Saturday, March 24, 2012

Banana jelly

too custardy even for me
A few posts ago I described Shirley Corriher as "wizardly," an assessment based on having read CookWise and BakeWise, but never actually testing one of the recipes.

I baked her banana bread yesterday, the one that involves folding whipped cream into the batter. The first glitch I noticed was her specification of a pan (8 x 4.5) into which the batter would not fit.

So I buttered and floured and parchmented another, larger pan. Then I filled it with the batter and put it atop a hot baking stone in the oven, per her directions.

After her specified baking time (a suspiciously short 35 minutes), the bread was still jiggling under a  thin, pallid crust. So I baked it for another 30 minutes after which it was still wobbly, so I left it in for another 10 minutes. When the bread seemed firm and tested done with a toothpick, I took it out. Let it cool. Cut it. It was like a block of jelly. Not precisely underbaked, but strange. Like it had been steamed or I had forgotten to add flour. Which I hadn't.

I refrigerated the loaf overnight and ate a piece for breakfast and it was tasty, but you would not serve this bread to anyone outside your own family. I found this disillusioning thread on amazon which confirms my fears about BakeWise. I really did believe that Corriher was a wizard and that in BakeWise I had a masterful book of spells! Sad.

Day before yesterday, the goats finally breached the fence between our yard and our neighbors' yard. We love our neighbors. Joan is in her seventies, Bill in his eighties, and they go on epic camping trips in the Nevada backcountry and grow a beautiful vegetable garden that I can see from the window right now. The goats topped the chard, so now there are some red stalks sticking up in the air. They didn't eat all of the chard. As Joan put it, "They just had a little hors d'oeuvre."

Needless to say, we felt terrible and are going to rebuild the fence so this doesn't happen again.  Joan told me that she would accept as compensation for the chard any leftover baked goods my family doesn't eat.

Well, my family isn't going to eat this banana bread, and neither is Joan. This loaf is for the chickens.

77 comments:

  1. How odd. Sounds like one of those instances where you want to serve a slice to the author to find out if this is how they meant it to turn out.

    If Joan can be paid off in leftover baked goods, she's my kind of gal.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I own both Cookwise and Bakewise for years, and they've never felt very accessible to me--I'll look for a recipe and not find it, but also not find anything compelling as I flip through it since it's so text heavy. The Touch of Grave biscuits from Bakewise, though, when made with White Lily flour I bought in the south, turned out great when my husband made them.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow, that is the palest banana bread I've ever seen.

    ReplyDelete
  4. How wonderful to have neighbors like that. I want to be like that when/if I get their age. I suppose in the greater scheme of things, goats eating their chard is not anything to get upset about. Or, maybe they just like you better than they like their chard!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I had the same experience with a Mark Bittman recipe for macaroni and cheese. It had far less cheese than it should have and came out as dry pasta. One begins to wonder if some of these cooks actually cook!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I have a copy of Bakewise but have never used it, mainly because she advocates for the use of butter flavored shortening in some of her recipes. So I have never been able to trust her.

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  7. @Bruce -- According to this article (and the article referenced therein) many don't.

    http://www.mnn.com/food/recipes/blogs/ghostwritten-celebrity-cookbooks-do-you-care

    ReplyDelete
  8. So glad to hear Joan and Bill are well. Give them my regards when you share your baked goodies with them!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I have Cookwise, and it's fascinating to read. I tried her yellow cake recipe which required whipping egg yolks for something ridiculous, like 15 minutes, then and folding it in to a butter/sugar mixture with the cake flour. It came out dry and crumbly. I don't think Shirley should bake. It always seems to end in tears.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I swear by "america's test kitchen" recipe. Even tho its irritatingly detailed (microwave six bananas,drain juice after,cook down juice until reduced by half,ect)it is the best banana bread I have ever made, and I have made some bricks! m.lanzotti

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  11. I was so glad to find this!!! I just made this bread and even when mixing it I had reservations. Ended up baking it way longer then she stated and it was just plan awful. I was very disappointed.

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  65. It is the best banana bread I have ever made, and I have made some bricks!
    Broken Sewer Line Balitmore

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  66. everyone love this banana bread, thanks for sharing it.

    regards
    Kitchen Fitters London

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