Saturday, May 30, 2009
Whole Wheat Banana Bread
I love banana bread, a really nutty, banana-y, banana bread, that is, warm with melting butter, and aroma that fills you up even before you take your first nibble.
This is my favorite banana bread yet. When I first saw the recipe I went passed it, because one I'm not a whole wheat fan, and second, I just couldn't see it in a banana bread. So I kept trying all the other recipes that promised this was the best; many were very good, but still not what I was hoping for.
Every now and again I get conscious-stricken and buy whole wheat flour and then have it left over (I'm not a whole wheat fan--I only buy it in the 2 pound bags, unlike the 20 pound bags of white flour I buy ever couple of weeks or so).
As luck would have it, I had some overripe bananas. I pulled out my King Arthur Flour 200th Anniversary cookbook and discovered a slice of banana bread heaven. The whole wheat adds just a little extra nuttiness that white flour lacks, and perhaps it's just my imagination, but the crumb seems finer. Without the use of any other flavoring except vanilla, the banana is the top note flavor in this bread.
I made this for a breakfast treat this morning, leaving out the optional nuts as Sweetie-Pi has a sensitivity. As I was busy writing up this post, he came and said to me, "I don't know what it is, but my bowels are really working well this morning. (You know you're old when your conversations are comprised of bowel movements and surgeries).
I gave him my best innocent and sympathetic look. "Really?" I said. "You don't suppose it was something you ate, do you?"
Whole Wheat Banana Bread
King Arthur Flour 200th Anniversary Cookbook
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup sugar
2 cup mashed ripe bananas (2 or 3 bananas)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 350F. Generously grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan, set aside.
In a medium sized mixing bowl, cream together the butter and eggs. Add the eggs, bananas and vanilla, and beat to combine.
In a separate bowl, stir together the dry ingredients. Blend the liquid ingredients into the dry, adding the walnuts if you are using them. Stir only until the all the dry ingredients are wet (this is a quick bread and doesn't need a lot of beating).
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for about 60 minutes.
Cooks Notes: I do slightly alter the preparation methods, based on another cookbook. I mash the bananas ahead of time, adding less than 1/4 cup of the required sugar, and the vanilla. I give it all a good stir and let it sit. The flavors meld and enrich and heighten the banana flavor. Then when the recipe calls for the banana, I just add it as directed and continue on.
Cooks Tip: I purchased a couple of antique, silver-plated butter knives at an antiques shop. I loved the shape, but they were discolored from oxidation; however, since they were only $2.00, I brought them home to try a tip I read long ago to polish just such small pieces. Use toothpaste and a soft cloth! (No, I don't think it matters if it has fluoride or not, or extra whitening power.) Worked like a charm. The mild abrasive in the toothpaste removed months of neglect and brought back a nice patina to old silverware. Love my $2.00 finds.