Peel It: Banana Bread

With the government telling us all we need to go on a diet, perhaps writing yet another baked good recipe isn’t the best idea but I’ve never been one to follow rules…

Banana bread, like many quickbreads, sits neatly in the gap between cake and bread. See also muffins. They’re sweet enough to enjoy as a treat with a coffee any time of the day, but hold their own as breakfast too.

Americans have made quickbreads their own – you can make any saggy old fruit or vegetable into a quickbread (I class carrot cake, especially if it’s un-frosted, as a kind of quickbread) – apart from banana and courgette bread, I’ve also made apple bread, pumpkin bread….there’s also sweet potato bread, even strawberry bread. Beer bread is also extremely good though that definitely sits firmly in ‘bread’ category. So it’s fitting that this recipe comes from America; measurements and all; indeed it’s a light rework of Betty Crocker’s, (which according to their site was first published in 1961) and I’ve been a touch unorthodox and used Skyr, which is a very thick Icelandic yoghurt-like dairy product (technically a type of soft cheese but you can find it in the yoghurt section at the supermarket). If you can’t get hold of Skyr, use any yoghurt you desire. I added the extra lemon juice just to ensure it would help the bread rise, and to slacken the Skyr a bit.

It’s extremely easy – wet into dry and bake.

Many like to augment their banana breads with chocolate chips/fruit/nuts etc….I’m a purist. I want to taste the bananas in it. So mine is resolutely plain (though coffee works as an interesting flavour partner and certainly pushes it much further into breakfast territory).  I admit the crust is on the dark side though. You can also do this in two smaller loaf tins, just reduce the baking time accordingly and check after 45 minutes. As soon as a toothpick/tester comes out clean..done.

 

Banana Bread

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup sunflower oil

2 eggs

3-4 very ripe bananas

1/2 cup Skyr (Icelandic thick fat free yoghurt but any kind will do)

2 tsp lemon juice

2 1/2 cups plain flour

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp fine salt
1. Preheat oven to 350F (I have an oven thermometer but if you don’t, 350 is just under 180C), and grease and line a 2lb loaf tin (or two 1lb ones) with a sheet of parchment to enable easy lifting out later.
2. In one bowl place the flour, salt and bicarb.
3. In another, mash the bananas as finely or as coarsely as you like, before breaking in the eggs and adding the oil, skyr, lemon juice and sugar. Whisk until combined.
4. Scrape the wet ingredients into the dry and combine as quickly as you can, making sure no lumps of flour remain – it’s quite a thick batter.
5. Spoon and scrape into the tin(s) and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. If using two smaller tins, check after 45 minutes.
6. Leave to cool in tin(s) on a wire rack (I left mine overnight as I baked it in the evening for the next day’s breakfast) before lifting out and cuitting into slices. Wrap in cling film to keep fresh.
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