BANANA BREAD – Dave’s family recipe from before the time of standardized measurements and oven temps

1 cup sugar

1 cup shortening

3 overripe bananas, mashed

1 egg

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup chopped nuts, optional

Cream the sugar and shortening.  Add the bananas and egg, mix just until blended.  Add the remaining ingredients and blend again.  Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake at 350 for 1 hour.  Nothing could be so easy and yet so good.

 

SOURDOUGH ENGLISH MUFFINS – from “The Homestyle Amish Kitchen Cookbook”, compiled by Georgia Varozza.  All sourdough recipes come from this one book.  I highly recommend it.

2 ½ teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast

½ cup warm water

3 cups flour, approximately

1 cup Sourdough started – recipe follows

2 tablespoons oil

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

Cornmeal

 

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water; let stand until bubbly, about 10 minutes.  (I usually add a very small pinch of sugar to kickstart the bubbling process.) Add 2 cups of flour, sourdough starter, oil, sugar, and salt.  By hand, stir until smooth.  Gradually stir in enough remaining flour to make a firm dough.

Turn out dough onto a floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.  Place in a greased bowl, turning to grease all surfaces.  Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

Punch down dough, let rest 5 minutes.  On a surface that has been sprinkled with cornmeal, roll out dough to about ¼ inch (I go about ½ inch) thickness.  With a round biscuit cutter, cut dough into circles and turn to coat top with cornmeal.  Put onto a lightly greased cookie sheet and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.

Carefully lift each English muffin from the cookie sheet and place in a lightly greased griddle or frying pan.  Cook for 10 minutes on each side or until deep golden brown.

NOTES:  I didn’t feel like my biscuit cutters were big enough, so I use a tuna can to cut my muffins.  Be sure to punch a hole in the bottom of the can to allow air to escape as you push down on it.  Also, here is a great use for a cast iron skillet or griddle.

 

SOUR DOUGH STARTER – see credit above.

2 cups warm water

2 packages active dry yeast – 4 ½ teaspoons

2 cups flour

In a glass or ceramic – not metal – bowl, dissolve yeast in water and let set until bubbly, about 10 minutes.  Stir in flour.  Let set at room temperature, covered, at least 2 days before using.  Stir occasionally.  To store, stir it down and put into a jar.  Cover and keep in the refrigerator.  In order to keep started a long time, it’s necessary to replace some of the starter with fresh.  You can do this by taking out 1 cup started and replenishing with 1 cup flour and 1 cup water; mix and let stand until bubbly, cover, and store in refrigerator.