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I learned a little trick for banana bread that adds a lot of flavor.

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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-03-11 02:15 PM
Original message
I learned a little trick for banana bread that adds a lot of flavor.
Edited on Thu Mar-03-11 02:17 PM by EFerrari
When you make your favorite recipe, before you add the ripe bananas, put them in the microwave for five minutes on high and covered with vented plastic wrap. I use five in mine.

This causes them to discharge liquid.

Then, drain the liquid into a saucepan (about 1/2 - 3/4 c of liquid) and reduce it to 1/4 c on the stove. Add that back into the bananas and proceed with your recipe.

This little extra step really boosts the flavor of the loaf without adding sogginess.

The America's Test Kitchen recipe I tried also calls for shingling the last banana on the two long sides of the loaf and sprinkling 2t of sugar over the top which caramelizes the bananas without affecting the rise. A very pretty effect.



Here's their recipe. You might need to give them your email address if you want it. But, those two techniques are the only new things that I haven't found in other recipes.

http://www.americastestkitchen.com/recipes/detail.php?d... **ASCA00






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tigereye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-03-11 05:33 PM
Response to Original message
1. that looks, and sounds, really nice!
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-03-11 06:30 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. My loaves looked exactly like their demo.
Oh, the other thing they do is toast the walnuts (1/2c, 350 for 10) before adding them at the very end.

It's more tweaking than anything and the results were very good.
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Tesha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-03-11 07:01 PM
Response to Original message
3. Excellent tips...


My grandmother taught me to mash the really, really ripe bananas and stir in some whiskey before you start anything else.

Nice...

oh and top with demerara sugar crystals - these are great on muffins too.
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-03-11 09:15 PM
Response to Reply #3
6. Somehow, my family never has whiskey left over for baking.
lol
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Dover Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-03-11 07:44 PM
Response to Original message
4. Didn't know bananas could generate that much liquid. Thanks for the info.
Edited on Thu Mar-03-11 07:49 PM by Dover
And I'll post the recipe below in case some people can't access it.

So I'm reading your post and drooling over the picture. I can almost taste it...but drat! NO bananas do I have. :cry: Or rather... Yes, I have no bananas...I have no bananas today...

As this is going on I'm smelling the aroma of the sweet potatoes I've got baking in the oven.

And then...... :think:

No I can't....yes, just do it....no I'm no baker and don't really know what I'm doing...oh go for it, silly .... etc.

So I'm going to use this recipe and do a "test kitchen" experiment of my own using baked sweet potatoes instead of the bananas. All I have is bread flour, and have no idea if that will make any difference. I might add a little almond flour to it for good measure and maybe throw in some ground flax seed.... I don't have enough brown sugar left, so maybe some molasses....

Welp.... here goes. If anyone is reading this and thinks there is some fatal flaw in any of this
please speak now or forever hold your peace....

Oh, for those who want to look at the recipe, here it is:



Makes one 9-inch loaf

Be sure to use very ripe, heavily speckled (or even black) bananas in this recipe. This recipe can be made using 5 thawed frozen bananas; since they release a lot of liquid naturally, they can bypass the microwaving in step 2 and go directly into the fine-mesh strainer. Do not use a thawed frozen banana in step 4; it will be too soft to slice. Instead, simply sprinkle the top of the loaf with sugar. The test kitchens preferred loaf pan measures 8 by 4 inches; if you use a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan, start checking for doneness five minutes earlier than advised in the recipe. The texture is best when the loaf is eaten fresh, but it can be stored (cool completely first), covered tightly with plastic wrap, for up to 3 days.

Ingredients
1 3/4 cups (8 3/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon table salt 6 large very ripe bananas (about 2 1/4 pounds), peeled (see note)
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter , melted and cooled slightly
2 large eggs 3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) packed light brown sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/2 cup walnuts , toasted and coarsely chopped (optional)
2 teaspoons granulated sugar Instructions
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 8 by 4-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt together in large bowl.
2. Place 5 bananas in microwave-safe bowl; cover with plastic wrap and cut several steam vents in plastic with paring knife. Microwave on high power until bananas are soft and have released liquid, about 5 minutes. Transfer bananas to fine-mesh strainer placed over medium bowl and allow to drain, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes (you should have to cup liquid).
3. Transfer liquid to medium saucepan and cook over medium-high heat until reduced to cup, about 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat, stir reduced liquid into bananas, and mash with potato masher until fairly smooth. Whisk in butter, eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla.
4. Pour banana mixture into flour mixture and stir until just combined with some streaks of flour remaining. Gently fold in walnuts, if using. Scrape batter into prepared pan. Slice remaining banana diagonally into -inch-thick slices. Shingle banana slices on top of either side of loaf, leaving 1-inch-wide space down center to ensure even rise. Sprinkle granulated sugar evenly over loaf.
5. Bake until toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean, 55 to 75 minutes. Cool bread in pan on wire rack 15 minutes, then remove loaf from pan and continue to cool on wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Technique

Do the Ripe Thing
Dont even think of making banana bread with anything less than very ripe, heavily speckled fruitunless youre fine with a bland loaf. As bananas ripen, their starch converts to sugar at an exponential rate. In lab tests, we found heavily speckled bananas had nearly three times the amount of fructose (the sweetest of the sugars in fruit) than less spotty bananas. (The exact percentage will vary from fruit to fruit.) But the impact of ripeness only goes so far: We found little difference in sweetness between loaves baked with completely black bananas and those made with heavily speckled ones.



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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-03-11 08:59 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. Oooh, I want to know how that works.
Wouldn't you need a little more liquid? I'd walk a mile for a hot sweet potato, lol!
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housewolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-03-11 09:43 PM
Response to Reply #4
7. Well I'm kinda late to the party but...
as for a fatal flaw, it might be in your use of bread flour. 'Cause of it's a higher gluten-forming flour, that might work to your advantage in that you might get a higher-rising bread. On the other hand, it also might be pretty chewy rather than nice and tender. Guess you'll find out - hopefully you'll let the rest of us know!

Good luck with your test kitchen experiement!


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Dover Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-03-11 10:34 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. Success! And it's perrrrrty too!
Edited on Thu Mar-03-11 11:24 PM by Dover
Well that was fun. :-) Of course it's not banana bread anymore...lol.


I don't have a camera, but I'll ask a friend to photograph it tomorrow so I can show it to you. It looks as though it rose about the same as the one in the OP picture and is dense and moist but not chewy. Maybe the addition of the almond flour (about 1/4 C) kept it from rising too much. I really don't know too much about how different flours behave. The flavor does not scream sweet potato!, but it's a very pleasant bread. That said, I would still like to have some banana bread...haha! I was thinking how delicious it would be to blend sweet potatoes and bananas. I looked at an actual recipe for sweet potato bread and it's pretty similar to this one (except for those added tips that were mentioned). Not sure how the sweet potato flavor could be intensified. I figured since I had baked them a long time (the sugars were bubbling out of the skins) that it would be similar to the results achieved by further cooking and reducing the bananas. Maybe the solution is simply to add MORE sweet potatoes.

I was a little short of the amount of fruit in the recipe so I added about a 1/2 C. of apple sauce which also helped increase moisture, AND about 2 T. of some fig/lemon preserves I had in the frig. As for spices I added cinnamon, pumpkin spice and cardamom to the dry mix.

So here are the changes I made if anyone would like to try it.
My listed ingredients are in addition to what is called for in the original recipe.


To the wet mix I added -
2 med. sweet potatoes (baked until sugars turn brown and bubbley) as banana substitute
1/2 C. Apple Sauce
2 T. fig preserves
2 T. Molassas

To the dry mix I added -

1/2 C. Bread flour (substituted for All Purpose)
1/4 C. Almond flour
A sprinkling of ground flax seed
cinnamon, pumpkin spice, cardamom for spices (about 1/2 tsp. each)

I also had a smaller thin "fingerling" type yam/sweet potato that I microwaved and sliced for shingles on top of the loaf. And inbetween I put the remainder of the toasted walnuts on top (as well as in the mix per the original recipe). Pecans would be good too.

I used a little tip I think I heard on Am. Home Kitchen once in order for the bread or other baked item to release easily from the pan. I created a parchment paper 'sling' the ran the length of the bottom of the loaf pan and up the sides at the ends. So when it's finished cooking you can just grab the two ends and lift out the loaf.

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Dover Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-04-11 04:05 PM
Response to Reply #8
10. Well I'm bummed. We photographed the bread but for some reason I'm not able to
upload it to my photobucket page. It keeps telling me there is an error on the page and so when I click on something to take an action (like upload photo) nothing happens. The error message said something about Java Script. ....sigh. Seemed like such a simple task and now I'm all frustrated because I don't have a clue how to correct it.
Ah well... guess I'll just have another slice of "sweet tater bread'.
We enjoyed the bread with coffee this morning.

I'm definitely going to try this recipe with nannas asap.
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yellerpup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-04-11 11:28 AM
Response to Original message
9. Will definitely try this!
Looks yummy, and concentrating the flavor is never wrong. Thanks!
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Arkansas Granny Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-05-11 08:34 PM
Response to Original message
11. I'm saving that recipe to try the next time I make banana bread.
My personal trick with banana bread has always been to use brown sugar and honey for part of the sweetener in my usual recipe and stir a big tablespoon of sour cream into the batter. It adds moisture and tenderness to the loaf.

Thanks for the link.
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GoCubsGo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-03-11 07:33 PM
Response to Original message
12. Another way to get liquid from bananas...
I don't know about y'all, but when I have an overripe banana or two that I'm not going to use right away, I peel them, pop them in a ziplock bag and throw it in the freezer. When I want to make some banana bread, I pull them out of the freezer and thaw them. There is always a huge amount of liquid in the bag. I'll have to remember the reduction part next time I make banana bread.
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 12:44 AM
Response to Reply #12
13. That's a great idea and I'll have to remember it.
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GoCubsGo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-05-11 03:47 PM
Response to Reply #13
15. Unfortunately....
I saw a recipe on that Pinterest page recently, where somebody blended frozen bananas with Nutella to make a relatively healthy "ice cream". Being a huge fan of ice cream, Nutella and bananas, I have a feeling most of my future frozen bananas will be going to that instead of banana bread. :-)

Pinterest.com is one addictive page...
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Inchworm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 01:13 PM
Response to Original message
14. Mmmmm, banana bread
I will go these extra steps for special occasions just to see the difference.

The bread I make (and made about 5 loaves this week) is way simpler. I got the munchies last night at about 4am and made my last loaf. I got a sack of bananas for $1.49 that had about 15 in it.

Heres what I do. Like I said, simpler ;)

2 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup oil
5 ripe bananas
1/4 cup water
1 tsp vanilla extract
I don't do walnuts

preheat oven to 350

mix flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl

take my tater masher and mash the oil and sugar real good then mash in the bananas

mix in the water and vanilla extract to banana goodness

combine the wet and dry mixes

take some crisco and schmear it all in a 9x5 gray bread tin then dust with flour

add mix

cook for like 50 minutes until the middle reads 180 degrees on thermometer

once it is done I let it cool for at least 10 min on a rack

the end. Yum!

:9
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