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Banana Bread: Tips & Techniques


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Either the texture is weird; or it's too sweet; or it's too oily; or it's too heavy; or...

Banana bread would be my preferred method for dealing with all of the inevitably over-ripe bananas that are hanging out in my freezer...sometimes you just get tired of banana smoothies. However, I still have an overabudance of these bananas because I can't find a recipe that I like.

Does anyone have suggestions?

Nikki Hershberger

An oyster met an oyster

And they were oysters two.

Two oysters met two oysters

And they were oysters too.

Four oysters met a pint of milk

And they were oyster stew.

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This is my favorite banana bread. It's halfway between a cake and a loaf

1 cup mashed bananas(very ripe)

1 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup sour cream

2 eggs, beaten

1 1/2 cups ap flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

In large bowl, mix together bananas, sugar, oil, sour cream and eggs. Mix thoroughly. In another bowl, mix together dry ingredients. Add dry to wet ingredients just until combined. Pour into 9x5 loaf pan. Bake at 325 for 1 to 1 1/4 hours.

The sour cream makes this a moist tasty banana bread.

Sandra

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You know...what would be GREAT would be to have two decent banana bread recipes...one that is more cake-like (dessert bread) and one that's more bread-like (for toasting and whatnot). Loafing (or anyone else that's made it): is the CI recipe cake- or bread-like?

Too bad the Cook's Illustrated recipe post got deleted - remember folks, links good, cut-and-paste bad. However, I wrote down the CI recipe already. To be faithful to copyright law, I should probably tear it up into little pieces. Hmmm...a question for the New York Times' Ethicist...

Nikki Hershberger

An oyster met an oyster

And they were oysters two.

Two oysters met two oysters

And they were oysters too.

Four oysters met a pint of milk

And they were oyster stew.

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I, too, am a loyal fan of the CI banana bread recipe, I like to added unsweetened shredded coconut to it as well to give it more of a tropical twist. :biggrin: sometimes to make my kids really happy I throw in a large handful of chocolate chips as well.

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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The CI recipe is posted at Leite's Culinaria.

I may have a justifiable claim to membership in the Banana Royal Family: For many years, I ate 3 bananas every day. Calculating at a common 7 in. per banana, that would total 638.75 ft. of bananas consumed for the year!

I recall viewing an episode of *The Victory Garden* several years ago: The reporter visited the only commercial banana grove in California. I was envying him (and the citizenry living nearby, because the operation maintained a roadside market from which it sold its exotic produce) as he ate a plant-riped “Ice-Cream Banana” which he said tasted as smooth & flavourful as vanilla custard.

During the past quarter-century, I have prepared a wide range of banana desserts. The fruits have been chopped, sliced, puréed & flambéed. They have gone into breads, tortes, cheesecakes, custards, soufflés, griddle cakes, doughnuts, pies & tarts. But, of course, banana bread is one of the quintessential comfort foods in the baker’s repertoire.

To make my banana breads, I have used butter, vegetable & walnut oils, yogurt, buttermilk, applesauce, egg whites, and liqueurs. I have added numerous flavour complements, including peanuts, walnuts, toasted almond & pecans, cashews & macadamias, chocolate, dried apricots, and raisins. Various types of sweeteners have been poured into the batters: Blueberry honey, golden syrup, turbinado and light brown sugars. Since 1999, I have bought only certified organic bananas; it is my conviction that they consistently ripen properly and taste better than regular, commercially grown bananas. However, considering that there are about 300 varieties of bananas grown worldwide, how many of them will we ever see? I always remember my sixth grade teacher telling the class about the cocoa bananas she at during her Easter vacation in Brazil. Put those on our shopping lists!

I offer two uniquely different banana bread recipes: The first one was obtained (more than 10 years ago) from the pastry chef at Montreal’s Queen Elizabeth Hotel. Perhaps it won’t score high marks on everyone’s rating system, but very it's special nonetheless. The second recipe is a yeast-raised version developed by a genuinely gifted friend of mine.

1 lb EACH peeled, very ripe bananas (skin almost black), sugar, and flour; 1 Tbsp baking soda; ¼ tsp salt; 4 large eggs; 4 fl oz vegetable oil; 8 fl oz buttermilk.

Line two 8x4x3-inch loaf pans w/ oiled parchment paper and pour in the batter. Heat oven to 275° F.

Combine peeled bananas, sugar, baking soda, and salt and blend until thoroughly mixed. Pour mixture into a bowl and add eggs, one at a time. Then incorporate flour. Lastly, add the oil and buttermilk and beat the mixture for about 2 minutes, or until smooth and well blended. Bake for 2½ hours. The instructions are definite: Do not remove pans from the oven prematurely!

1 Tbsp active dried yeast

1 tsp white granulated sugar

4 fl oz lukewarm water

2 overrripe large bananas

2 eggs

1 cup white granulated sugar

2 fl oz oil

1 tsp salt

4 fl oz scaled milk

4-6 cups bread flour

Proof yeast. Purée bananas until very smooth. Add the 1 cup of sugar and continue to purée. Add, salt, eggs, milk, and oil. Turn into bowl, check temperature, then add proofed yeast. Add 2 cups flour and beat very well. Add enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough. Turn out and knead, adding additional flour (variable according to moisture content of bananas) to prevent sticking. Place in oiled bowl, turn to coat, and let rise till doubled. Turn out onto work surface, divide into two equal portions and shape into small loaves. Place in oiled tea loaf pans. Let rise until nearly doubled in height.

Bake 30 or so minutes in 375° oven. Turn out and cool on wire grate. This bread is an exemplary choice for peanut-butter sandwiches. It has a more pronounced banana flavour when toasted and is then delicious spread with blueberry or strawberry preserves, pineapple-apricot marmalade, or simply spinkled w/ cinnamon sugar. And heavenly in a caramel- or rum-sauced custard bread pudding.

"Dinner is theater. Ah, but dessert is the fireworks!" ~ Paul Bocuse

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Cringe! I'm so sorry about my earlier plagiaristic cut and paste. :sad: And I hope I haven't irrevocably offended any die-hard ethicists among you.

I must confess to being terribly ignorant about copyright on the Internet, but since the recipe was on the America's Test Kitchen website and freely accessible, I thought it would be okay.

I do hereby pledge never to cut and paste recipes online ever again.

Redsugar, I'm duly impressed by your Banana Royal Family membership and am ready to try out your proffered recipes. Just wondered though, could you describe the difference between the two breads--texture and appearance and things like that?

And cocoa bananas?! Wow, that sounds like one of those species that only grow in stories like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I guess it's probably not exactly as I am envisioning it...

One last question from this unwitting plagiarist: in Singapore, there is a snack called goreng pisang, where a specific type of banana is battered and deep fried whole. Anyone tried this? The intense heat from the oil makes the banana unbelievably sweet, and contrasted with the hot, crunchy exterior--mmmm, banana joy.

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I recall viewing an episode of *The Victory Garden* several years ago:  The reporter visited the only commercial banana grove in California.  I was envying him (and the citizenry living nearby, because the operation maintained a roadside market from which it sold its exotic produce) as he ate a plant-riped “Ice-Cream Banana” which he said tasted as smooth & flavourful as vanilla custard.

A side note -- We used to live about 30 miles south of that banana grove and, sadly, it is no longer there. There was a large mudslide in that area in the mid-90's which really impacted the small town where its was located and the banana farmers left soon after.

:sad:

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Too bad the Cook's Illustrated recipe post got deleted - remember folks, links good, cut-and-paste bad. However, I wrote down the CI recipe already. To be faithful to copyright law, I should probably tear it up into little pieces. Hmmm...a question for the New York Times' Ethicist...

To be faithful to copyright law, you'd only have to tear up the instructions (or rewrite them using different language).

The ingredients portion of a recipe cannot be copyrighted.

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this is my mum's recipe for banana bread - this is the loaf-y kind. I have tweaked it to cut the heinous sugar content (cut from 5 to 2oz with no discernible drop in flavour - it's amazing my brother and I have any teeth left). Also, she makes it with white flour, I make it with wholemeal (only discernible difference is it is slightly less moist, but as I then either cover it in butter or toast it it doesn't worry me unduly).

makes one 6.5x4in loaf

2-3 very ripe bananas (they must be seriously ripe, spotted with black + making your entire kitchen smell of banana. If not, the loaf is pallid and doughy. Don't say I didn't warn you.)

60g/2oz soft butter

60g/2oz soft brown sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 egg

150g/5oz self-raising flour

1/4 tsp bic of soda

pinch salt

preheat oven to 180C and grease + line a small (6.5x4in) loaf tin. In the food processor buzz the banana, sugar, butter, vanilla and egg together till no more lumps left. it will look curdled. Do not worry. tip in the flour, bic soda + salt and buzz only as much as you need to incorporate them. Pour and scrape into tin, make the top as level as you can (but again, don't worry about it unduly). Bake for anywhere between 30-45-60 mins till a skewer poked in comes out clean. Watch it towards the end esp if you have a fan oven, as it does 'catch' on top. Turn out of the tin, peel off lining and cool on a wire rack. Nicest if you can bear to let it cool before eating. Keeps brilliantly wrapped in foil and frozen.

Fi Kirkpatrick

tofu fi fie pho fum

"Your avatar shoes look like Marge Simpson's hair." - therese

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Well, I now have enough recipes to try that I should safely be able to use up all of the black bananas in my freezer - plus those that are becoming overripe on my counter as I type this. Thanks everyone for the help! Hopefully at the close of experimentation, I will have found one (or perhaps two!) recipes to add to my permanent file.

Nikki Hershberger

An oyster met an oyster

And they were oysters two.

Two oysters met two oysters

And they were oysters too.

Four oysters met a pint of milk

And they were oyster stew.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I did the CI recipe yesterday, substituting Pecans for walnuts. This is a very good banana bread. About the right density for my taste. The recipe calls for no cinnamon or nutmeg, which I think would help, in moderation. What about substituting brown sugar for white? Would it become moister, denser? Would I need to adjust something else in the recipe?

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Here is the Cooking Light recipe, for which I have had good results (especially if adding a little more banana and NUTS):

2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup butter, softened

2 large eggs

1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 bananas)

1/3 cup plain low-fat yogurt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350°.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt, stirring with a whisk.

Place sugar and butter in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 1 minute). Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add banana, yogurt, and vanilla; beat until blended. Add flour mixture; beat at low speed just until moist. Spoon batter into an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

Yield: 1 loaf, 14 servings (serving size: 1 slice)

CALORIES 187 (21% from fat); FAT 4.3g (satfat 2.4g, monofat 1.2g, polyfat 0.3g); PROTEIN 3.3g; CARBOHYDRATE 34.4g; FIBER 1.1g; CHOLESTEROL 40mg; IRON 1mg; SODIUM 198mg; CALCIUM 20mg;

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When I was baking, I realized through comparison that the main difference between banana bread (which is too bready and dry) and banana cake (too sweet and rich) is, duh, the butter and sugar. So I took a favorite banana cake recipe and cut the sugar and butter in half. Perfect.

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Just made 2 dozen cupcakes from Rusa's Cooking Light recipe. I love it; it's neither too sweet nor too oily! I made some minor changes; reduced the sugar to 1/2 cup and substituted 1 cup wholewheat flour. I also had a generous measure of mashed bananas. One wouldn't feel too guilty with this bread. I topped half of them with caramel frosting and chopped toasted pecans.

gallery_12248_80_1098279260.jpg

TPcal!

Food Pix (plus others)

Please take pictures of all the food you get to try (and if you can, the food at the next tables)............................Dejah

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Last night the chef at a local Thai restaurant shared some small (about 1/3 the size of the usual) bananas (Asian, but don't know the name) with me, eaten with a small plate of rice. These bananas are noticeably more flavorful than the typical grocery store banana, but cost five to six times more. Has anyone tried making banana bread with these? If so, did it make a difference?

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Last night the chef at a local Thai restaurant shared some small (about 1/3 the size of the usual) bananas (Asian, but don't know the name) with me, eaten with a small plate of rice. These bananas are noticeably more flavorful than the typical grocery store banana, but cost five to six times more. Has anyone tried making banana bread with these? If so, did it make a difference?

Hmmm...that should be the pisang emas (golden banana). It's very small and very sweet, and is predominantly used to make desserts. They must be reserved by all the restaurants, :angry: because it's not easy to find them at banana stalls.

Edited to add: I used pisang rastali for the above. It's also a 'dessert' banana. Its flavor is very tart until it's truly blackened. Then it turns milky and sweet.

Edited by Tepee (log)

TPcal!

Food Pix (plus others)

Please take pictures of all the food you get to try (and if you can, the food at the next tables)............................Dejah

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Richard – Perhaps you had eaten one of these Thai banana varieties: kluay hawm, kluay khai, or kluay nam waa.

Treasure-house of banana info on these Purdue Univ. pages.

Apparently, one can purchase banana plants & seeds! Naturally, you’ll need to assimilate the practical knowledge to grow them properly.

Remarkable health benefits acquired from eating bananas – including this piece of folklore: “In Thailand…pregnant women eat bananas to ensure their baby is born with a cool temperature.”

"Dinner is theater. Ah, but dessert is the fireworks!" ~ Paul Bocuse

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Nikki, I see you have plenty of recipes now. However, I refined this recipe years ago and it is thee bomb. People who do not care for banana bread love this stuff.

half cup soft butter

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 and a half to 2 cups of softly mashed eating quality bananas

1 teaspoon lemon juice

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

half teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons cinnamon

third cup raisins

nuts to sprinkle on top

Key here is to use nice ripe but still eating quality bananas, discard bruises for best texture. Just mush them with your hands or a potato masher - You don't want to food process or homognize the bananas or this batter. A few small lumps of banana is fine. But I do mix in a Kitchen Aid mixer or by hand.

Trust me on the cinnamon & raisins - it so works - you could grind the raisins if you want and you could also soak them first in a hot liquid, alcohol or juice or whatever.

On the mixing, y'know have room temp ingredients, cream the butter, add sugar, eggs & lemon beat well. Add lightly smushed bananas & dry sifted ingredients. Sprinkle the nuts on top and bake for 75 minutes at 350 degrees in a greased pan.

I make loaves or bundt - I usually make this in huge batches in any thing & everything I can fill & bake in.

Hope you get to try this once at least.

Edited by K8memphis (log)
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  • 2 years later...

I've baked a few banana and walnut loaves recently, but I want to try adding some alcohol to the mix to improve the flavour. Are there any spirits that go well with banana or shall I just use what's in the cupboard?

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hmmm...

I would think the bourbon, rum (coconut rum!!!) would be good!!

If not, splashes of bailey's or kahlua shouldn't be tooo bad :raz:

haha...hope that helps...if not, I say, have a slice of banana bread paired with a nice drink :rolleyes: that should work too!!

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      In a bowl, combine 2 cups flour and 1/2 cup sugar. Cut in butter. Press mixture evenly into a 13x9x2-inch pan. Bake for 20 minutes.
      Sift the remaining 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup flour, baking powder and salt. Mix in eggs, nuts, and tsubushian.
      Pour over baked crust and bake for 40-45 minutes. Cut into bars while still warm (I wrote 48 bars, but you can cut them larger or smaller if you like).
      *Tsubushian is mashed cooked azuki beans and is available in cans at Japanese markets or other Asian food stores. It's coarser than anko, so you can easily make your own if you can't find the canned variety. You can use a recipe such as this one.
      Keywords: Dessert, Easy, Brownies/Bars
      ( RG1955 )
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