All of us have probably had some time in the daily life where the bananas just don't get used up. Be it; no one noticed them, or the kids have places to be, or just plain they did not get eaten before they started their turn to the "brown ooze" that defines bananas having gone by there prime. And many if not all of you know the best use for non-prime bananas is that special bread that makes the entire house smell wonderful. I thought I would take you through my banana bread recipe and see how it compares to yours.
Ideally you would like the bananas to be well on the way to ethylene conversion of the sugars. Bananas have a very interesting ripening method, the produce a number of enzymes that convert they sugars to esters and alcohol.
Many people that don't care for very ripe bananas are the same people who don't like alcohol infused dishes. The alcohol has a bite to the very back of the throat that is prominent. The good news is cooking evaporates the alcohol so the banana comes through again.
This is the stuff you will need to make two full size bread loaves. 3 1/2 cups of flour, 2 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 1/3 cup sugar, 2/3 cup Crisco shortening, 4 eggs, 1/4 cup milk, about six ripe bananas and finally
a 1/2 cup chopped nuts. I use walnuts and I also toast them a little first to bring their flavor forward a little. Last the optional kicker. But we will get to that later.</p>
So job one, cream the Crisco shortening and the sugar together. You are basically making a cake icing at this point. I take this to the light and fluffy stage because I like a nice wide disposal of the cane sugar in the bread.
While that is creaming in the KA I mix the rest of the dry ingredients to insure even dispersal of them.
After I have the dry ingredients mixed and the Crisco and sugar on its way to a nice fluffy light icing. I prepare the loaf pans. I like heavily prepared pans. Comes from commercial cooking, I don't like nor can I afford something to turn out wrong. So pan prep is heavy to insure a good
By this time the sugar is read and I start adding in the eggs and the flour. One egg, 1/4 of the dry ingredients, etc. etc. til it is all into the mixing bowl and forming a batter. Then I start to add in my bananas. I add them and let it mix, add them and let it mix, til all the bananas have been incorporated. Then I add the special elixir to the banana batter.
I like about 1/3 of a cup of Myers Dark rum in the bread. Adds some depth to the batter. And the taste pairs off with the bananas real well. You do not need to add this to the breads if you don't care for it. If I have a little banana liquor around I will add a 1/4 cup of it as well.
Once that is all incorporated and dispersed I split the batter and put it into the bread loaf pans.
Into the 350 F oven and on top my pizza stone. I like the way the pizza stone heats the bottom of the loaf pans. I like the heavy glass loaf pans best. I have had many of the metal loaf pans, but the glass ones seem to do the best job for me at home. Commercially when I make them I use steel pans. But for home I like the glass pans.
After 55 minutes or so in the oven they are ready to come out. The should look something like this.
Now you need to leave them sit for about 10 minutes to collect themselves. Then you can take them out of the pan and wire rack them to cool a little more. But don't miss eating some of it warm from the oven. While they freeze
well and store well at room temperature, there is nothing like warm banana bread from the oven. Morning for breakfast is great, evening around the wood stove or fireplace with some hot buttered rum is another good way to enjoy these bread treats.
So set it up and cut off a slice for yourself. Schmear of butter is always nice, chocolate ganache drizzle is also a winner on the breads. However you decide to top it, you will love the pleasant taste of homemade banana bread!
'til we talk again, whip out a few banana breads, with this classic comfort food you are sure to please guests and household members a like!
Chef Bob Ballantyne
The Cowboy and The Rose Catering
Grand Junction, Colorado, USA