enough there is a short explanation in the Joy of Cooking, even a section heading in Betty Crocker (but no hint there of what distinguishes a quick bread from a cake). Regular breads rely on yeast to rise, while quick breads just use baking powder (which Laurel's kitchen tells us destroys the B vitamin and thiamin) and perhaps baking soda—quick since no waiting around for rising time is involved—just pop 'em in the oven. Comparing cakes and quick bread recipes shows one obvious difference—cakes have more flour, sugar, and eggs per unit fat content. Could our cooking library be too specialized that we don't have other sources of info on this topic? Do we need more general cooking tomes? Can we e-mail one of those TV chef's?

notes

  1. Produce. As in fresh produce. Which refers to fruits and vegetables. Maybe this is an Americanism. If you think about the word a while, you wonder what it has to do with fruits and vegetables. Must not be in many non-native English speakers' vocabulary.

dried cherry banana bread

ingredients

dry group
2 c all purpose flour
1/2 c whole wheat flour
1/3 c cornmeal
1 t salt
1 t baking powder
wet group
2 c mashed ripe bananas (about 4), food processor does the job
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 c buttermilk
2 T butter, melted
2 T vegetable oil
1/2 c sugar
1/2 t allspice
1/4 t cardamom
1/4 t cinnamon
1/8 t cloves
addins
1/2 cup dried cherries

instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Grease and flour a 9x5 inch loaf pan.
  3. Soak cherries in 1 c boiling water 5 minutes, then drain.
  4. Combine the dry group in a large bowl.
  5. Combine the wet group in a medium bowl (we food process the bananas), then stir into the dry group bowl until just moistened.
  6. Stir in the cherries.
  7. Pour into the loaf pan and bake 60 to 70 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  8. Cool in the pan on a rack 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool completely.

notes

  1. If you cut into 18 1/2 inch slices, each slice gets you:
    Cal 165, Total fat 4g, Sat fat 1g, Chol 28mg, Sod 177mg, Carbs 30mg, Prot 3g.
  2. Options. Hitting a supermarket for supplies in a winter snowstorm, some produce items impersonating 3 ripe peaches talked their way into the shopping basket. Although they turned out to be deceptively not what they appeared to be, they made a great alternative dried cherry replacement here. Peeled, pitted and sliced up like apples headed for a pie, we also used brown sugar in the wet group and since we ran out of cornmeal while emptying the box, we substituted about half with semolina (seemed like our only alternative) and added 2/3 c plain nonfat yogurt to ensure some degree of moistness. Not bad.
  3. We made this over and over again until the next version muscled its way into our favorite spot.

another banana bread

This was the March 97 cover recipe for Cooking Light with the hook "our most apeeling banana bread" (p. 110). It is less dense and comes with the name Jamaican banana bread never explained in the accompanying article "bananas reveal their dark side" by the author abby duchin dinces (all lower case like dr bob). The recipe includes a shredded coconut topping we made once (in spite of bob's skepticism towards shredded coconut) but the extra effort did not seem to deliver enough extra payoff so we never bothered again. Leaving a bag of partially used shredded coconut in our fridge until the next century and then some. We like this a lot too.

ingredients

creamed mixture
2 T stick margarine (butter!), softened
2 T tub light cream cheese, softened
1 c sugar
1 large egg
flour mixture
2 c all-purpose flour
2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/8 t salt
banana mixture
1 c ripe banana, mashed (food process it!)
1/2 c skim milk
2 T dark rum or 1/4 t imitation rum extract
1/2 t grated lime rind
2 t lime juice
1 t vanilla extract
addins
1/4 c chopped pecans, roasted
1/4 c flaked sweetened coconut
topping
1/4 c packed brown sugar
2 t margarine (butter!)
2 t lime juice
2 t dark rum or 1/8 t imitation rum extract
topping addins
2 T chopped pecans, roasted
2 T flaked sweetened coconut

instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Coat an 8x4 inch loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Creamed mixture group: In a large bowl, beat together the margarine (butter!) and cream cheese at medium speed, then add the sugar, beating well, then the egg, beating well again.
  3. Flour mixture group: Combine all this stuff and mix well.
  4. Banana mixture group: Combine all this stuff and mix well. You can just throw it all in the food processor like we do.
  5. Alternately add first the flour mixture and then the banana mixture a bit at a time, mixing well each time, ending with the flour mixture.
  6. Stir in the pecans and coconut.
  7. Pour batter into the pan and bake for 60 minutes.
  8. Let cool in pan 10 minutes, then remove and cool slightly on a wire rack.
  9. If you decide to prepare the topping, combine the topping stuff in a saucepan and bring to a simmer, then cook 1 minute stirring constantly and remove from the heat.
  10. Stir in the topping addins and spoon the result over the loaf.

notes

  1. 16 servings (1/2 inch slices) leads to the following single serving info:
    Cal 187 (26% from fat), Fat 5.4g (sat 1.5g, mono 2.3g, poly 1.2g), Prot 2.9g, Carb 32.2g, Fiber 1.1g, Chol 15mg, Iron 1mg, Sod 105mg, Calc 55mg. Of course this discounts any rich icecream/frozen yogurt you might be tempted to serve it with.

banana-walnut-oatmeal bread

As the new century unfolds, health concerns multiply and bob turns to daily oatmeal intake as one measure in fighting cholesterol. 2004 brings another Cooking Light recipe for banana bread, to which bob could not resist adding the miracle food "walnuts", often found in the company of banana bread anyway. Ani found the recipe and made the first move, with some health upgrades in the flour and sugar ingredients suggested by bob together with the nuts. Then we made it repeatedly several times in succession. We were suitably impressed.

ingredients

dry stuff
1 1/2 c all-purpose flour (upgrade: 1 c white whole wheat flour plus 1/2 c all-purpose flour)
3/4 c sugar (upgrade: use unrefined cane sugar called turbinado or "Sugar in the Raw" and/or half Splenda!)
1 1/2 t baking powder (upgrade: double this with half whole wheat)
1/4 t baking soda (upgrade: double this with half whole wheat)
1/4 t salt
3/4 c regular oats (we just used our daily oatmeal).
wet stuff
1 c mashed ripe banana (about 2 large)
1/3 c buttermilk (= 1/3 c powdered buttermilk in the dry stuff, 1/3 c water in the wet stuff)
1/4 c vegetable oil
1 t vanilla extract
2 large eggs, lightly beaten.
walnuts
1 c chopped walnuts (available in user ready format from Trader Joes)

instructions

  1. This is really easy. Sift the flour and baking powder and soda and salt into a large bowl, then mix in the sugar and oats. That was all the dry stuff.
  2. Then put all the wet stuff in a food processor and process.
  3. Combine the dry and wet stuff together, mix in the walnuts, and pour into a loaf pan sprayed with veggie spray.
  4. Bake at 350 for about 55 minutes in a preheated over until a wooden tooth pick comes out clean when inserted in the center.
  5. Cool 15 minutes in the pan on a wire rack, then invert and remove from pan and cool completely.

notes

  1. Cooking Light, September 2004, p. 164: (reader recipes) "A new classic", recipe by Kay Rothschild for banana-oatmeal loaf. We simplified the instructions. So easy that we do it over and over.
  2. Now that we have a digital camera, we have few illustrations.
  3. Nutrition info for the original recipe (no nuts): 1/12 loaf = serving slice: Calories 192 (28% from fat); Fat 6 g (sat. 1.1g, mono 1.5g, poly 2.9g); Protein 3.8g; Carb 31.4g; Fiber 1.3g; Chol 38mg; Iron 1.2mg; Sodium 154mg; Calc 52mg.
  4. Splenda. The full story is not in yet, but it seems to be the least harmful sugar substitute that cuts calories, although Big Food will try its best to keep us from learning the long term health implications of this chemical. [Thanks to George Orwell for the Big Brother initiative that has led to the derivatives like Big Business, Big Pharma and other slightly sinister societal forces.]
  5. Miracle ingredient. When using whole wheat flour in place of white flour in baking, things don't rise as well, apparently because it has less gluten, so adding some back in can help. King Arthur gave us this hint and sold us the "vital wheat gluten" on-line and we've been adding a heaping tablespoon to our baked goods when we use whole wheat flour. It seems to work.

pumpkin bread

Still to do.

ingredients

 

instructions

  1.  

notes

  1.  

zucchini bread

Still to do.

ingredients

 

instructions

  1.  

notes

  1. Hmm. We don't seem to be finding the right pumpkin or zucchini bread recipes for these slots.
prodbrd.htm: 11-aug-2008 [what, ME cook? 1984 dr bob enterprises]