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Saturday, August 17, 2013

Baking: The Perfect Banana Bread

In case you were not aware, I fancy myself quite the baker. As a kid I was always down for some baking. I even re-fashioned one of those goo-cooking ovens, in which you could make your own rubber doll, into an Easy-Bake Oven. Because my parents would buy me a goo-cooking oven, but not an Easy-Bake Oven. I never did follow the logic there. Anyway, I digress. I've always been a baker. It was a great stress reliever in university, so I got to be quite good and adventurous. 

One recipe that I had (shockingly) never tried to make on my own was banana bread. This week, I changed that. I made banana bread, and it was divine. It was banana-y, moist, and perfect. Not too shabby for my first try!



The recipe I used is from America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book. For a lot of my recipes, the base concept comes from this book, and I add in my own modifications and variations based on my own tastes and experiences with the recipe. This time I followed the recipe pretty closely, since it was my first time making this bread. I have a bit of expertise in the zucchini bread department, but I wasn't sure how similar (or not!) the two loaves are, so I didn't want to get too risky!


Banana Bread 
Makes one 8" loaf (I used an 8.5"x 4.5" x 2.5" loaf pan) 
Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup of white sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
3 large very ripe bananas, mashed well 

  • I used 4 medium sized bananas, and ended up with maybe a little more than the recipe called for. They had been in the freezer for a while and were completely black on the outside and very soft, but still very sweet, on the inside. The bananas are key for this recipe, as bananas that still have green in them are way too starchy to bake with.
6 tablespoons (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
1/4 cup whole or low-fat plain yogurt

  • I used Greek yogurt here, and put in probably closer to 1/3 of a cup. I think using Greek yogurt, especially the lower fat stuff they have nowadays, is a great way of giving a richer flavour without having to use whole fat yogurt. 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • I never pay attention to measurements for vanilla. It's hard to overdo vanilla, so I just splash it in straight from the bottle and eyeball it. I always at least double what the recipe calls for. 
1/2 cup of toasted walnuts (or whatever else you'd like to put in!)
  • I think here is where my bread could have been a biiiiit better. I didn't toast the walnuts, so they didn't have that nutty flavour. They added a nice texture to the bread but the flavour wasn't very apparent. 


Preheat oven to 350F, adjust rack to the middle. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients (except the walnuts). In a medium bowl, mix the remaining wet ingredients together. Slowly fold the wet mixture into the dry mixture until just combined. Add the walnuts. Pour the batter into your greased pan, and bake, rotating the pan halfway through. 

This recipe says to bake it for 55 minutes, but I had it in there for at least 15 minutes longer than that. There are a lot of factors at play when it comes to baking times, but generally you should get to know your oven (it has feelings too) and adjust the times given in recipes accordingly. I'd say 55 minutes is a good guideline, and when a toothpick inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out with only a few crumbs, that bread is done! Pull it out, and cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn the loaf out onto a wire rack to cool some more. 

Easy peasy :) Let me know if you try it out, and what modifications you make! Or, even better, if you have any secret tricks you want to share! 

xo Chloe

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5 comments

  1. The banana bread looks absolutely delicious!! I'll have to try out this recipe sometime. Great post, Chloe! :)

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    1. Thanks Kim! The bread disappeared pretty quickly, so I'd say it was a smashing success! It's a great recipe!

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  2. Might have to give this a try. I enjoy baking and am always looking for new recipes to give a try.

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    Replies
    1. Everyone in this house gave this recipe a huge thumbs up! I'd definitely make it again, it was delicious!

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  3. This looks so yummy!! I must try this some time.
    - Keyta
    www.TheWayfarer.co

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