Monday, July 16, 2012

Banana Bread, maligned and revisited

Visitors to my Bread Doctor page, where I take (and even sometimes answer) questions on bread, may have noticed replies from me such as "I said...NO MORE QUESTIONS ABOUT BANANA BREAD!!" as well as a recently-added rule barring further BB (as we'll refer to it henceforth) queries. I was driven to ban BB (although that hasn't stopped people from continuing to ask questions) because a) I specialist in yeast breads and know nothing about BB; and b) I've never had a BB that didn't stick in your throat and wasn't and either too banana-y or too dull, and I just don't understand the passion for it.

Which brings us to Amanda, who operates a small microbakery out of her home in Gainesville, Fl.and blogs from bakerbaker.net.

Amanda wrote me in defense of BB, in particular, hers, which makes up 40% of her sales, and which, she assures me, is sublime. Furthermore, she has generously offered to share her recipe here. I haven't yet tried it, but I will. A couple of unusual things drew my attention: The 1/2 cup of vegetable oil, which should give it the moistness of, say, pumpkin bread, and the 1/2 cup of apple sauce. Note also the interesting note at the end: peaks at day 2 or 3. So without further ado, I give you BakerBaker's Banana Bread. (But in case you're wondering, I'm not changing my policy on Bread Doctor: no more BB questions!!)


Amanda's Banana Bread from BakerBaker


2 cups all-purpose flour (I use King Arthur)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

2 eggs
1  cup sugar 
4 ripe bananas (I've used everything from almost green to black, frozen bananas)
1 tsp vanilla (I use mexican vanilla from Cozumel)
1/2 cup vegetable oil (or canola, but not butter)
1/2 cup applesauce, natural - no added sugars
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4-1/2 cup chopped, toasted walnuts plus a small amount for topping

Whisk together the first four ingredients in a large bowl. Cream eggs and sugar in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, add bananas and mix until they are broken up well. Add vanilla, oil, applesauce, cinnamon, and nutmeg to banana mixture. Add flour mixture and mix very lightly, just until most of the flour is wet. Then mix by hand until all the flour is wet, Make sure to go all the way to the bottom of the mixing bowl in a "folding" action. Add nuts, if desired. The mixture will be very loose and chunky. The key to great banana bread is being able to adjust for "dry" bananas at this time. Right at this point, it is very much like making yeast breads!

Pour into a greased loaf pan(this will make a nice large loaf) or some into a loaf pan and then finish the batter off in muffin tins. Fill to 2/3 of your chosen pan and, if desired, sprinkle with un-toasted reserved walnuts. Bake at 350 F until done ~ 1 hour. It will be golden brown and will spring back when gently pressed with your finger. Let cool for 5 minutes and then remove from the pan to cool completely. 

This amazing bread will continue to moisten as it rests, peaking at about day 2-3.

2 comments:

  1. I understand that you don't want to answer any questions about banana bread. I also understand your aversion to some banana quick breads that are too puddingy or too bland or too banana-y.

    But I feel compelled to rave about the fabulous banana cinnamon buns (yeasted) I have made based on a recipe in the Tassajara Bread Book by Edward Espe Brown.

    These cinnamon buns neither stick in your throat, nor do they taste dull, nor are they too banana-y.

    My take on the recipe is outlined here: http://etherwork.net/blog/?p=578

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  2. Well, I don't have quite the antipathy towards BB that you do, but it's not my favorite quick bread. My husband and kids LOVE it, though, so I'm still looking for a recipe that will wow me, too. Maybe this one is it.

    Amanda

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