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Old 05-16-2020, 05:53 PM   #1
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Help! My Banana Bread Died!

Hi Everyone: Happy I found this forum! I need some expert baker feedback...

I've used this recipe previously with good results (see ingredients below; the steps are same as any). Yesterday it turned out horrible. (I have oven thermometers, the temp was ok.) I did two things: doubled the recipe (but I've done that before) and added 1c walnuts (new).

At 40min the thing was gorgeous, golden -- but the top crack inside still looked/felt/tasted gooey/raw! I put back in for 10min more covered with foil. (BUT I NEVER KNOW WHEN THESE ARE DONE!! FEELS LIKE A CRAP SHOT!)

The "loaf"???? Flat, very dark in color (inside and out), overbaked crust, weirdly dense. Moist and yummy but visually -- a trainwreck! So... here's what I'm thinking. I've reviewed other recipes and mine seems to have an uncommonly high amount of liquid (2 large eggs AND a WHOLE stick of butter) for the amount of flour: 1 1/2c. No? But then again, I've made it before and it was fine.

1) Did doubling the recipe cause the disaster?
2) Surely not the walnuts? (but I know they are oily)
3) Should I cut back on butter? Just in general?
4) Does it sound like a classic case of the dread over-mixing? (I did use the whisk instead of a spatula)

Any help gratefully received!


~Barking Mad (Literally.)

***********************************************

Ridiculously Easy Banana Bread

1 1/2 cups (195 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 medium bananas, heavily speckled or even black bananas are best
8 tablespoons (115 grams or 1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled.
3/4 cup (150 grams) packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup (50 grams) walnuts or pecans, toasted and chopped, optional

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Old 05-16-2020, 06:22 PM   #2
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If you have successful doubled the recipe before and baked it in one pan before then it has to be the walnuts. That is the only thing that changed.

That amount of nuts nuts may have increased the density of the batter so it was taking longer for the center to reach temperature. The outside got overdone before the center was done.

Maybe reduce the amount of nuts? Or possibly bake it at a slightly lower temperature for a slightly longer time if you want that amount of nuts on the bread.
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Old 05-16-2020, 06:38 PM   #3
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If you doubled the recipe, did you bake it in two pans or one big one? If you used one big one, it will be difficult to get the interior to cook before the edges dry out/burn. I don't think the nuts have anything to do with it.
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Old 05-16-2020, 06:41 PM   #4
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Thanks DaveSoMD!


I mean, logically, one would think it was the only thing that varied (nuts) which caused the fiasco. So I guess.... But, I've read before that one should not assume one can just double recipes with abandon. That the physics, or chemistry, or whatever is not linear.



One thing I did not mention (but seems trivial). I am the proud new owner of a brand spanking new set of Circulon bakeware from Costco. In a lovely chocolate brown. (Why? Because. Yep.). So it was the maiden voyage of my chocolate brown Circulon loaf pan.



THEN, last night as I was desperately googling -- I came across the suggestion that "dark" bakeware retains more heat and therefore is more prone to overbrowning/burning. WT....Heck??? Mais non! Is this true?



If so -- why in the world would they make it!? To taunt amateur suckers like moi??
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Old 05-16-2020, 06:42 PM   #5
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Sorry... should have stated. Used two loaf pans.
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Old 05-16-2020, 08:02 PM   #6
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The change in type of baking pan seems the most likely culprit to me. My banana bread recipe is quite similar to yours, same amount of flour and butter, but more liquid. 1/2 cup of walnuts added to mine doesn't cause a problem. I know that I have to adjust to a slightly lower temperature if I make my banana nut bread in a glass loaf pan instead of the regular metal kind.
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Old 05-16-2020, 08:21 PM   #7
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I agree, it is most likely the dark pans.
Quote:
Originally Posted by taxlady View Post
The change in type of baking pan seems the most likely culprit to me. My banana bread recipe is quite similar to yours, same amount of flour and butter, but more liquid. 1/2 cup of walnuts added to mine doesn't cause a problem. I know that I have to adjust to a slightly lower temperature if I make my banana nut bread in a glass loaf pan instead of the regular metal kind.
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Old 05-16-2020, 08:51 PM   #8
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As you reveal more facts, it's less of a mystery. Recipes often tell you to reduce the oven temperature for dark or glass pans because they transfer heat differently. Specifically, the edges cook before the middle.
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Old 05-16-2020, 10:06 PM   #9
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Oh Boy. Thanks everyone! Back to Costco with my lovely new CHOCOLATE BROWN Circulon Bakeware set! Grrrr. I feel silly now, because it seems so logical. But it never once occurred to me when I was purchasing..... Palm-To-Face.



Experts -- please tell me your TOP TWO choices for bakeware brands. (Two because I might not be able/willing to afford your #1 choice! :-) Ok, maybe three if your top two are true "expert" level.... Put plainly, I'm not spending $500 for All Clad anything. (Maybe once I master a simple omelette).
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Old 05-17-2020, 12:24 AM   #10
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I just use some, cheap old stuff I bought a long time ago. Aluminium, I think. I tried some stuff from Baker's Secret. I hated it. It's supposedly non-stick. As far as I can tell, that just means the surface gets damaged when I try to scrub stuff off.
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Old 05-17-2020, 05:22 AM   #11
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I use my Gradmothers' bakeware that was passed down. It is aluminum
Some pieces are Alcoa but most are not marked.
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Old 05-17-2020, 08:47 AM   #12
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Chicago Metallic, Nordic Ware and Wilton are all good quality brands. I also have a couple pieces of stoneware from Pampered Chef, including my primary loaf pan.
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Old 05-17-2020, 09:26 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barking Mad View Post
Oh Boy. Thanks everyone! Back to Costco with my lovely new CHOCOLATE BROWN Circulon Bakeware set! Grrrr. I feel silly now, because it seems so logical. But it never once occurred to me when I was purchasing..... Palm-To-Face.



Experts -- please tell me your TOP TWO choices for bakeware brands. (Two because I might not be able/willing to afford your #1 choice! :-) Ok, maybe three if your top two are true "expert" level.... Put plainly, I'm not spending $500 for All Clad anything. (Maybe once I master a simple omelette).
Your bakeware will work if you just adjust the temperature.
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Old 05-17-2020, 01:42 PM   #14
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Thank you, All!

Thank you ALL for your time. Your patience is much appreciated, truly. It must be annoying to have to deal with novices, over and over again. But your wisdom is really critical for those of us with a true intent to learn. (A Ph.D. does nothing for you, when the challenge is baking, it turns out! :-P)



The following is more me organizing my thoughts, so feel free to skip if you're busy!


Here are 'lessons learned' that I am currently mulling (in pandemic-time, so, like, 4x longer than normal):


1) Lesson #1: Experts do not have a high opinion of "non-stick" for various reasons. One of you opined on another thread that we novices might as well get used to cooking with unfinished surfaces, because that's how it'll all end up anyway. LOL. SO true! And fast!



2) Lesson #2: Aluminum is the #1 choice for the vast majority of experts (heat distribution, etc. etc.). However, I noticed a dizzying array of versions with "aluminum" in their names (Aluminized Steel; Anodized Aluminum; Natural Aluminum; Steel-Aluminum-Silicone I think (???) for the famous 'USA Pans'). I think Anodized Aluminum is the way to go.



3) Lesson #3: Sets are for suckers! Yep. Confirmed. At least half of that stuff I'll never use. What I WILL use: loaf pans (x2); sheet pans (x2). Maybe a muffin tin here and there (but I have a pretty decent, old, heavy, no name which will work just fine). And my old glass pie plate might be preferable anyway! Almost all of you told me that you use "this old thing" and you are obviously producing awesome stuff. So yes, it is about what you use, but it's much more about knowing how to use what you got.* *(Having said that -- I don't really want to struggle with unpredictable bakeware at the same time I'm trying to learn how to bake. Oh also, fun fact: My oven varies by between 10-22 degrees on the average day, according to two oven thermometers.)



Which reminds me of my fourth consideration -- I am deeply and irrevocably in love with a DeLonghi counter top oven I purchased six months ago. It is the Karmann Ghia of 'toaster ovens' (and that sounds insulting to say about it). This thing is a wonder. Not only does it cook/bake everything 10-20min faster than my oven, it is a true European convection, so everything cooks evenly. Why not bake in it? Hope I didn't just horrify y'all.... I have chosen to start with simple galettes as I inhale them regularly and they will fit in the DeLonghi given it's "Pizza bump out" design.



Cheers, all. Hope you have a great week!



(P.S. Any galette recipes will be warmly received!)
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Old 05-17-2020, 05:06 PM   #15
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I have a de Longhi convection, toaster oven. It was a gift for Yule in 1995 and it still works fine. I think it's wonderful, except for the continuous clean interior surface. That surface is rough, so it shreds any cloth or sponge I try to wipe it with. That and the fact that I can't take the door off are my only two dislikes about it.

I use it for baking, quite regularly. There are some things that won't bake quite right, because you can't get the pan far enough away from the heating element. But, other than that, I use it for all sorts of baking. It doesn't heat the house up as much as the regular oven does. It's on a shelf, so I don't have to bend over to put stuff in, take it out, or to look at that stuff.

Mine also dehydrates, which can be very handy. Mostly, I have used it to dehydrate onion slices and celery slices and leaves. I turn those into garlic powder and celery powder. I have also dried some tomato slices.
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Old 05-17-2020, 07:29 PM   #16
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Chicago Metallic, Nordic Ware and Wilton are all good quality brands. I also have a couple pieces of stoneware from Pampered Chef, including my primary loaf pan.
I recently purchase a Chicago Metallic loaf pan and it has given me perfect results so far.

Here's a loved banana bread recipe from a former DC member. It was pretty much been decided that this is the best banana bread that we've had the chance to try. http://www.discusscooking.com/forums...-had-4730.html

Seeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
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