There was a time I used to make banana bread regularly then one day it all stopped. Some 15 years back a loaf of banana bread lovingly baked was tucked away in a steel container and shoved on top shelf of the kitchen due to sheer malice. I was visiting my mother for a few days so baked the bread and left the next day. Some six month later while spring cleaning I found a container that won’t open. The container was heavy so I was curious about what lay inside. With great difficulty I managed to pop the lid away and there it was, a rotten banana bread with fungus that could be a perfect sample for a science student. It broke my heart and never baked the bread again.
I did make a banana nut bread in a mug. You can get the recipe Here.
Since a few days mom had been craving for it and I was just not getting into the mood. I usually do not bake breads now so the pantry was empty. No baking powder or baking soda. I was too lethargic to go buy or even order. The bananas were getting overripe and yesterday I gave in to the temptation.
The whole wheat bread that I usually made had jaggery instead of sugar but here I powdered and used the regular sugar. Brown sugar or jaggery is the best to use in banana bread. The rich flavor is amazing. Do use that if you have it. 1/4 cup is good for this recipe. If using jaggery or Muscovedo sugar then use 1 cup.
It was an experiment of sort as I had not baked without baking powder or baking soda before so I began to search for options on the internet. Yeast, sour dough were out so I was about to give up when Alice’s blog link popped up. I was happy someone had bothered to bake a bread without the two ingredients that are considered important and adapted her recipe to suit my needs. Thank you Alice. I knew it would be dense but cooked so there wasn’t much to worry.
Surprisingly, the bread turned out to be good. Moist, sweet, spiced and dense. Something between a cake and a bread. I decided to call it a loaf. 🙂 Everyone who had it thought that the texture resembled the Bishop Bread we get from ITC Maurya. Well, that was a very satisfying compliment. That bread is out of the world.
It needed some adjustment of temperature etc.
Do give it a try :
Bananas – 3 medium or 2 large , over ripe ones
Whole wheat flour – 11/2 Cup (16 tbsp)
Butter – 1/2 Cup ( softened) ( I used a salted butter but if you use unsalted then add 1/4 tsp of salt) or 1/2 Cup – Vegetable oil
Spice powder – cinnamon, clove, nutmeg
Powdered Sugar – 1 Cup ( depends on the sweetness of the bananas)
Eggs – 2 (well beaten)
Raisins – 1/2 Cup (Plumped in water)
Walnuts – A handful ( toasted / optional)
Buttermilk – 2 tbsp
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F or 175 degrees C. Grease and dust a 8×3 or 9×5 inch loaf tin. I used an 8 inch one.
Peel and mash overripe bananas in a large mixing bowl. Don’t make a smooth paste. Clumpy is good for a nice texture. Bananas with blackening skin or brown skin with deep brown spots are good. Make sure they are not fermenting. Do not get tempted to add more bananas just because you want to finish them. It will result in a dense under cooked center.
Gently fold in the softened butter /Oil, sugar and spice powder to the mashed bananas. Using oil is a good idea as it helps the bread retain the moisture. Next one will be with oil.
I add the beaten eggs just before putting the bread into the oven. If your oven and loaf tin are ready then beat the eggs very well in a bowl. Get in as much air as you can. This will make the bread light. Remember we aren’t using anything to help it rise. Add the beaten eggs to the banana sugar mixture and mix well with a spatula. Don’t use any hand mixer for the recipe.
Now, make a well in the center of the whole wheat flour and slowly fold in the banana mixture wit ha spatula. It would be lumpy but that is great. Just mix everything nicely so that there are no flour streaks. Add 2 tbsp of buttermilk or sour cream. The batter is usually very thick so this help in making it smooth and nice. Gives a nice flavor and texture too.
Fold it the plumped raisins and toasted crushed walnuts if using. Dry raisins burn easily so it is good to plump them a little. You can toss some of the nut raisin mixture on the top also.
Pour the batter in the loaf tin and bake for 50 minutes or til toothpick comes out clean from the center.
Temperature may vary from oven to oven and I found my bread gets browned from top quickly if I place on top slot. I have two slots so I placed it in the lower one after it was 3/4 done. You can use aluminium foil to cover it to prevent extra browning. I didn’t so my crust browned more.
Another thing is to place some water in the drip tray under the wire rack. The steam makes the bread softer. I did it earlier, not for this one.
Keep checking after 45 minutes and if it needs more cooking from the center just give it 10-15 more minutes.
Once done, turn off the oven and let it stay there for 10 minutes. Remove on wire rack after that and cool.
Wrap it up in cling wrap when warm or cut it and use as desired. I usually slice it and keep in a tupperware box on the table.
Some people add vanilla essence or extract or chocolate in the bread but I personally do not like to mask the taste of spices and the rich banana flavor. You can add to your liking.
Do let me know how this loaf tasted if you make it. It is unlike the usual banana bread as I said. more like a fruit cake. 🙂