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!