Banana Bread

My Swede great-grandma used to make this 100 years ago. 
I've made the recipe a little easier to make in a modern kitchen.


   2015 November 6      Food   Desserts

Introduction


Banana bread is a great year-round treat.  It's the perfect thing to make when you've got some bananas that have gotten over-ripe and spotted.  

Here's an article on how to make a good, classic banana bread.  It's based on a family recipe that goes back at least 100 years.  My Swedish great-grandmother used to bake this in a wood cook-stove.  I modified the recipe slightly for ease of preparation and the use of a blender. 

The original recipe called for separating the egg yolk from the egg white, then using each at a different stage of the recipe.  You won't need to do that here.  Much easier!



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In This Article

Gearing Up

Ingredients

Ready, Set, Mix!

Do This Before Baking

Baking The Banana Bread

Serving

Conclusion






Gearing Up


Let's get the basic tools together. 

First, a couple of stainless steel loaf pans.   Those are the ones I use;  they work great.

You will also need a couple of mixing bowls, also preferably stainless.   This set should do the job nicely.

Measuring cups & spoons:  for this you'll need 1 cup, 1/2 cup, 1 tsp, and also 1/4 and 1/2 tsp.  This set covers 'em all.

Silicone spatula:  one of the most useful kitchen tools, ever.  Get a set of these;  you'll use 'em for a lot of stuff, not just banana bread.

It also helps if you have a blender or a hand mixer.  (I wrote a detailed review of the Oster Beehive here.)


We'll look at the banana bread ingredients in the next section.


         



The Ingredients


Before mixing anything together, here's a list of what we're going to need:

2 1/2 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour, preferably organic
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of baking powder.  Be sure to get the aluminum-free variety;  the other stuff will eventually trash your small intestine and probably your nervous system, too.
3/4 teaspoon of salt.  Again, get the variety that has no aluminum compounds added.  Look for "calcium silicate" as the flowing agent.

1/2 cup of sour milk.  Add 1/2 tsp of cider vinegar to 1/2 cup of milk to sour it immediately.
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 bananas, preferably over-ripe.

1 stick of butter, softened.  Keep it in a sealed Mason jar on the countertop for a couple hours to soften it.   Butter is way better for you than hydrogenated shortenings. 

1 cup of sugar, preferably raw cane sugar, which has a slight brown-sugar taste.

Once again, you're not going to mix any of these yet.  First, get ready with two mixing bowls and a blender.  (Or, a hand mixer plus a third mixing bowl.) 





Ready, Set, Mix!


This is really easy.

Mixing Bowl 1:  add the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.  Stir them together evenly.

Mixing Bowl 2:  add the sugar and the softened butter.  Mash them together with a potato masher, heavy spoon, or heavy whisk.

Blender, or Mixing Bowl 3:   add the sour milk, eggs, bananas, and vanilla extract.  Blend.

Then, it all goes into Mixing Bowl 2, starting with what you just blended.  Pour it in, stir it together and try to break up any lumps.  Then add the dry ingredients (from Mixing Bowl 1). 

Use a spoon or spatula to mix everything together.  The mixing should be as thorough as you can manage. 

By now, you should have a nice, smooth, thick batter.  It's more of a batter than a dough. 





Do This Before Baking


When you put the batter in the loaf pan, don't flatten it out too much.  Make it slightly domed or peaked in the center. 

If you try baking it with the batter flattened out, the loaf will go all cattywampus when it rises.  And it will stay that way.




Baking The Banana Bread


Oven temperature is critical.  I had assumed the setting on our dial was producing 350;  recently I found that an actual 350 F is too much.  At 350 F (actual oven temp), the bread looks very done after 45 minutes, but it's raw in the center. 350 is too hot.

Preheat the oven to an actual temperature of 300 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Yes, it will brown.  At 300, the banana bread has a chance to cook through the center without over-browning the outside. 

Before you pour the batter into your stainless loaf pan, it's a good idea to grease the pan.  I like to use coconut oil.   For best results, smear the coconut oil into the loaf pan before you do everything else, then put the loaf pan into the refrigerator.  This will solidify the coconut oil again.

OK, now pour the batter into the loaf pan.   Bake for 75 minutes at 300 degrees.     Your oven may vary slightly.   300 degrees on the dial is not necessarily 300 inside the oven.   Check the banana bread periodically to make sure you don't burn it.  An oven thermometer helps.

Let the loaf cool in the bake pan for at least 45 minutes to 1 hour before you try to get the loaf out of the pan.    Then, set it on a cooling rack so it can finish cooling.





Serving


This banana bread is good just the way it is, or you could warm it up and serve it with butter.

It's really good with some blackberry jam.

Banana bread gets eaten up pretty quickly, so you might want to make two loaves.  Just double the recipe and use two loaf pans.




Conclusion

This is how I make banana bread.  It's fairly easy and it's delicious.  I hope you enjoy it.

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