Category Archives: Tea Breads

Banana Bread

Hang on there Joe, aren’t we doing gâteau whatchamacallit? Well, yes we are, but I had a bunch of overripe bananas that were crying out to be turned into something. And what with all the interest in tea breads the last week or so it seemed timely. Plus the weather here has been awful the last three days…my precious natural light has been at a bare minimum…terrible for photography. I promise I’ll get to gâteau battu as soon as the Thanksgiving break is over. And anyway, this is my mother’s famous banana bread. You can’t go wrong here. You’ll need:

3 overripe bananas (for a total of 1 – 1 1/2 cups mashed banana)
1 1/2 tablespoons buttermilk
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
11 ounces (generous 2 cups) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon soda
1 stick butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs at room temperature

First, prepare either two small “1 pound” loaf pans or one standard 9″ x 5″ pan by coating with butter or cooking spray. Preheat your oven to either 375 degrees Fahrenheit (for smaller pans) or 350 (for larger). Set a rack in the middle of your oven.

Now then, you need very ripe bananas for a good banana bread. You want them at least this ripe:

Mash the bananas with a fork, then add the buttermilk and lemon juice.


Now sift all your dry ingredients together.

This tea bread follows a pretty standard creaming method procedure. Place the softened butter and sugar in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle.

Beat on medium speed until they’re light in color, then add the eggs one by one and beat until they’re incorporated.

Add about a third of the flour and stir on low until it’s mostly incorporated.

Add half the banana mixture.

Scrape the bowl.

Add the next third of the flour and carry on like that until you’ve used all the banana and flour. Remember to mix only very gently so as not activate much gluten. Leave a few small streaks of unmixed flour in there. Also scrape a lot!

Put the batter to the pans: about 1 pound 2 ounces each if you’re using small pans. I recommend that in fact. Small pans mean faster heat penetration and reduced moisture loss. Much better for tea breads.

Bake to about this point, about 50 minutes for small loaves (rotate the pans after 40 minutes) and 70 minutes for one big loaf (rotate the pans after 50 minutes). Banana bread usually has to be baked a little darker than you’d expect. Test it for doneness by inserting a skewer or sharp knife into the center. Cool it on a rack for at least half an hour.

When you’re ready to de-pan, run a knife around the edge…

…and knock the loaves out by tapping the corner of the pan on the counter. Bingo!

Do me a favor and don’t tell my mom I shared this recipe, OK? It would ruin her Thanksgiving. Speaking of which, have a great one, all you readers in the States. I’ll be back on Monday with more!

Filed under:  Banana Bread, Pastry | 48 Comments

Making Pumpkin Bread

I should do more pumpkin recipes, they match so well with my overall color scheme. As with most tea breads, the only trick to this is avoiding over-beating. Otherwise it’s a snap. Begin by preheating your oven to 350 (or 375 if you’re using small 1-pound pans). Apply butter or cooking spray to your pans.

Sift your flour, spices, leaveners and salt together in a bowl.

Combine the pumpkin and eggs in a bowl…

…and stir.

Next combine the oil and sugar in the bowl of a mixer.

Beat for about 30 seconds on medium, then add the pumpkin mixture.

Beat for another 30 seconds, then add half the flour mixture.

Stir on low for about 20 seconds until you can see only a little remaining flour. Scrape the bowl down.

Add the remaining flour mixture.

Stir and scrape.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pans. If you’re using larger pans, divide the batter evenly. For small 1-pound pans, which I’m using here, it’s easier to weigh the batter out. Put the pans on a scale and add about 1 lb. 4 ounces to each.

Bake them 40 minutes, rotate the pans in the oven and bake another 10 minutes or so until a skewer or sharp knife inserted into the bread comes out clean. For bigger loaves, bake about an hour, rotate and bake another 10 minutes. The finished loaves look about like so:

Once they’ve cooled about half an hour, loosen the loaves with a butter knife…

…and knock them out by tapping the corners of the pans on the counter.

Cool completely, slice and serve!

Filed under:  Pastry, Pumpkin Tea Bread | 10 Comments

Pumpkin Bread Recipe

This pumpkin tea bread is moist and flavorful — one of the few things I make that both my girls absolutely love. Like most tea breads, it combines the virtues of low effort and large payoff quite elegantly. I like to make all my tea breads in small “1 pound” loaf pans as I believe the end result is not only more convenient but less dry. However I’ve included directions for conventional loaf pans as well.

1 lb. (3 cups) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 lb. canned pumpkin
3 large eggs
1 lb. 5 ounces (3 cups) sugar
1 cup vegetable oil

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (375 if using smaller pans). Prepare your pans by applying butter or cooking spray (either two 9x5x3-inch loaf pans or three smaller “1 pound” loaf pans). Sift together the flour, spices, leaveners and salt. Next, combine the pumpkin and eggs in a bowl and stir them together.

Combine the oil and sugar in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle (beater) and beat on medium for about 30 seconds, until well-combined. Add the pumpkin mixture and beat about another 30 seconds until combined. Add half the flour mixture and stir on low until mostly combined. Scrape the bowl. Add the remaining flour mixture, stir and scrape again.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pans. Bake large loaves about 1 hour 10 minutes, rotating the pans after 50 minutes. Bake the smaller loaves about 50 minutes, rotating the pans after 40 minutes. Cool the loaves on a wire rack. Loosen the loaves around the edges with a butter knife and knock them out by tapping the corners of the pans on a countertop.

Filed under:  Pastry, Pumpkin Tea Bread | 13 Comments