Posted by CookinWithJP:
Banana Nut Bread
Everyone loves banana nut bread. Because this moist quick bread travels so well and is ideal for summer trips and family get-togethers, we thought we would revisit this family favorite and offer an alternative recipe without hydrogenated oil. We'll also give you some new tips for perfect banana bread.
In an earlier article we talked about how to bake banana nut bread. Most recipes, including the one we offered earlier, use shortening. We prefer butter for most of our baking, both for the flavor and to avoid hydrogenated oil, so here is recipe using butter. (This is a great, moist banana nut bread so be sure to print it and save it.)
This recipe uses the creaming method for makeup, that is, the butter and sugar are creamed together before the bananas and dry ingredients are added. Creaming incorporates air pockets in the mixture and adds to the lightness of the loaf. You can mix the butter, sugar, and eggs as much as you like?the fluffier, the better but mix the flour as little as you can. As the flour is mixed, the proteins form the gluten that will make your bread tough and chewy.
This particular recipe is loaded with bananas to make it moist and flavorful. It relies primarily on baking powder for leavening though the aeration of the butter mixture helps. It also uses baking soda. Baking soda is alkaline and requires an acid for a chemical reaction that creates bubbles. In this case, lemon juice is the acid. The baking soda neutralizes the acid in the lemon juice so you probably will not taste the juice. You could substitute buttermilk for the milk and juice in the recipe. The acid in the buttermilk would react with the soda just as the lemon juice does.
Old-Fashioned Banana Nut Bread
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups mashed bananas (five or six medium bananas)
juice from 1/2 large lemon
3/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two medium loaf pans by greasing well.
1. Carefully measure the flour and then combine the flour with the remaining dry ingredients.
2. Mix the mashed bananas and the lemon juice together and set aside
3. Cream the butter and sugar together. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat until light and fluffy.
4. Add the banana mixture and beat well.
5. Add the milk and combine well.
6. Add the dry ingredients and the nuts. Mix until just combined, scraping the sides as needed.
7. Remove the batter to the loaf pans and bake for fifty minutes or until the bread tests done with a skewer or toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf.
8. Remove from the pans and cool on a wire rack.
Tips for Better Banana Bread
1. Banana bread tends to stick in the pan. Use non-stick pans if you have them and grease well. Consider cutting parchment paper to fit in the bottom of the pan.
2. Measure the flour carefully. If you scoop the flour from the bag, you will be measuring packed flour, will have too much flour, and the bread will likely be dry. Either sift the flour before measuring or whisk the flour until it is light and fluffy. Spoon the flour into the measuring cup and level each cup off with a straight edge.
3. Mix the dry ingredients together until well combined. Since the flour is stirred only minimally once added to the wet ingredients, it is important that the salt and leaveners be well dispersed in the flour.
4. For the best flavor, use very ripe bananas. If the skins are dark and the bananas soft and gooey, they are just right for banana bread. Your grocer may have ripe bananas set aside at a reduced price.
5. So as to not over mix the flour, it is best to fold the flour into the wet mixture with a spatula, not your electric mixer.
6. When testing for doneness, insert the toothpick or skewer in the cracked area on the top of the loaf. This is the area that is least baked. The skewer should come out clean when the bread is done.
7. Wrap banana bread in plastic or aluminum foil and chill in the refrigerator before cutting. Not only will the bread slice more smoothly, the flavors seem to be enhanced by the chilling.
8. For an unusual sandwich consider spreading with cream cheese or peanut butter.
9. Banana bread freezes well. Thaw at room temperature. Do not try to thaw your banana bread in the oven as the heat will dry the bread.