Growing up I became accustomed to the smell of baking bread when I entered my grandmother’s house after school. There’s something about the smell of fresh baked bread. It sparks memories and fills the heart with great comfort and a feeling of home. Just walking past a bakery makes me smile.
One particular day I walked into my grandmother’s kitchen and the smell of fresh baked bread was noticeably absent. Entering the living room I found my grandmother in her favorite spot happily lost in her daily crossword puzzle.
She told me she had decided to stop making bread. The arthritis in her hands was just becoming too painful to knead dough. I told her I would knead the dough if she would teach me how to bake bread. She stood right up, marched me into the kitchen and at sixteen-years of age, I baked my first loaf of bread and have been doing so ever since.
Everybody’s mom has a favorite bread recipe. My grandmother’s bread was always made using a sourdough starter. The recipe below is not sourdough; I’ve created and used sourdough starters in the past but these days I simply don’t want to spend the time necessary to keep a starter alive. Besides I’m sure you’ve heard the rumors – we trashy showbiz types travel a lot.
The recipe below is one of my breakfast favorites and is a quick bread, no yeast! It was inspired by Edward Espe Brown’s recipe in his seminal book, “The Tassayara Bread Book”. Rightly called by the Washington Post, “The Bible for Bread Baking”. This book has taught me a lot about baking that I did not know, thank you.
Before reading Brown’s book, baking bread was always about yeast and flours and the creation of time raised savory breads. After reading Brown’s book I became interested enough in quick breads to give it try and I’m richer for it.
Before we get started you should know I don’t use wheat. According to Dr. William Davis, cardiologist and author, modern wheat has been hybridized (crossing different strains to generate new characteristics; 5% of proteins generated in the offspring, for instance, are not present in either parent), backcrossed (repeated crossing to winnow out a specific trait, e.g., short stature), and hybridized with non-wheat plants (to introduce entirely unique genes). There are also chemical, gamma, and x-ray mutagenesis, i.e., the use of obnoxious stimuli to induce mutations that can then be propagated in offspring. This is how BASF’s “Clearfield Wheat” was created, for example, by exposing the seeds and embryos to the industrial chemical, sodium azide, which is highly toxic to humans. (1)
I don’t need that and neither do you. So unless you’re able to buy organic, non-hybridized wheat such as, Einkorn, you might consider baking with spelt too. It’s a good, nutty tasting nutritious alternative to wheat. It’s cheap and available at health food stores virtually everywhere. We buy ours at Natural Grocers.
Banana Bread with Walnuts and Mini Chocolate Chips
Prep Time: About 10:00 minutes
Cooking Time: 45:00 to 50:00 minutes
Tools you’ll need:
A Medium Mixing Bowl
Bread Pan (if you don’t have one, buy one. It’s a good thing to have)
A Spoon for Mixing
2 cups whole grain spelt (or white spelt)
¼ teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ cup organic turbinado raw cane sugar (brown sugar or honey work well too)
½ cup salt free butter
Rind, grated from 1 lemon
3 large ripe bananas
2 eggs, beaten
½ cup of walnuts, chopped
¼ cup mini-semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Butter the bread pan.
Mix the spelt, sugar and salt together. Cream the butter and sugar, add the eggs and the lemon rind and combine, add the spelt mixture, mix together then add the bananas and combine until smooth, then fold in the walnuts and chocolate chips
Bake for 45:00 to 50:00 minutes. Use a toothpick inserted into the middle of the loaf to test for doneness. If the toothpick comes out dry and clean, your bread is done. Allow the bread to rest 10:00 in the pan then remove to a cooling rack and let it rest another 10:00 minutes before cutting, if you can resist.