Monday, June 08, 2015

Banana Bread revisited

I forgot a bunch of bananas this week so had need of my banana bread recipe and went back into the archive to retrieve it. Originally posted July 2010 it's definitely worth coming back to again and again.

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banana oat bread

Remember all those bananas I bought at a bargain price the other day. I've made six loaves of this bread from them since then, using 18+ bananas and there are still bananas in the freezer and all the fruits that were eaten by guests in the interim. Didn't we do well?

This bread isn't a world shattering revelation of a recipe but it's tremendously popular - which is just as well, really. The method is simple and the basic bread would lend itself to all sorts of innovative additions if you had a mind to it although the novelty of the basic banana flavoured loaf hasn't worn off yet in this house.

It's also packed full of oats which render it positively healthy as a food. What are you waiting for - make it now!

You will need:

290g flour - I have used plain white and a fine wholemeal, both work
100g granulated sugar - white, brown, Demarara or muscovado, your choice
1/2 tsp. salt
11g baking powder, see method
150g rolled oats
3 ripe bananas (or 4, see method)
125ml non-dairy milk (or water)
25ml light flavoured vegetable oil

1 9x5 (2lb) loaf shaped baking tin

Mix together all the dry ingredients. The oats I've been using are jumbo oats but Quaker porridge oats would also work. Don't use instant porridge powder because I think it would be horrible.

100g of sugar is plenty in my opinion but you can bump it up to 125g if you have a sweet tooth.

Salt is always optional.

Baking powder - people get so worked up about their raising agents. In France levure chimique is sold in little sachets containing 11g. This is plenty to raise this loaf. If you don't have a sachet, two flat teaspoons of baking powder is sufficient. If you don't have baking powder then mix together 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda (sodium bicarbonate) with 2 teaspoons of cream of tartar (potassium bitartrate), use 2 teaspoons of this in your loaf and throw the other one away! Simple, non?

In another bowl mash the bananas until gloopy. Mr. Stripey likes to find bits of actual banana in his bread and this is what the fourth banana is for. Don't mash it, add it in little bits just before the batter goes into the tin.

Add the milk (or water, nobody ever died from using water instead of soy milk in banana bread) and oil to the banana mush and stir together. Then add the whole lot to the dry ingredients and mix well to combine. It should make a nice wet batter, add a very little extra water if you feel the mix is too stiff.

I line my tin with a piece of baking paper, just the long sides and bottom but you can grease the tin if you prefer.

Put the batter into the tin, rap the filled container on the work surface to settle the mix and bake in a medium hot oven, about 180C for 50 minutes to an hour. I'm sorry that's a bit vague but the oven here isn't exactly temperature controlled. Test your loaf after 50 minutes with a skewer and if it comes out a bit wet with uncooked batter be prepared to give it the full hour.

After cooking, allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes and then finish cooling on a rack. It doesn't cut well warm but is nicest fresh from the oven. If you keep it in a sealed container or plastic bag it will slice more cleanly on the second day but the slices are still a bit crumbly. This hardly matters as you'll need to break it into pieces to cram it into your mouth.

Served with apricot jam and banana icecream it's a pretty good pudding too.

banana bread with banana ice