Moist Banana Bread Recipe

Moist Banana Bread Recipe
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Saturday, August 29, 2009

How to Bake Quick Bread - Apricot-Orange Nut

We love moist, fruity quick breads--and this is one of our favorites. It's nutty, flavorful, and full of wholesome ingredients. We would like to share this recipe with you and demonstrate the baking principles for wonderful quick breads.

The definition of quick breads is imprecise. Often cookbooks classify muffins, coffeecakes, and biscuits as quick breads--not just those moist loaf breads made without yeast--breads like banana nut bread and date nut bread. And there is a thin line between quick breads and cakes. Quick breads contain less sugar and fat than cakes. They usually, but not always, contain fruits or nuts to add flavor and moisture and make up for the low percentage of fat and sugar. When we refer to quick breads, we're talking about loaf-shaped breads without yeast.

There are two major makeup methods for quick breads--the muffin method and the creaming method. In the creaming method, we cream the fat (butter or shortening) with the sugar until light and then add the other ingredients. In the muffin method, we mix the liquids and the dry ingredients separately and then stir them together until just combined. Today, we will look at the muffin method.

In preparation, grease an 81/2-by 41/2-inch loaf pan. Dust the pan lightly with flour by placing a spoonful in the greased pan and jostling it about by tapping the pan against the heel of your hand. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees with the rack placed in the center of the oven. Your pan should have an even coating as shown.

Here are the ingredients that we will use in our liquid mix:

3/4 cups very hot water

3 tablespoons butter

3/4 cup (5 ounces) diced dried apricots

1 tablespoon orange zest

3/4 cup orange juice

1 large egg

1. Heat the water until very hot, nearly boiling. You can do so in the microwave. Pour the water into a large bowl. The bowl should be large enough to mix the batter in.

2. Add the butter.

3. Dice the apricots into 1/4-inch pieces and add them to the hot water.

4. Grate the outer skin from an orange until you have a tablespoon full. You only want to get the orange peel without scraping deep enough to get the pithy white second layer, which is bitter. Add this zest to the hot water mixture.

5. Squeeze the juice from two oranges. Add 3/4-cup of the juice to the liquid mixture.

6. Stir in one large egg. Use a fork to mix the egg well.

In another bowl, mix the dry ingredients together:

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups oatmeal

1/2 tablespoon baking soda

1/2 tablespoon baking powder

3/4 cup walnuts

Make sure that they are thoroughly mixed. We like to use a large whisk.

7. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Stir with a large spatula until just combined. If it is mixed too much, the action will develop the gluten in the flour and the bread will not be as tender as it should be. (We don't like to make muffins and quick breads with our electric mixer.)

8. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and place it in the oven. Bake the bread for 40 to 45 minutes or until the bread tests done. When it is done, a skewer or large toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf should come out clean.

9. Let the bread cool in the pan on a wire rack for five minutes. Invert the pan and remove the loaf to finish cooling on the wire rack. If the bread does not come free easily, the top edges of the loaf are probably bound to the pan. Try lifting the edges away from the pan with a sharp knife.

Store the bread in the refrigerator where it will keep for up to a week. This bread, like most quick breads, is much better served the next day. The bread can also be frozen.

Peach Variation. This bread is just as good with dried peaches instead of apricots.

Dennis Weaver is the author of "How to Bake", a free 250-page e-book. Which is free at The Prepared Pantry. The Prepared Pantry sells bread mixes and other baking mixes and offers a free Bread Center with recipes and techniques.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Natural Ways to Keep Food Fresh

Research points to the many benefits of eating fresh, unprocessed foods in order to help maintain a healthy diet, the down side to this is that these foods are generally free of preservatives, consequently they spoil faster. There are, however many natural ways to keep food fresh, whether it be fruits, vegetables, fish, meat, poultry, grains, eggs, bread, milk or even cheeses. Most of these methods are normal, common sense things, but there are some that might be surprising to many, all are natural, and they all help with food preservation. Here are some useful tips to help you enjoy the freshest of foods:

Pay close attention to expiration dates when shopping; buy food packages with the latest date printed on it.
Keeping your refrigerator between 38 and 40 degrees F will keep foods the freshest.
There is more temperature fluctuation in the refrigerator door, don't store highly perishable foods there, especially milk.

Dry vegetables and fruits before storing, and do not store them in plastic bags, which trap the ethylene gas that causes produce to ripen faster.


In order to remain at the peak of freshness, meat products require plenty of air circulation around them in the refrigerator.

Meat should be kept in its original wrapping in the refrigerator if you will be using it within two days.
Smoked meats like bacon or ham should be wrapped in a vinegar-soaked cloth.
Meat should be wrapped in foil or freezer paper before being placed in the freezer.

Dairy Products

Make sure to put milk back in refrigerator immediately after using. Always store milk in its original container.
Never store milk in the door; it is where the temperature fluctuates the most. Before storing ice cream place a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface, this will keep it fresher longer. Store ice cream in the main part of the freezer, not in the freezer door. Always wrap cheese in plastic or waxed paper before storing it in the deli drawer. The best way to store eggs is with the pointed side down.

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

Produce releases ethylene gas as it ripens, while this is perfectly natural it does cause other fruits and vegetables to ripen faster. Some produce is more sensitive to ethylene than others, conversely some fruits and vegetables produce more ethylene than others.

Among the more sensitive are green beans, lettuce, watermelon, carrots, apples, eggplant, broccoli, cucumbers and potatoes. The high-ethylene producers include pears, cantaloupe, apricots, tomatoes, bananas, plums, avocados, peaches, kiwis, mangoes, papayas and nectarines. Avoid storing any of the high producers with the more sensitive fruits and vegetables. Always store bananas on the counter, do not refrigerate them. Make sure you wash and dry all produce before storing. Never store produce in plastic bags.
Strawberries, raspberries and blueberries should be stored in the plastic container they came in, keep them in the rear of the refrigerator.

Baked Products

If you will not use bread within a week, first slice it and then freeze it, from there you can remove slices as you need them. Fresh bread should be stored in a dark, cool and dry pantry. To keep pound cake and banana bread fresher always cut slices from the middle, after you take a slice push the two ends together so that you still have a loaf, this way there are no cut ends to go stale! Store cake with half an apple in the container, it will stay moist substantially longer. Store cookies in an airtight container or jar with a slice of bread, this will help keep them softer.

A great way to help keep food fresh is a revolutionary breakthrough in food preservation called eggstrafresh. It is scientifically proven to retain moisture and dramatically reduce oxidation, which actually increases the shelf life of fruits, vegetables and almost all foods, both in the refrigerator andin the pantry. Additionally, eggstrafresh will improve the flavor, taste, natural color and texture of all of your fresh foods. To learn more about this exciting new, maintenance free innovation visit