Sunday, January 4, 2009
The Best Banana Bread
My friend JB has settled on trying as many of the recipes from the "The New Best Recipe" from America's Test Kitchen book for his 2009 cooking project. Considering the book is 1,000 pages long and has 1,000 recipes, I think he's got plenty of material to work with. One of the very first recipes he tried was "The Best" banana bread, which of course peaked my interest because I happen to love banana bread and pretty much always have bananas to use up.
According to his post and what the book says, yogurt, well-mashed bananas, and toasted nuts are the way to go for "The Best" banana bread. Normally I would be all about doing it absolutely correct, but the truth of the matter is that I didn't have yogurt and I did have sour cream, so I used sour cream instead. Other than that I was pretty true to the recipe so I think I was close enough.
So, is the banana bread "The Best"? I have to say it has to be pretty close to the top. The bread is soft and moist without being greasy, with a nice tight crumb. My only complaint, and it's a very minor one, is that would have liked a bit more banana flavor since the flavor in the bread seemed more subtle than anything else. However, I also had the bread just a couple hours after it came out of the oven and I have a hunch the banana flavor will be more assertive tomorrow after it has a chance to rest, well-wrapped, overnight.
(makes one 9-inch loaf)
2 c. all-purpose, unbleached flour
1 1/4 c. walnuts, chopped coarsely
3/4 c. sugar
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3 very ripe bananas, mashed well (about 1 1/2 c.)
1/4 c. plain yogurt
2 large eggs, beaten lightly
6 Tblsp. unsalted butter, melted, cooled
1 tsp. vanilla extract
preheat oven t0 350. grease bottom & sides of loaf pan, dust with flour, tap out excess.
toast walnuts in over at 350 until fragrant, 5-10 minutes; set aside to cool.
whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and walnuts together in large bowl; set aside.
mix the mashed bananas, yogurt, eggs, butter, and vanilla with a wooden spoon in a medium bowl. lightly fold the banana mixture into the dry ingredients with a rubber spatula until just combined and the batter looks thick and chunky. scrape batter into prepared loaf pan.
bake until golden brown and passes the toothpick test, about 55 minutes ((mine took an hour)). cool in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.