Saturday, November 16, 2013

Baking: Banana Bread

You know how there are some things you bake because you just always happen to have those ingredients lying around, or because they are so darn easy, or because they are just that delicious?  Well, I have always made banana bread, probably more than anything else ever, because it fits all three of the above criteria to a T.

It's the surest and easiest way to get rid of bananas when they are so ripe that they are practically a packaged fruit cocktail.  Do you know what I'm talking about?  The situation where you have bought too many bananas and you are eating as many as you can but they have started to spot and sag and wrinkle and they are so ripe that they are practically mealy?  And fruit flies are hovering, awaiting the glorious day when they can swarm the rotted carcasses of your beloved fruit?

You may think that I am getting way ahead of myself here, but I assure you this is how it goes down.  And banana bread is the perfect solution.

Unlike all the other times I make banana bread (when it becomes "bake or break" time), this time, I was waiting... and waiting.... and waiting for the bananas to get to that riper-than-thou state.  I had stumbled upon a recipe for banana bread that I was really itching to try out.  And for the first time I found myself in the unenviable state of waiting so I could make this darn bread!
Mashed to baby food consistency... yum.
Wow, it is hard to wait for bananas to ripen.  I am impatient.  (Although,  at least they allow you to visibly see their status.  I'm looking at you, avocados.  Check this article.)

The recipe calls for creme fraiche or sour cream, but I used plain yogurt.  I reasoned that it is healthier and easier to source than creme fraiche, and easier to use up than sour cream.

Recipe (Flour's Famous Banana Bread Recipe, courtesy of Food Network)
  • 1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 3 1/2 bananas, very ripe, mashed
  • 2 tablespoons creme fraiche or sour cream (I used plain yogurt)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup walnuts, chopped (I skipped the nuts)
What to do next?  This is a very bullet-point heavy recipe, I realize. 
  • Set oven to 176.66 degrees Celsius (oh you hate that huh?), line the bottom of a loaf pan with parchment paper.  
  • Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
  • Beat sugar and eggs with a whisk until light and fluffy, about 10 minutes (I absolutely did not have the patience to do this.  My eggs were so not fluffy.)
  • Drizzle in oil.
  • Add mashed bananas, yogurt, and vanilla.
  • Fold in dry ingredients (and nuts, if you like that sort of thing).
  • Pour into lined loaf pan and bake for about 45 minutes to an hour.

No joke.  This bread is really amazing.  Creamy, perfect soft interior with a just right chewy exterior.  It's also really easy to make.  I would wait for whole bunches of bananas to ripen just to make this bread.   Try it!  I hope you like it!

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