Showing posts with label easy bread. Show all posts
Showing posts with label easy bread. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

How to Make Nutella Banana Split Bread by Cleo Coyle

This is a beautiful bread that will impress your friends and family by giving them the taste of two different breads in every slice: Chocolate-Hazelnut "Nutella" Bread on top and Banana Bread on the bottom. 

My recipe below will show you how easy this bread is to make with one bowl and one batter. I've replaced traditional butter with light buttermilk and canola oil, and you can even make your own Nutella, if you like (more on that below)...

Cleo Coyle's
Banana Split Bread

Cleo Coyle, banana masher,
is author of The
Coffeehouse Mysteries
My new Coffeehouse Mystery Newsletter is going out later this week with more recipes and fun contest info. It will also have more step-by-step photos of this recipe along with a free, downloadable PDF. 

Have you subscribed to my newsletter yet? Just type your
e-mail address into the box below...




1 large egg

1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil (or cold pressed coconut oil, measure in liquid form)

1/4 cup light buttermilk (shake before measuring)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (or 1/4 teaspoon table salt) 

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup white granulated sugar

1/4 cup light brown sugar (lightly packed)

4 ripe bananas (medium-size), mashed well (1-1/2 cups mashed)
               (I place ripe bananas 
on a flat plate and use a fork
                to really mash them well. After mashing, they must
                measure 1-1/2 cups.)

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup Nutella chocolate-hazelnut spread (store bought or homemade**)

(Topping) 1/3 cup chopped walnuts or hazelnuts 

**Would you like to make your own Nutella? It's very easy. You can get the recipe I use, along with more than 20 other tasty recipes in the appendix of my Coffeehouse Mystery A Brew to a Kill, newly released in paperback. To learn more, click here.


Step 1 - Prep oven and pan: Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan and create a parchment paper sling (see photo in this week's Coffeehouse Newsletter). This sling will allow you to lift the bread out of the pan easily.

Step 2 – One bowl mixing method: Whisk the egg well. Add the oil, buttermilk, vanilla extract, salt, baking soda, baking powder. Whisk until well blended. Add the white and light brown sugars and whisk until smooth. Now stir in the mashed ripe bananas, combining well. Finally, stir in the flour, making sure all of the flour is incorporated into the batter, but do not over-mix. Batter will be thick.

Step 3 – Create the Nutella layer: Scoop all but 1 full cup of the batter into the prepared pan. Use the back of a spoon to even it out into a smooth layer that reaches all four corners of the pan. Set aside. Go back to the bowl where you left the remaining 1 cup batter and mix in ½ cup of Nutella. Mix well. The batter should be completely dark. Pour this mixture onto the banana batter. Use the back of the spoon to smooth it into an even layer.

Step 4 – Top with nuts and bake: Sprinkle the chopped nuts over the top of the batter. Bake for about 1 hour (it may take a little longer or not, depending on your oven). The bread is done when the top is firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted deep into the center comes out clean of wet batter. Cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack before carefully removing from the pan. Use a serrated knife to gently cut slices and note that warm bread will crumble. As the bread cools, it will be easier to slice without crumbling. (To speed up the cooling process, pop the bread in a refrigerator for 15 to 20 minutes.) And may you...

My new Coffeehouse Newsletter is
going out later this week. Have you subscribed?
(Scroll back up to the "subscribe" box and...)

Eat (and read) with joy! 
~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Yes, this is me, Cleo (aka Alice). 
Friend me on facebook here.
Follow me on twitter here
Visit my online coffeehouse here.

To view the
Coffeehouse Mystery
book trailer, click here.

Last year's
hardcover bestseller
has just released in its

A Brew to a Kill

To learn more,
click here. 

"A foodie's delight...
And a satisfyingly
rich mystery."

~ Kirkus Reviews

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are bestselling
works of amateur sleuth fiction set in a landmark
Greenwich Village coffeehouse, and each of the
12 titles includes the added bonus of recipes. 


The Ghost and
Mrs. McClure

Book #1 of 

The Haunted Bookshop
, which Cleo writes
under the name
Alice Kimberly

To learn more, click here.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Homemade Artisanal Bread -- the Easy Way!

Let's be honest -- raise your hand if you have ever broken off or sliced a piece of bread to munch the minute you brought it home. Um, might there have even been a little munching in the car on the way home?

What is it about bread? It's great with butter, jam, ham, and this time of year -- apple butter! It's such a simple thing, really, but it's still a treat.

This whole bread thing started because my mother wanted a New York Rye. Those of you who live in big cities like New York and Chicago are thinking so buy her a loaf. What's the big deal?

Well, it's a one hour drive each way to the closet loaf of New York Rye. Yes, we do have bakeries, but they tend to bake things like Sunflower Seed-Spelt-Olive-Raisin-Whole Wheat Bread. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

In my experience (and I think most of us are authorities on bread, having eaten it most of our lives) the best bread has precious few ingredients. And really boring ones at that! Flour, salt, water, yeast. That pretty much covers it.

But in our busy lives, there are issues with baking our own bread. You have to plan ahead to buy bread flour and yeast for starters. It has to be kneaded. It has to rise. Then it has to be punched down and kneaded again. Then, heaven forbid, another rising! Seriously, who has time for all that?

For years I've gotten away with using a bread machine. (Shh, they'll never know if you take the bread out after the first rising, shape it and let it rise a second time before baking. It won't have that funky bread machine look. You can even make rolls that way!)

So as I was flipping through a Cook's Illustrated cookbook, I screeched to a dead stop when I saw Almost No Knead Bread. Was it possible? Cook's is an extremely reliable source. Hmm. So I tried. The first loaf, duly made with rye for my mother, was, well, edible if not exciting. So I went back and made the plain bread recipe.

I won't lie that it doesn't need to rise. It does. But you don't need bread flour, and it needs almost no kneading! That part is so true! Apparently this recipe originated with a baker named Jim Lahey at the Sullivan Street Bakery. The New York Times published the recipe, and people have been tweaking it ever since.

Cook's added some ingredients. I particularly liked the addition of beer. I'm not quite convinced about the necessity of vinegar, though, especially since it's not in the original recipe. I will also add a touch more salt the next time I bake it. Cook's uses 1 teaspoon, Lahey used 1 1/4 and quite frankly, a teeny bit more salt would be good.

It's a very simple recipe. Honestly, the biggest chore for me was figuring out the timing. The first rising should be between 12 and 18 hours. If, like my mother, you're a morning baker, then you end up having to rush to do the second rising and the baking late in the evening. If you're a mid-morning baker, then you're looking at midnight. I found that by making the dough after dinner (and that part is so easy that it's really mindless), it can rise overnight and be baked the next day. Mine was ready by lunchtime. (With a little brie and an apple -- yum!)

There's nothing tricky about this recipe, which is what's so very lovely about it. I'm going to number the steps and hopefully have pictures of most of them.

I have a young cat who is obsessed with biting plastic, so I just popped the rising dough into the COLD oven for the night so I wouldn't have to worry about her attacking it. If you don't have a plastic-obsessed cat, you can leave it in a draft-free location at room temperature, about 70 degrees.

Almost No-Knead Bread

parchment paper
plastic wrap
kitchen towel
6 - 8 quart heavy covered pot (Dutch Oven) Note: This starts at a very high temperature. The original recipe preheats the oven only to 450. Be sure the handles on your pot can withstand high temperatures of 450 to 500.

3 cups plain flour + more for kneading
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast (that's not a typo 1/4 teaspoon)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup mild beer (I used Heineken)
3/4 cup tepid water
1 tablespoon vinegar
additional water
Kosher salt

1. In the evening, place flour, yeast, and salt in a bowl and combine. Add beer, water, and vinegar and stir until blended. The dough will look shaggy. Cover with plastic wrap, slide into a cold oven and go to bed.

Mix ingredients.

Shaggy dough

2. 12 to 18 hours later the dough will appear bubbly. Pour a little flour on a work surface, turn the dough onto it and knead with the heel of your hand 12 to 15 times, folding it over onto itself.

Bubbly dough after 12 hours.

Knead lightly.

3. Tear off a good-sized chunk of parchment paper and deposit the dough, seam side down on the paper.

Cover with a kitchen towel and place in draft-free location while it rises, about two hours. (Note: after 1 1/2 hours you need to turn on your oven.)

Place on parchment paper.

4. Place the covered pot in the oven and preheat to 500 about 1/2 hour. The dough should have doubled in size. Brush the top with cold water and sprinkle with Kosher salt.

Brush with water and sprinkle with Kosher salt.

Lift it using the parchment paper and place it with parchment paper inside the HOT pot. Cover and place in the oven. Turn the temperature down to 450. Set timer for 30 minutes.

5. After 30 minutes, take the lid off of the pot. Bake another 20-30 minutes. The crust should be golden brown. Take care removing from hot pot. I found two spatulas were perfect for lifting it out.

Next attempt -- New York Rye!