Posted by: icekaffe | 20. November 2011

Bananers and mash

In the Western world, bread is a staple food. I never understood why in Asia bread is almost ignored entirely, yet in every other part of the world people eat some form of glutenised grain powder mixed with water. We underestimate how important bread is until we realize that nonsense sweetener is being put in 80% of the breads in your typical supermarket or the price for a loaf is over two dollars. After all, despite its importance, no one wants to pay a lot for bread.

Unfortunately, I am not a good baker. Sure, I have succeeded in baking something that others enjoy eating, but it’s all from luck. I simply cannot repeat the process. Maybe it’s a good thing, though. Bread making is a strenuous activity – kneading puts stress on the hands and also dries out the skin. It’s also very messy. Nonetheless, there is nothing better than the smell of a fresh baguette or loaf of focaccia, other than the taste of either with some marmalade or olive oil.

Banana bread is an exception. Ever notice how you never notice banana bread being sold in stores? Probably not. This isn’t to say that banana bread isn’t sold in stores… but honestly I can’t say that I’ve seen it outside of TJ’s or another similar. It’s just not worth it. Besides likely being more perishable than most bread, it would be the equivalent of buying a pre-made PBJ. Anyone can make banana bread and it almost always tastes good. There is no kneading and if you’re like me you always end up leaving your bananas to go brown. Banana bread, unlike people, loves brown bananas.

I have used a few different recipes and usually there is little variation. Preferential differences come from moistness, sweetness, and er… banana-chunkiness. The recipe I have been using lately incorporates yogurt. Great, because I will look for any excuse to use wonderful Greek yogurt in cooking. I found the recipe from a simple google search, which was copied by another WordPress user from America’s Test Kitchen. This is truly one of the strangest cooking shows on TV (it airs on PBS, at least). The host, who is named Chris IIRC, is somewhat of a character. He has this strange habit of making remarks that seem slightly offensive, but you think maybe he’s just joking around but doesn’t know how to show the right facial expression. I don’t know. Anyways, I never did see them make this banana bread, but like I said – banana bread is easy to make. For the most part.

The recipe called for two cups of flower, 3/4 cup of sugar, half a teaspoon of baking soda and salt each – these are the dry ingredients. I mixed these separately in a rather large bowl. Unfortunately, after already having gone to the store to get ingredients that I lacked, we were out of sugar. Luckily we had some left next to the coffee machine, and as a virulent opponent of sugar in coffee I used all of it. It still wasn’t enough. So I used the rest of the maple syrup, which was actually something I had been wanting to try for a while. There still wasn’t a 3/4 cup of sweetness, but the bread usually turns out quite sweet, what with the sugar in the bananas and all.

The wet ingredients consist of 6 tablespoons of butter, two eggs, a teaspoon of vanilla, and a quarter cup of yogurt. I should add that the butter should be MELTED. Somehow, despite having made this exact recipe several times, it slipped my mind to melt the butter. It didn’t harm the recipe too much, but it’s annoying to mix. The yogurt I used was Fage greek yogurt, which in my opinion is actually the best Greek yogurt available in most stores. It has an unparalleled thickness.

The bananas, as mentioned earlier, should be well ripe. If they are not at least as brown as those seen in the picture, then you should wait. I have even used bananas when they are black and the peels rub off with the slightest touch. They should then be gently mashed, NOT put in a food processor. Of course, this all depends on your own tastes. I personally found that the chunkiness of the banana really lends itself well and if you don’t like that, well that’s you but do you really like banana bread? I kid! Or do I?

So after mashing the bananas looked as so in this picture. You can actually see some of the chunks. The bananas should then be mixed with the wet ingredients, which are then carefully folded into the dry ingredients – to avoid overmashing the bananas.

Then there was a weird trick. Or maybe not so weird, but this just emphasizes my status as a novice. The batter will be placed into a buttered and FLOURED pan. Apparently the flour helps the bread to rise. Okay, fine. I have never tried the contrary, not with this recipe, but when making other recipes it went fine without. Perhaps it’s because this batter is much more moist – it’s almost like pancake batter. Mmm.. perhaps I should make pancakes out of these sometime.

After baking in a pre-heated oven of 350 degrees for about fifty minutes, the end result was this. It is a very moist and golden bread, something different from other banana breads I’ve made. They usually turn out browner. I definately noticed the sugar reduction, but it was pleasant and forced the taste buds to concentrate on the banana.

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Responses

  1. Oh my gosh, what a fabulous Banana Bread this is. I attempted to eat some once, but some dumb bitch named Lucy chewed it and spit it on the floor. I actually think it looks quite nice.

    Also, America’s Test Kitchen is my number one favorite cooking show. I even like reading Cooks Illustrated, and I was at B&N the other day and considered buying the collected Cooks Illustrated Cook Book that recently came out. Seriously, I love Chris Kimbell and how awkward and rude he acts sometimes. I love the part where they do taste testing and the product reviews. Ah, I love it!

    • Actually, that was the pumpkin bread.


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