Sunday, 15 January 2012

Oh, Thank God we Have Banana Bread!

I will giggle wildly if anyone can correctly place the quote I used for this blog title.

Banana bread!


Just look at that golden brown top. I can almost smell the bananas.

In any case, I thought I'd actually share the recipe this time round, since this bread is a 100%, tried, tested & true old family recipe! (See, that previous post... I'm still ironing out the kinks but when I've got it just right I'll be sure to share it!)

And if you don't believe me that this is an old, handed-down, we-begged-my-great-aunt-to-please-please-share-it recipe, check this out:


See? Hand-written, beaten up, and marked with the thousand stains of a thousand perfect banana bread batches. If you can't see it so well, I'll repeat the recipe here:

***
1 C Mashed bananas
1/3 C Shortening
1/2 C Sugar
2 Eggs
1 3/4 C Flour
1 tsp Baking powder
1/2 tsp Baking soda
1/2 tsp Salt

Mix together and bake at 350 degrees fr 40-45 minutes.
***

Aw, it doesn't look nearly as fun all typed out. I do want to mention that I don't quite follow this recipe exactly, but let's start at the beginning:


Mash the ever-loving heck outta your bananas! When I was younger I thought this was gross so I always made my Mom do it while I measured out the ingredients. Now that I'm living in my cosy little basement apartment and I have to do it all myself, I've actually found out that this is the most fun part!


The recipe says you want a cup but from my experience if you have a little more - up to a 1/4 cup extra -it actually makes for a moister, more flavorful bread. So with that put aside, it's time to cream together your shortening and sugar -


... Or you could be like me and use Becel instead. One day I switched it in because I didn't have shortening - and I liked the result so much I do it every time now! The basic difference is, with the shortening, you get a slightly denser, cakier texture and with the Becel it's a little lighter and breadier. So go with what sounds good to you!

You could even be super decadent and go for butter, y'all.

So cream the fat of your choice together with the sugar, THEN add the eggs.


Or you could get too excited because you want to try cracking eggs with one hand and taking a picture at the same time and forget to cream them together first. Oops. This isn't the end of the world though, it just means that getting the mixture smooth will take a little longer.


Yeah, this took a while. Little chunks of butter are okay by the way, but not a big clump like above. I know the original recipe says to just throw it all together and mix it but I find taking the extra little step of creaming the butter & sugar and then stirring in the eggs makes for a much more even batter.

Then it's time for the star of the show!


Oooooh yes lots of mushy bananas please! You know, it's funny, I hardly ever eat bananas any other way, but I get so excited about this bread!


Once the banana is all incorporated, throw the flour and other dry ingredients on and gently mix it until it just comes together. If you over-mix it it'll get tough!


That's just about perfect! (If I do say so myself...)


Into a nice, greased loaf pan. I just used PAM spray here for simplicity's sake. Also, I'm using a glass pan so I let it bake just a couple of extra minutes since it doesn't conduct heat as well as a metal pan.


Smoooooooth it out...


Let it bake...


Have a glass of cranberry juice! No, that's not in the recipe, but getting your nutrients is important and you've got to keep hydrated with all this slaving over a hot oven and all.

I'm going to have to bake something with cranberries now. Hmm.


Once your bread's out of the oven, let it cool a half hour or so. I usually flip mine out on a cutting board and let it cool upside down. Then it's ready to eat faster.
 

And can you blame me for speeding things along? Look at that bread. Beautiful. Just waiting for a bit of butter and a tall glass of milk.

And if you want to do something a bit extra special, add some mix-ins! I personally like to throw a 1/2 cup of walnuts in there, or maybe a cup of mini-chocolate chips. Whatever floats your boat!

My husband would probably put peanut butter chips in it. He'd put peanut butter in anything.

Well, that's all for today! I have some cookies to bake over the next couple of days, so if that goes well I'll tell y'all about that. Until next time!

9 comments:

  1. About the glass pan... You're right about the conductivity but-- they heat up much faster than a metal pan does and in turn absorbs and holds the heat better (a better conducter doesn't hold the heat). Because of this bakers often reduce the temperature by 25°F. (Source: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipe/tools.html)

    I agree with your method of flipping immediately post-oven because especially in a glass pan (as I said retains heat for longer) things continue to bake if the thing they're in is still hot-- which can dry them out completely or just on the crust. A personal secret I use for making cupcakes is to toothpick test them at 5 minute intervals (depending on size), regardless of what the recipe says (ovens vary greatly, right?) and pop them out a little early (not when they're pudding consistency, but when others might leave them in for another few minutes. Take them out of their pan, and let them cool. Often the residual heat that stays with them while they're cooling is enough to finish them off-- which ends up with a perfect textured and moist cupcake! (Not saying you have trouble with cupcakes, but so many people don't realize they continue to bake, and thus they actually over-bake for a few minutes post-oven, and they end up with dry cupcakes, or cupcakes that have a dry outside). I like to transfer this to most baked goods to keep them moist.

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    1. Thanks for the tip about the glass pan! I'll try reducing the temp a bit next time.

      I'll probably do a post about cupcakes and such in the near future, and I'll keep your notes in mind when I do so.

      Gotta love learning new things :)

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  2. Also to make your banana bread more GI-index/diabetic friendly:

    -sub the sugar for sugar substitute (how much? check here: http://allrecipes.com/howto/baking-with-sugar-and-sugar-substitutes/ (it's not always 1c for 1c)
    -sub unhydrogenated margarine for shortening (which is what you did, yay!)
    -use wholewheat flour instead of white (stone-ground whole wheat is the best)
    -use 1/4c liquid egg (certain brands are better than others) for every egg the recipe calls

    You could always do things like mash up cooked kidney beans or the like if you want to increase the fibre (thus slowing down how fast the body processes it, making people more full quicker and less likely to suffer from an insulin spike, etc. I promise you won't taste the mashed up beans, but as far as how much? I would go with trial and error (I know there's brownie recipes with them in it, but I can't find it for the life of me).

    Sorry came back because I was thinking of this :)

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    1. I actually have subbed half whole wheat flour in the past and it turned out really good!

      I'm not a health nut though, so when I bake I usually think more of what will taste awesome and less of what's healthy, heh heh.

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    2. Well healthy can taste good too :) But I was merely saying it incase you wanted to include a healthy option for diabetics/GI-index following people can make your recipes too :)

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    3. Gotta say, I agree with BitB on this one...tastiness trumps all when I bake. It's nice to know there's at least ONE blog left out there that hasn't given in to the trendy-gluten-free-low-carb-non-fat-hippy-blandness that seems to be sweeping today's society. Granted, there are some people whose medical issues might preclude them from enjoying certain confectionery delights...but there are a million other blogs out there that address those issues (just ask Anonymous...they seem to have all the Wiki links on hand) If you feel the desire to eat sugar-free-whole-wheat-kidney-bean-styro-loaf, that's your prerogative. Me, I'd rather mow down on a good ol' home-style banana loaf. Love the recipe!

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  3. BTW...Apu rocks! >D

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    Replies
    1. Ha ha yes! So glad someone caught the reference :D

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  4. the quote is from THE SIMPSONS -- Season 11 Episode 7 - Eight Misbehavin. Hahaha a little too late tho

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