Sunday, November 23, 2008

Banana Bread

It is so cold! I made some banana bread last weekend for some friends and my landlord. I wish I had some now...I couldn't taste a whole slice myself, but based on some crumb bits, I say it was pretty good.

The recipe is modified from an Epicurious one (easily halved if you just want to make one loaf). Does anyone really like nuts in their banana bread? I don't - just like I don't like nuts or raisins in my carrot cake. I kind of like the purity of the bread itself. Also, I think that the bread would have been even better if the bananas were super ripe (they were already yellow without spots and I let them sit for four days and got lots of spots, but someone else suggested letting the bananas ripen for ten days!)

Banana bread is a "quick bread," a type of bread that uses baking powder or baking soda instead of yeast; because of this there is less gluten development and thus cracks form on the top.

I didn't have any metal loaf pans so I bought some aluminum ones from the supermarket and lined it with parchment which I trimmed afterward. I had some difficulty with getting the center of the banana bread to set - this may have done with them being in aluminum pans, although having them in the aluminum made it easier to give as gifts. I don't bake bread that often so I don't know if I'll buy a metal loaf pan, but Christmas is coming up...(hint hint)

Banana Bread
2 loaves

3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs at room temperature for 30 minutes
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup applesauce
3 cups coarsely mashed very ripe bananas (6 large)
1/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter 2 (9-by-5-by 3-inch) metal loaf pans, then dust with flour, knocking out excess.

Sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt into a bowl.

Beat together eggs and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer at medium-high speed until very thick and pale and mixture forms a ribbon when beater is lifted, about 10 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add oil and apple sauce in small batches, mixing, then mix in bananas, sour cream, and vanilla. Remove bowl from mixer and fold in flour mixture by hand gently but thoroughly just until the dry ingredients are incorporated. Be careful not to overmix as this will cause the gluten in the flour to develop and the bread will be tough.

Divide batter between loaf pans, spreading evenly, and bake in middle of oven until golden brown and a wooden pick or skewer comes out clean, 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Depending on your oven, you may want to start checking the bread from 45 minutes onward so that it does not overcook.

Cool loaves in pans on a rack for 10 minutes, then turn out onto rack. Turn loaves right side up and cool completely.

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