Friday, May 01, 2009

Recipe: Banana Bread

This is a slightly adapted recipe from James Beard's paperback version of his Beard on Bread book, from 1973. He has two banana bread recipes, but the one I sort of followed is from page 147, that uses two bananas instead of three (page 146). I've tried both of them, but like this one better. It's not so heavy, and sticky-gooey, but is still full of banana-y goodness. It also makes a really nice base for a dessert, or toast for breakfast.

If you prefer your banana bread sticky-gooey, go with three bananas, skip the soured milk, and use half sugar/half honey.

We monkeys lurves our bananas!

Yield: one loaf
Time: 15-20 minutes prep; 60 minutes at 350F

  • 2 c. all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. of butter (1 stick, or 1/4 lb.), softened
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 2 medium sized very ripe bananas, well mashed
  • 1/3 c. of milk
  • 1 Tbs. of lemon juice or vinegar
  • 1/2 c. of chopped walnuts
  1. cream the sugar into the softened butter, little by little, until well mixed
  2. plop the flour, baking soda, and salt into a bowl, and fluff it up with a fork, whisk, or whatever, to make sure it's well mixed
  3. add the lemon juice or vinegar to the milk, and let it curdle
  4. mix your eggs and curdled milk into the butter/sugar mixture, and whisk it all together until well incorporated
  5. mix some of the dry ingredients into the wet ones, about 1/3 to 1/2 cup at a time, stirring well, between additions, until you have a nice batter
  6. stir in the chopped walnuts
  7. pour the batter into a buttered/greased loaf tin, and bake at 350F for about an hour
  1. I see no reason not to use buttermilk, if you have it, because all the dose of acid to the regular milk does is curdle it, effectively making it into buttermilk, anyway. All you really need is the acid to interact with the baking soda to make it rise. That's the ChemE major in me talking.
  2. There's no reason to get out an electric mixer for this batter -- a spoon or fork does the job just fine, or a whisk, if you prefer.
  3. Feel free to mix this batter all you want. It's not like a muffin batter that will form wormholes if you overmix it, but I see no reason to overdo it, either.
  4. If you're pressed for time, it's fine to melt the butter on the stovetop or in a microwave, rather than letting it sit out on the counter.
  5. I used approx. 2/3 c. of chopped walnuts this time, but up to 1 c. still works, and rises properly.

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