May Peace Be Upon You.
Did you know that February 23rd is National Banana Bread Day in the United States? Me neither. I also didn’t know that one day later, I would be making banana bread. Oh well, a late celebration is better than no celebration, right?
This is the first recipe I wanted to blog about, not because I wanted to start off my cooking expedition by baking banana bread, but because, well…. I was craving this loaf, believe me. Think of a banana-and-vanilla scent wafting in your kitchen and leading to a warm, slightly sticky, fresh and moist loaf of banana bread.
I just had to.
Surprisingly enough, you really shouldn’t use fresh bananas to make banana bread. I mean, you can (technically) – if you’re dying for this bread just as I was dying for it. But you should really use slightly overripe bananas. You know, the ones that have been sitting on your counter and no one wants to even touch them because they have one little brown speck, or even better, loads of them? Yes, use those ones.
From what I’ve heard, overripe bananas intensify the banana flavour. So this is an excellent excuse to use all those old bananas up. Plus, along with the they’re-going-to-rot-soon bananas, you probably have all of the ingredients in your pantry.
Need I say more?
Simply Recipes’s banana bread (believe me, this blog is so useful and covers just about every recipe out there) had a pretty good recipe. But since I once went on a cooking book + online cooking school spree and bought Baking Illustrated from America’s Test Kitchen (among other things), I wanted to put my money to good use. So naturally, I flipped to the banana bread section (page 23-25, for those of you who do have this piece of treasure. This post isn’t endorsed by them, but since I like to know the inner workings of things, this book is a gem. Why you ask?)
It gives me an easy-to-understand,scientific but useful ingredient and technique breakdown for each recipe. If I’ve never baked something and don’t know where to start, or if I want to tweak a dessert recipe, OR I’m not sure why something works the way it works, I definitely look at this book first. So if you’re trying to be smart with your (limited culinary) budget, then feel free to check this book out from your local library or borrow it from a friend :)
Long story short, let’s talk pics. I wanted to show how I made the bread visually, so here’s a neat little infographic that sums up the making of this loaf of banana bread:
Note: Now I don’t mean to give away BakingIllustrated’s recipe, but I just want to show through pictures how a banana bread comes together. This is so you and I can improve our sense of following a recipe and we can see what the banana bread looks like at each stage..
As well, for those who want to see the making of banana bread in action, Chef John at Food Wishes uses a different banana bread recipe, but he has a great video filled with tips and tricks:
This was my second try at making banana bread. I used Chef John’s video recipe (above) this time around, and as you can see, the bread’s crust colour looks much browner on my second try and therefore, much better. With my mum’s suggestion (along with Chef John’s), I also added some walnuts to add some texture and crunch, which greatly improved the bread. The only regret that I have is that the bread was a bit too moist for me. Why? I had four sad bananas that were rotting away on my counter. Even though the banana bread recipe called for 3 mashed bananas, I threw the fourth one in anyways. Because how can you bear throwing one single rotten banana away when you’re making banana bread? The bread was still edible of course, but next time I think I’ll stick to three mashed bananas instead of four.
- Why is there a fault line on top of my bread?: Check this link out if bread cracking is really unsightly to you. But many find it to be an artisan’s sign of bread baking, so it’s best that you look the part and from now on, say you of course meant for the bread to crack on top.
- My banana bread was too moist after baking: You may have put too many bananas or other wet ingredients in the loaf. I’ve found that sticking to 3 bananas is a good bet, but that putting 4 bananas (how could I leave one poor mushy banana out?) made the loaf a bit too moist for my taste.
- Help! My bananas are getting too mushy/rotten faster than I can whip up banana breads!: Hold your horses! I’ll be updating you all on this one in a bit. I’ve found a really cool way of saving those bananas up to use in banana bread!
The Videos: Food Wishes’ Chocolate Banana Nut Bread (via Youtube)
Feel free to use whatever banana bread recipe you like.
If you do end up making it, let me know how it went!
And May Peace Be Upon You.