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Banana Bread

Lauren.Groveman's picture
A Really Great Banana Bread! Probably the best and, when made in its simplest form, it’s one of the easiest recipes for banana bread I know. Here’s a banana bread recipe that I hope you’ll become very familiar with. It’s You’ll notice several ingredients listed as “optional.” This is to accommodate your mood, timing agenda or particular audience. I’m also hoping that this recipe will encourage you to use those “now or never” bananas. You know--those that are probably sitting in some cozy corner of your kitchen, right now, ready and waiting! Enjoy.
Ingredients
  Granulated sugar 1⁄4 Cup (4 tbs) (For an optional topping)
  Finely chopped toasted blanched almonds/Walnuts and/or pecans 1⁄4 Cup (4 tbs) (For an optional topping)
  Unsalted butter 17 Tablespoon (1 stick or 1/2 cup for the loaf)
  Cup (16 tbs)/Mix light and dark   Bag (0 kg), raisins
  Cup (16 tbs)/Use a regular tea like tetley   Bag (0 kg), hot tea
  All purpose flour 2 Cup (32 tbs)
  Baking powder 1 Tablespoon
  Fine table salt 1⁄2 Teaspoon
  Cinnamon 1 Teaspoon
  Freshly ground nutmeg 1 Teaspoon
  Sugar 1 Cup (16 tbs) (all granulated or mix half packed light brown sugar and half granulated)
  Whole eggs 2 Large (made tepid by steeping them)
  Pure vanilla extract 1 Teaspoon
  Very ripe bananas 3 Large
  Bananas   (Special Equipment)
Directions

1) To set up to make banana bread: If you want to apply a topping to the banana bread, place those ingredients in either the bowl of a food processor or in a plastic bag and pulse to combine or roll over the ingredients, using a rolling pin. Set the topping aside, for now. Unwrap the stick of butter, cut it into cubes and put it in the bowl of your electric mixer. Cover the bowl and let the butter sit at room temperature, so it can soften. (To hurry this along, you can put a hot, wet, folded kitchen towel underneath the bowl. Don’t melt the butter, however.) Brush a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with melted butter and set it aside. Place the raisins in a bowl, if using, and pour the hot tea over them. Let them steep until supple, about ten minutes, then lift the raisins out, lay them on paper towels to drain. Preheat the oven to 350F.

2) To make the banana bread batter: Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and spices, if using them. Cream the butter with the sugar in the bowl of your electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment. When very light, in both color and texture, add one of the tepid eggs and, while beating on a medium speed, let the egg become totally homogenous with the creamed mixture, before adding the next egg (give it at least 2 minutes of continuous beating after adding each egg). Beat in the vanilla. Leave the machine on, while you puree or mash your bananas. Puree the bananas or mash them well with either a wide blending fork or an old-fashioned potato masher. When smooth, pour the puree into the batter, while the machine is continually running. Stop the machine and, using a large rubber spatula, scrape the batter off the sides and up from the bottom of the bowl. Beat briefly again, then stop the machine. Add all of the flour mixture and, while mixing on a slow speed (pulse at first to avoid flour flying out from the bowl) combine the ingredients well, without over-mixing. If using raisins, fold them in now, using the rubber spatula.

4) To bake the banana bread: Pour the batter into the bowl, using all of it, and smooth the top with a table knife or a small off-set icing spatula. If using the topping, sprinkle it over the top of the batter, using all of it. Bake the banana bread in the preheated 350F oven for 50 to 55 minutes
(A tester will come out clean, when inserted deeply into the top-center of the loaf). Remove the pan from the oven and place on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Run the dull side of a table knife around the sides of the pan. If you’ve used a topping, place a piece of wax paper on top of the loaf and then place another wire rack on top and invert the banana bread. Lift the pan off the loaf, then invert the loaf again, right side up, discard the paper and let it cool. (If not using a topping, the wax paper is not necessary, just place the rack directly on top of the loaf and invert, as directed.).

5) To serve and store: Banana bread is best if left to cool completely before slicing. Actually, it’s best when sliced the day after baking. To store, once cool, either place on a platter, under a domed lid, or wrap the loaf well in pliable plastic wrap and then slip the loaf into a large heavy-duty plastic bag. Either way, keep banana bread at room temperature.

Timing is Everything:
• Banana bread can be made a day or two ahead and, after cooling and wrapping, simply stored at room temperature. This loaf will stay moist, if wrapped correctly, for several days after baking.
• Banana bread freezes perfectly, for 2 months, when wrapped well with plastic wrap and then stored in doubled heavy-duty ”jumbo” plastic bags. To thaw, remove from the freezer and let it sit out at room temperature, in its original wrapping, overnight. In the morning, if you want to wake up that “fresh baked” flavor, put in a preheated 350F oven for 10 minutes. Be careful, though, you don’t want to dry it out.

Recipe Summary

Difficulty Level: 
Easy
Cuisine: 
American
Taste: 
Sweet, Buttery
Method: 
Baked
Dish: 
Bread
Restriction: 
Lacto Ovo Vegetarian
Ingredient: 
Egg
Interest: 
Everyday, Kids, Healthy
Preparation Time: 
20 Minutes
Cook Time: 
50 Minutes
Ready In: 
70 Minutes
Servings: 
8
Story
The best banana breads (meaning, the ones with the lightest, moistest, texture) have three things in common, so let me take each component and explain their value and why. Just Three Steps to a Great Banana Bread… One: Choose the right flour: Quick breads should be made with “bleached,” all-purpose flour. This is because the bleaching process lowers the overall protein content in the flour, which makes it less likely that the batter will become overly glutinous (elastic) after being mixed with wet ingredients. And, since a flour that’s higher in gluten also grabs (absorbs) more moisture, using a bleached flour, with a lesser amount of protein, will allow more moisture in your batter to be available to interact with the leavening (baking powder) and surrounding heat, when in the oven. This makes for an overall lighter texture in your baked banana bread. Two: Bring eggs to a tepid temperature and add them slowly: Eggs provide both structure and moisture to the batter and, for the lightest texture, it’s best to bring their temperature up, when raw, to tepid (nice and warm). The best and safest way to do this is to submerge the whole eggs in a bowl of very hot tap water for 15 minutes. Then, after you’ve softened the butter and creamed it with your sugar until it’s very light, you’ll want to add the eggs one by one, only adding another after the previous one has been incorporated into the butter and sugar so well that the mixture takes on a very light color and a velvety texture (be patient, here). Three: Use REALLY ripe bananas! The best banana breads, with the most pronounced banana flavor, are made with those bananas that you just might mistake for being over the hill. Bananas with skins that are a deep golden yellow, that are covered with tons of brown freckles are those to be prized for the job of creating the most wonderful banana breads. So, don’t throw out those really ripe bananas! Click here to use them, deliciously.

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