Thursday, March 24, 2011

Favorite Banana Bread

Flour is one of Boston's best bakeries known for their Throwdown winning sticky buns and other delicious treats. I've happily been making my through their new cookbook which contains excellent step by step directions and grown up spins on junk food classics: homemade pop tarts or oreos anyone? Bananas are one of the few fruits (maybe the only one?) I don't like to eat straight out of the peel, but I love them in shakes, cakes and bread. In fact, I love banana bread with a scary passion. For years, I had an excellent recipe I swore by but I'm sucker for a new recipe so when I saw this one I had to try it. Yum! I've made it with whole wheat flour (or half whole wheat half all-purpose ratio) with great results. There are few things I've tweaked about it (4 instead of 3 1/2 bananas and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon instead of 1/4 - see cook's notes) but otherwise I stick to Joanne Chang's cookbook recipe.

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I use 1/2 teaspoon because I LOVE cinnamon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 4 bananas, very ripe, mashed
  • 2 tablespoons creme fraiche or sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup walnuts or pecans, toasted and chopped (optional)


Set oven to 325 degrees F. Line the bottom of a loaf pan with parchment paper.

In a bowl sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Using a stand mixer fitted with a whip attachment (or a handheld mixer) beat sugar and eggs on medium speed until light and fluffy - 5 minutes (if you use a handheld mixer this step takes 8 minutes). On low speed drizzle in oil - don't pour it in all at once. Adding should take about 1 minute. Add mashed bananas, creme fraiche, and vanilla and continue mixing on low speed until just combined. Fold in dry ingredients and nuts just until combined. Pour into a lined loaf pan, place on middle oven rack and bake for about 1 hour - 1 1/4 hours or until golden brown and springs back on top.

My notes: The cooking time is still a work in progress for me. I felt like it got too brown on the sides when it was 325 for 1-1.25 hours. Next time I'm going to experiment with a 350 temp and 45 minute baking time. I might even place a cookie sheet underneath to prevent browning.


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