The Best Sourdough Discard Banana Bread

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In these uncertain times there is one thing I know for sure. People find comfort in baking bread. Trending all over the internet are the most beautiful moist loaves of banana bread and artistic sourdough boules, baguettes and focaccia. Clearly, there are two kinds of bakers. Those who like to get a quick sweet fix in a banana bread and those that prefer the long, often days process, of an artisanal loaf.

simple sourdough boule

What if we could meld these two unlikely classes of bread into one harmonious loaf? Wouldn’t it be nice….and what if we could all sit around the same table and break bread together?

Yes, let’s do it.

sourdough starter alive and healthy

Sourdough baking is not all that complicated once you have become the proud owner of some sourdough starter. Starter is a simple mix of fermented flour and water. It contains wild yeast and lactobacilli bacteria. It is what makes the bread rise. It’s “alive” and it needs to be maintained or “fed”. Sourdough discard, on the other hand, is that leftover starter, not used in the days baking process. Many bakers either throw the discard in the trash or they try to reduce the amount of starter they maintain keeping as little as 10 grams. Still, others, like me, prefer to repurpose it into waffles, crackers and quick breads. A typical starter is equal parts water and flour known as 100% hydration. This makes it easy to swap out some of the flour and liquid by weight in most any baking recipe for the sourdough discard. Here is a link for a full explanation on how it all works: Cultures For Health

Sourdough Date ‘n Honey Banana Bread

1 ½ cups (200 g) all-purpose flour

½ cup (40 g) white whole wheat flour

½ teaspoon fine sea salt

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 cup (150 g) pitted dates, chopped

3 tablespoons hot water

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

2 eggs

3 over-ripe bananas, mashed

¾ cup (125 g) sourdough discard

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons lemon olive oil or plain olive oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Zest of a lemon

½ cup chopped candied nuts

Heat your oven to 350ºF. Coat a 9” x 5” loaf pan with no-stick baking spray. In bowl whisk both flours, salt and baking soda; set aside. In food processor, pulse dates and hot water until finely chopped. In large mixer bowl, cream butter and date mixture until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time. While mixing, scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add banana, sourdough, honey, olive oil vanilla and zest; blend well. Add flour mixture slowly, pausing to scrape down the sides if necessary. Pour the batter into the 9” x 5” baking pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle nuts evenly over top. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until golden brown and wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.  Let cool in pan for 10 minutes and then gently remove onto a wire rack to cool completely. Makes 1 loaf.

Maple Blueberry French Toast Muffins

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It seems this is the third time I am experimenting with a version of one of my favorite recipes. It happens when “I spy” a new product in the grocery store. I am not sure how long Pepperidge Farm has been making thick sliced blueberry swirl bread, but upon seeing it on the shelf I was immediately inspired to create this new version of a French toast muffin. We love stuffed blueberry French toast, so why not a jazzed up muffin?

Loaded with healthy wild blueberries and the very best Vermont maple syrup I guarantee a batch of these warm muffins will get you through the coldest of winter days.

Maple Blueberry French Toast Muffins

  • Servings: 14
  • Difficulty: easy
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¼ cup milk

3 tablespoons Vermont maple syrup plus additional for serving

3 eggs

4 slices (thick sliced) blueberry swirl bread, crusts removed, cut into ½-inch cubes

2 cups all-purpose flour plus a teaspoon

½ cup packed light brown sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon baking soda

½ cup buttermilk

1 stick unsalted butter, melted

1 cup wild blueberries, fresh or frozen 

Heat oven 400F. Grease 14 standard size muffin cups with no-stick baking spray or line with paper cups. In medium bowl, whisk milk, 1 tablespoon of maple syrup and 1 egg until blended. Add bread; gently stir to coat all the bread pieces (this is the French toast topping). In medium bowl, mix 2 cups of flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt until combined. In another bowl, whisk remaining 2 eggs for 30 seconds. Add buttermilk, 2 tablespoons of maple syrup and melted butter; whisk well.  Pour the wet ingredients over the dry; blend just until the dry ingredients are moistened (do not over mix). Toss blueberries with remaining teaspoon of flour. Gently fold blueberries into batter. Divide the batter among the muffin cups. Spoon the French toast topping evenly over the batter; pressing down slightly. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown and wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Invert the muffins onto a wire rack, turn them upright; cool 5 minutes. Drizzle additional maple syrup over top of warm muffins just before serving. Makes 14 muffins.

And if you would like to see my previous versions of this recipe check them out here Pepperidge Farm also makes other flavors of this bread including Maple Brown Sugar and Apple Swirl, so the sky is the limit for muffin flavor combinations. Have fun with it and let me know what you come up with. BTW, this is not a sponsored post. I just love these products.

Italian Style Zucchini Bread: A Challenge

A boatload of zucchini is never a problem around here as we enjoy it so many ways. You can find one of my favorite recipes here for funfetti zucchini bread, but today we are going with an Italian spin on the loaf. It was a challenge to get it right.

Inspired and intrigued by Deb Wise’s recipe for a Tuscan Pignoli Orange Zucchini Bread on my recipes.com I immediately went to work to change it. At first glance, I loved her use of almond and semolina flours in the mix, but then I noticed 2 teaspoons of baking soda plus 1 of baking powder and a red flag went up. I hate the metallic bitterness of unreacted baking soda in quick breads and muffins and I just did not think there was enough acidity in the recipe to balance out the baking soda and allow it to do its job. I also noted an overload of oil and sugar in the ingredient list which conjured up an overly sweet and greasy loaf image. I find most quick breads don’t ever suffer from a reduction in the oil and the sugar in the recipe and in my mind it feels so much healthier.

In my first attempt, I reduced the baking soda form 2 teaspoons to 1 1/2 teaspoons plus I added 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice. I reduced the sugar by 1/4 cup and the oil by 1/3 cup. I did not use the nuts (too expensive an ingredient to experiment with), but kept everything else the same. The result is the loaf pictured above. It was greasy and tasted slightly metallic. It was sweet enough, so I opted out of the icing. Did you notice it is slightly sunken in? That is the result of too much leavening. I knew it needed further refinement.

The next loaf required a dramatic decrease in baking soda (from 2 teaspoons to 1), oil (from 1 cup to 1/2 cup) and sugar (1 1/4 cups to 3/4 cup) and the addition of 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and the results were deliciously amazing. First, the aroma is super nutty and the flavor is bright with citrus and just a touch of sweetness. The texture is perfectly light without any greasy feel. Bonus points for a perfect rise without sinking. My husband described it as “fresher tasting”.

Tuscan Lemon Zucchini Bread

  • 1 cup (about 4 1/4 oz.) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (about 2 3/4 oz.) semolina flour
  • 1/2 cup (about 1 3/4 oz.) almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (I use avocado oil)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cups grated unpeeled zucchini *

Heat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9- x 5-inch loaf pan with baking spray. Whisk together flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl just until combined. Place eggs in a large bowl; lightly whisk. Add sugar, oil, vanilla, and lemon juice and zest; whisk until smooth. Stir in grated zucchini. Add flour mixture to egg mixture, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Do not overmix. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool bread in pan on a wire rack 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of pan to loosen bread. Remove bread from pan, and cool completely on rack.

I am fresh out of grief lessons, but don’t want to give up on blogging. From time to time, I hope you enjoy the recipes shared here. You can see more of what I do on instagram @goodgriefcook