I told you I had a craving for banana bread. Here it is, in all its glory, and in multiple forms, to boot. I can’t say this is my best effort ever, but it filled my craving and made use of the bananas I’ve been patiently ignoring for weeks.
See, banana bread is one of those saviors for greenish, barely ripe banana eaters like me, and it makes a quick, delicious, and filling breakfast for those days where you can barely get up in time to get to work. Yes, it’s one of those weeks. Which is why I’ll keep this short.
Makes 2 large loaves, 3 small loaves, or 1 large loaf and 8 muffins.
This recipe is a modified version of the one Peter Reinhart provides in Crust and Crumb (in my opinion, the least approachable Reinhart book, though I religiously make the tortilla and naan recipes from this volume). I tend to balk at any recipes that call for 2 sticks of butter first thing in the morning, so I substituted a mix of whole plain yogurt and apple sauce. I also replaced half the flour content with a mix of oat and whole wheat durum flour, which was a good way to go. Finally, baking times will vary depending on the shape and size you choose for your loaves. I have never been able to figure out a foolproof way to get gorgeous muffin tops, mostly because I always over or undershoot, so I leave you to your own devices there.
- 7/8 cup (4 oz.) oat flour.
- 7/8 cup (4 oz.) whole wheat durum flour. You can use regular whole wheat flour here, as well.
- 1-3/4 cup (8 oz.) all-purpose flour.
- 1 T. (0.5 oz.) baking powder.
- 1/2 T. (0.64 oz.) baking soda. Only weigh out baking powder and baking soda if your scale is good, and will measure small quantities accurately. Mine kind of sucks, and as a result, I didn’t get a good rise in my loaf breads. Muffins were good, though!
- 1 t. (0.25 oz.) salt.
- 1/2 c. (4 oz., or 1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature.
- 1 c. apple sauce. I used spiced apple chunks from TJs, which were awesome. If you use plain apple sauce, you might want to add a bit of cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg to the batter.
- 1 c. brown sugar.
- 1 c. whole milk yogurt.
- 4 large eggs.
- 2 t. vanilla extract.
- 1 c. buttermilk. You can use milk and the juice from half a lemon instead, if you like.
- 3 ripe bananas, mashed. Truthfully, I sliced mine and let the mixer take care of it. If you are lazy like me, go for it; I don’t think it’s a noticeable cheat.
- 1/2 c. sunflower seeds, raw. You can use walnuts instead, if you like. I thought the sunflower seeds evoked some semblance of healthiness, which was somehow comforting.
- 1/2 c. cocoa nibs. Optional.
Pre-heat oven to 350°F.
I chose the easy route: In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together. Mix in the remaining wet ingredients until uniformly combined. Set aside.
Sift the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices (if desired) into another bowl until uniformly combined.
Fold the wet ingredients into the flour mix until the flour is uniformly moist. Mix in the nuts and cocoa nibs (if desired). Pour into lightly greased bread tin(s) or muffin tins. You should get decent results if you fill your pansup to 2/3rds with batter, though mine didn’t rise as much as I thought it would after following this rule.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, if you’re making muffins, 45 minutes – 1 hour if you’re baking a large loaf of bread. If you poke a skewer in the center of the muffins or bread, it should come out clean.
Let the loaves cool for 5 minutes or so, and then turn out of their pans. Let cool completely, and enjoy. Preferably with lots of caffeine.