This was a much improved version from earlier attempts at banana bread (as seen here). I followed a different recipe and it worked much better. The bread rose and filled out the loaf tin more and the bread/cake is also more dense and bread-like. The crust is crisp and the insides are sweet and moist with the mashed bananas. It definitely got the seal of approval from AP and his colleagues! (He always bring extra banana bread or other baked items into work.)
The flavour of bananas develop and intensify as they ripen so the best bananas to use for baking are overripe ones, especially those that are turning brown or thoroughly specked and no longer ideal for eating. So don't throw those old bananas out! Turn them into mouthwatering banana bread.
This has been submitted to Not Quite Nigella's Banana Bread bakeoff event. The deadline is 12th of May so there's plenty of time to make your own and join the event.
(Recipe based on Joy of Baking)
Ingredients (makes about 10 thick slices):
250g/ 2 cups plain flour
150g/ 3/4 cups caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
115g/ 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 large or 4 medium very ripe bananas, mashed
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
Extra slices of bananas to garnish (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C/gas mark 4. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9 inch loaf tin, or line with grease proof paper.
2. In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients - flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nuts. In another bowl, combine the wet ingredients - mashed bananas, eggs, melted butter, and vanilla.
3. Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, lightly fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients bit by bit, just until combined and the batter is thick and chunky. **IMPORTANT: Do not overmix the batter** There should still be traces of flour. Over mixing will result in tough bread.
4. Pour the batter into the loaf tin. Decorate the top with slices of bananas if desired. Bake in the middle of the oven for 60 minutes, until the bread is golden brown and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. If the top is browning too quickly while the middle is still undercooked, place a sheet of foil across the top of the loaf and continue baking for another 5-10 minutes.
5. Place the tin on a wire rack to cool and then remove the bread from the loaf tin. Serve warm or at room temperature. The bread is easier to slice when it has cooled down.
Sunday, 20 April 2008