Ola Rokita

Hi! I am Ola and I want to share with you my simple baking recipes that can change your life and how you feel.
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Banana & Walnut Bread

Ola Rokita12 March 2023Comments (0)

Banana and Walnut Bread

 

The crunchy texture combined with the rich flavor of this banana and walnut bread recipe will make your mouth dance.

Easy to find ingredients

Frequently I have ripe bananas lying around that no one wants to eat. I don’t like throwing them out so I put them to good use. My favorite way to use unwanted bananas is to bake my banana and walnut bread. The bread gets eaten in a flash. In addition to ripe bananas and walnuts, the remaining ingredients, like flour, sugar, butter and eggs, are the standard in most kitchens. So, you can make it anytime without the extra trip to the grocery store. In this recipe I also replace butter with sunflower seed oil, but you can use melted butter instead.

Ripe Bananas and Walnuts

Tip: If the bananas are getting too ripe, but you don’t have time to bake, put them in the freezer. Then, when you’re ready to bake, take the frozen bananas out of the freezer, thaw them, and use to bake your bread.

Take your standard banana bread up a notch

Although bananas alone still make this bread recipe delicious, I like to throw in some walnuts into the mix to give the bread a crunchy texture, richer flavor, and added nutrients. Walnuts are an excellent source of Alpha-Linolenic Acid (2,500mg per 1/4 cups or 28 grams serving) an essential omega-3 fatty acid that is know to have positive effects on the body and brain function. They are also a good source of fiber great for your tummy’s health.

Magic touch of sour cream

To balance the taste of bananas and walnuts, I like to add a few tablespoons of sour cream to this recipe. It complements all the flavors beautifully. You can also use mascarpone cheese if you prefer a less tangy taste.

Ideal flour for this Banana and Walnut Bread recipe

In the U.S. and Canada, even though the traditional All-Purpose flour will work just fine, my favorite flour to use in this recipe is wheat flour from Poland, “Tortowa” type 450. It’s a more delicate flour, great for pastries and beautifully balances the “heaviness” of the bananas, making the bread less dense.

 

 

Banana & Walnut Bread

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ cup sunflower seed oil (can be replaced with unsalted butter)
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil (optional)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 2 very ripe bananas
  • 1 cup raw walnuts
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • tsp baking soda
  • tsp salt
  • tsp cinnamon (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the over to 350° Fahrenheit (180° Celsius).

  2. Prepare a loaf pan by greasing it with sunflower seed oil or coconut oil.

  3. In a medium mixing bowl, using a metal spoon, mix sunflower seed oil and coconut oil with brown sugar.

    Brown sugar and sunflower seed oil
  4. Add sour cream and continue mixing.

    Adding sour cream
  5. Add eggs, one by one, and continue mixing.

    Eggs with sour cream sugar and oil
  6. Then add salt, vanilla extract, and cinnamon if you like.

    Adding vanilla
  7. Mush the bananas using a fork and add them to the mixed ingredients. Mix them all together.

    mushed bananas
  8. Chop the walnuts and add them to the mixture and mix them with the banana batter.

    chopped walnuts
  9. In a separate mixing bowl, mix together flour with baking soda.

  10. Slowly combine the mixed flour with the wet banana and walnut mixture and gently stir until the batter is uniform.

    adding flour
  11. Pour the mixture into the loaf pan.

    banana bread mixture in loaf pan
  12. Bake for about 45 minutes. Check with a toothpick if the bread is fully baked in the middle. If the toothpick comes out wet, add another 5 - 10 minutes.

  13. Let it cool for 10 - 15 minutes. Enjoy with a cup of tea or coffee, or serve it toasted for breakfast with some butter. Yum!

    Baked banana bread

Poppyseed Roll

Ola Rokita01 December 2022Comments (2)

 

Sliced poppy seed roll

Poppyseed roll, known as “Makowiec” in Poland, is a traditional holiday dessert. It’s one of the most popular yeast cakes in Poland.

Benefits of poppy seeds

I typically bake this delicious recipe during the fall and winter months. Many Polish people believe that the more poppy seeds you eat, the wealthier and luckier you become. Others also appreciate its health benefits. Indeed, poppy seeds, or rather the minerals contained in the oil derived from poppy seeds, are very beneficial for skin, nails, and can even help with digestion.

Poppy seeds

Allow some time to make your poppyseed filling

Baking poppyseed roll from scratch takes time, unless you purchase a pre-made poppyseed filling. Outside of Poland it can be difficult to find the pre-made poppyseed filling, so you might need to make it from scratch. Making it at home requires time because you will need to boil the poppyseeds, grind them if you prefer a smoother texture, and then cook them with fruits and nuts. I don’t grind my poppyseeds, but traditionally many bakers do.

During the winter months, when evenings are longer and we tend to spend more time at home, dedicating some time to prepare the poppyseed filling might be less inconvenient. Perhaps this is also why it’s a popular dessert around the holidays.

In a hurry? Purchase the pre-made poppyseed filling.

If you prefer to skip the hassle of making your own poppyseed filling, you can purchase the poppyseed roll kit here. The kit contains a can of pre-made poppyseed filling and a bag of flour ideal for baking yeast cakes.

Any well made poppy seed roll requires a well made yeast dough.

Another great feature of poppyseed roll is the yeast cake. It complements the taste and texture of poppyseeds in perfect harmony. The nutty-like flavor of poppyseeds combined with vanilla and the subtle wheat taste of the yeast cake is divine.

 

Yeast Cake dough

 

The key to a good yeast dough is elasticity, this is why it’s important that the dough is well kneaded, not too moist nor too dry, and has the right amount of warmth to double in size. Whenever I bake yeast cakes, my favorite flour to use is flour from Poland type 550 “Luksusowa”. For more information on how to make the best yeast cake, follow my instructions here.

 

Poppyseed Roll

Ingredients

  • 4 cups flour (I used "Luksusowa" type 550)
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 6 tbsp cane sugar
  • 1 whole egg
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 5 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp dry active yeast
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • tsp orange zest
  • tsp salt

Poppy Seed Filling

  • 500 grams (1.1 lb) poppy seeds
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp unalted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup candied orange peal
  • 1 cup raisins
  • ½ cup cranberries, dates, or apricots
  • 3-5 cups water (start with 3 and add accordingly)
  • 1 cup pecans or walnuts

Instructions

  1. The night before, or at least 3 hours earlier, prepare the raisins by soaking them in boiled water.

    Soaked raisins
  2. Using a medium pot, add 500 grams (1.1 lb) of poppy seeds and pour about 3 cups of water.

    Poppy seeds
  3. Place the pot on the stove top and over a medium to low heat, cook the poppy seeds for about 30 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. As the poppy seeds boil and you notice that you need more water, go ahead and add another 1-2 cups.

    Boiling poppy seeds
  4. After boiling the poppy seeds, strain the extra water using a large sieve placed over a bowl to catch the water. I also add cheese cloth to prevent any of the tiny seeds from escaping.

    Draining water from poppyseeds
  5. Set the poppy seeds aside for 20-30 minutes to cool off and fully drain.

    Drained poppyseeds
  6. Traditionally in Poland people grind the poppy seeds after boiling them, but I find it just as delicious without the extra step of grinding. If you prefer to have a very smooth poppy seed texture, then you can grind the poppy seeds using a meat grinder if you have one at home.

  7. In the meantime, strain the water from the raisins you soaked the night before. Chop the pecans or walnuts, or both, into small pieces. And then chop the dates, apricots or cranberries. You can mix all three, or use other dried fruits that you like most, like figs.

    Dried fruit
  8. Using a medium pot, add the poppy seeds, chopped dried fruits and nuts, raisins, cranberries, candied orange, butter, honey, brown sugar, and vanilla extract. Cook on a medium to low heat while stirring all the ingredients together for about 10-15 minutes.

    Boiling dried fruit with poppy seeds
  9. Cool off the mixture for at least 15 minutes and your poppyseed filling is done!

    poppyseed filling
  10. You can prepare the poppyseed filling the night before, or even a few days earlier. Your poppy seed filling can last about a week in the fridge or you can freeze it for about a month.

Yeast Cake for Poppyseed Roll

  1. In a medium pot, combine milk, eggs, egg yolk, and sugar. Warm the ingredients over a medium heat and mix them using a whisk until the mixture reaches lukewarm temperature. Not higher than 110° Fahrenheit (43°Celsius). Add the yeast and give it another stir.

    eggs, milk and sugar
  2. In the meantime, using a bowl from a stand mixer, combine the flour, vanilla extract, orange zest, and salt. Gently mix the ingredients with a spoon.

    Flour with vanilla and orange zest
  3. Pour the combined liquid ingredients into the bowl with the flour, and mix all the ingredients together with a spoon to get the dough started.

    Mixing yeast cake dough
  4. Then, using a dough hook, knead the dough for about 5 - 8 minutes on medium speed, until the dough starts pealing off the walls of the bowl.

    mixing dough
  5. When the dough is being kneaded, in a small pot, melt the butter over a low heat. Make sure not to burn it. Let the melted butter cool off for a few minutes.

    melt butter
  6. While the dough continues to knead, slowly pour in the melted butter. 

  7. Continue kneading until the butter is absorbed into the dough.

  8. Once the dough is well kneaded, the consistency is elastic, and the outside has a slight sheen, cover the dough with a clean dish towel and let it rest for about 45 - 60 minutes.

    dough ready to rest
  9. When the dough doubles in size, split it into two portions.

  10. You can refrigerate one portion for the following day or make two poppyseed rolls at once which will require double portion of the poppyseed filling. You can also fill the other portion of your dough with chocolate (like Nutella), sweet cheese filling, or fruit preserves.

  11. Using a rolling pin, roll out one portion of the dough into a large rectangle. About 30 cm x 36 cm (14 inches x 11 inches).

    Rolled out dough
  12. Take your prepared poppyseed filling and using a large spoon spread it evenly to cover the surface, leaving a border all around.

    Adding Poppyseed filling
  13. Roll the dough into a log while tucking the side edges and tucking the end edge underneath the roll.

    Rolling Poppyseed roll
  14. You can wrap the log in parchment paper to keep an even shape. One thing to remember is to avoid wrapping it too tightly so that the roll has room to expend as it grows.

    Parchment paper
  15. Let the roll rest for 45 - 60 minutes in a warm room, covered with a clean dish cloth.

  16. Preheat the oven to 170° Celsius (335° Fahrenheit). You'll want to avoid having a very hot oven when baking yeast cakes, especially with filling inside as you may find that on the surface the yeast cake will burn, but on the inside it may not be fully baked.

  17. Once the roll doubles in size, take the leftover egg white and using a basting brush, gently brush it onto the surface.

    Brushing egg white
  18. Bake it for about 35-45 minutes until the roll develops a deep golden color.

  19. Cool it off for at least 20 minutes. Then you can cover it with a sugar glaze.

  20. You can quickly make your sugar glaze by combining 4 tablespoons of powdered sugar with 1 teaspoon of water or lemon juice and cooking it over a low heat for about 2-3 minutes until it turns into a thick liquid.

    poppyseed cake covered in glaze
  21. Enjoy a slice of your poppyseed roll with a cup of tea or coffee.

    poppyseed cake

Fig & Wine Festival Banner

Calling all fig lovers!

I’m happy to share that Ola’s Bakery will be participating at the Fig and Wine Festival on September 10th at the National Botanic Garden in Chantilly, Virginia. For those in the area, I hope you can come out and enjoy some of my delicious crepes and my other yummy baked goodies.

A rare opportunity to sample delicious figs

 

Figs in a bucket

Don’t miss out on the chance to sample variety of figs, Ola’s Bakery goodies, and discover a garden like no others. A place where art is part of the landscape. Also, this garden is not typically open to the general public, making this event even more special.

 

Hobbit Town Sculpture

In addition to the unique venue, there will be lots of opportunities for the visitors to stimulate their senses with outdoor art, wine, music, and great food for an unforgettable experience.

Be sure to stop by and spread the word to your friends and family to join you for a delicious day surrounded by nature.

Purchase your tickets today!

Art Flowers and Flavors Festival

I’m excited to share that Ola’s Bakery will be participating at the Art, Flowers, and Flavors Festival during the Memorial Day Weekend in Chantilly, Virginia. For those in the area, I hope you can come out and enjoy some of my baked goodies in a magical setting.

A Rare Opportunity to Stimulate your Senses

What’s unique about the Art, Flowers, and Flavors Festival is that it’s a rare opportunity to discover a place like no other, where art is part of the landscape. Also, this garden is not typically open to the general public so this event makes it an even rarer experience.

In addition to the unique venue, there will be lots of opportunities for the visitors to stimulate their senses with art, wine, live music, delicious food, and chocolatiers for an unforgettable experience.

It would be wonderful to have you there and if you could help me spread the word about this unique event.

***

 

National Botanic Garden

National Botanic Garden

 

Local Bakers Bake for Ukraine

Ola’s Bakery has joined with other local bakers to raise funds towards humanitarian relief in Ukraine. The bake sale that started today, raised $1,600 and sold out in seven minutes.

As we watch the events in Eastern Europe, we hope that each effort made, no matter how big or small, can make a positive impact on those affected by this crises.

Thank you everyone for your support and the generous donations.

Ola

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