Sunday, January 13, 2008

Banana Bread

The first time I had banana bread was at Tamarama Beach, just around the corner from Bondi Beach in Sydney, and I think I will always associate the blue water, the white sand and the bright morning sun with this fruit bread. It took me 4 years to try and make my own, and I haven't yet managed to produce a loaf with the flavour and texture I remember from the Tamarama beach bar, but I think what I have is pretty good.
The recipe takes ca. 300 grams of flour, and using plain flour yields a lovely moist spongy loaf. I have given an alternative mix that provides a wholesome, nutty bread with a light crunch. I suggest you experiment with finding the right balance between plain, whole wheat flour etc. to suit your own taste. You can of course also choose your own mix of nuts, but I find the crushed hazelnuts go really well with the banana, and especially in the plain flour version they also give the bread a nice texture.

  • 3-4 ripe bananas (425 g)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 dl sugar
  • 1/2 dl vegetable oil or melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 2 dl (120 g) whole wheat flour
  • 1 dl (20 g) wheat bran
  • 1 dl (40 g) ground flax seed
  • 2 1/2 dl (150 g) plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 80 g crushed or chopped hazelnuts
  • 1 good handful of chopped walnuts
How to:
  1. Preheat the oven at 175 degrees Celsius.
  2. Line a bread baking tin with baking paper.
  3. Crush (or chop) the hazel nuts. I put them into a strong plastic bag and smash them with a rolling pin. This produces a good mix of fine to coarse pieces, and very fine hazel meal.
  4. Mix the flour, salt and soda in a bowl.
  5. Mash the bananas with a fork.
  6. With the electric handmixer, mix eggs and sugar till fluffy, then add oil, vanilla and mashed bananas.
  7. Add hazelnuts and walnuts, and fold in the flour mixture.
  8. Pour batter into the baking tin and bake for ca. 1 hour at 175 C. The bread is done when a skewer comes out clean.
This recipe is still quite sweet and cake-like, I have to admit. To get a less sweet, more bread-like result, reduce ingredients to 1 egg, 1/4 dl veg. oil, 2 tbsp sugar, and no vanilla.
If the batter is a bit dry, add some (butter) milk.

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