Monday, January 18, 2010

Banana Bread: Half-and-Half

In what appears to be a violation of my self-imposed rule, I made banana bread (again) yesterday. But, I enjoy a good argument, so here are two facts that you should consider before passing final judgment. First, the ingredients are not from our CSA, recording whose preparation is the primary reason for having this blog. Second, the recipe I used was different from the first in that it reduces the sugar by half, adds milk, and uses fewer eggs. The end result was entirely different - and worth sharing with you. For reasons that will become clear, call this bread ala' Lee Majors.

The Method
This recipe is taken from Jacques Pepin's, The short-cut cook (1990), which is a wonderful collection of simple yet interesting dishes generally requiring very little time to make. (Including a cheese souffle from his mother that I want to add whole eggs not whipped whites.)

  • 1 TB corn oil or cooking spray to grease the pan
  • 2 C all-purpose flour
  • 1 TB baking powder
  • 4 TB butter, slightly softened
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 2 very ripe bananas
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 C milk
  • 1/2 C sunflower seeds (I used walnut pieces instead)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. Grease a bread pan with the oil or cooking spray.
  3. Combine the flour, baking powder, butter, and sugar in a food processor. (I used a Kitchen Aid stand mixer, which makes me happy ever time I cook with it.)
  4. Blend until the ingredients are well combined (10-15 seconds).
  5. Peel the bananas and add them to the mixture. Blend for 5 to 10 seconds.
  6. Add the eggs, milk, and sunflower seeds (nuts).
  7. Blend until the batter is well combined.
  8. Pour the batter into the greased pan.
  9. Bake for 60 minutes, or until nicely browned. (A knife inserted at the middle should come out clean.)
  10. Cool on a baking rack before unmolding.
The Result
I ran a knife around the edge of the bread in the pan then flipped it over to release it. Thunk. The loaf split in half, leaving the bottom firmly attached to the pan and the top on my counter. So much for spreading a tablespoon of corn oil around the pan. (The second loaf I made today came out cleanly. I coated that pan with cooking spray.)

Still, I enjoyed the concordance of the halving of key ingredients and the loaf itself. (I did, actually, which is probably strikes you as strange - unless you know me well.) I quickly removed the bottom portion and rebuilt the loaf. (Six Million Dollar Man theme and intro montage running through my head.) The loaf was moist and warm enough to meld together to a fair degree.

It was a much lighter and less sweet bread than the original recipe. We enjoyed it with coffee and a few fresh, Florida strawberries.

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Kudya Bwino Bwino (Eating Well) © 2009