Thursday, July 24, 2008

Banana Bread

When I was a boy, my mom would make delicious banana bread. I was craving that this week. Coincidentally, my mom had some frozen overripe bananas.

  • 112g (1/2 cup) butter
  • 120g (3/4 cup) turbinado sugar
  • 620g (2 cups) overripe bananas
  • 2 eggs
  • 260g (2 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 90g (1 cup) whole walnuts


Put the butter and sugar into a blender and cream them until a nice light yellow color. This takes between two to five minutes depending on your butter (soft or room temperature butter gets into the nice cream state faster). It's important to cream the butter well, so don't skip this.

Add the eggs and mashed bananas to your creamed sugar/butter and blend shortly to mix. Scrape down the sides of the bowl well to ensure that everything gets mixed in well.

Add the flour, salt, and baking soda. Again, mix for a short time and at a low speed just to blend the ingredients. You don't want to beat them too much. At this point, you want to avoid creating gluten by overmixing.

Finally, add the walnuts. Just fold them into to disperse evenly.

You should end up with a batter that looks like something from the set of a horror movie. Yes, it should be goopy and look like it will never turn into anything delicious. But, trust me, it does.

I cooked these at 350F (180C). I used my silicone small loaf pans. The recipe was initially intended for a 9x5 standard loaf pan. I knew I needed to give some out to my testing teams, so I went with the smaller pan. A half loaf per team.

I shot the pans with a quick hit of cooking spray to make sure they release easily. Notice that I put the silicone pan onto a baking sheet. Since the silicone is flexible, it doesn't like to be picked up easily. The baking sheet takes all the hassle away.

In a 9x5 loaf pan, you want to cook this for 60-70 minutes. In the small pans, 35-45 minutes. Basically do the usual: stick a toothpick into the center, if the toothpick comes out clean, they're done.

Another easy way to tell is when the surface starts to change color. It's hard to explain what the correct color is ... I just know it's "right". So, perhaps using a toothpick is better unless you grew up with your mom baking these blocks of banana goodness for you.

When done, take them out of the oven. I let them sit for about ten minutes before taking them out of the loaf pans. They popped out without any complaint. Love that silicone!

Eat plain. Or, as I like to: spread on some butter. Don't be shy about it. Oh so good.

Test Results

Results are only in from the Primary Test Group right now. Universally well-liked. Only one minor comment (from my mom, no less) that the bread was a little too slimy. I pointed out to her that the bananas she supplied were quite overripe (as in black). She thought that was a good point. Still, she very much liked the result.

Samples are going out to Test Groups C, J, M, and Z today.

Potential Improvements

Traditionally, we've made banana bread from bananas that have become too ripe to simply eat by themselves. It occurred to me that maybe we could make bread from simply ripe bananas ... ones that we might eat. Those are certainly easier to get here in the Philippines. The mercado (open air market) has a section devoted to bananas. It's not a small section. If figure we could put those bananas through a potato ricer.

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