Wednesday, March 14, 2007

No Fuss Banana Bread

One thing you tend to see a lot of in Tokyo are bananas that rapidly get overripe. One reason for this is that they are imported and have often been sitting around for awhile. Another is that it's relatively warm most of the year and bananas ripen rapidly most of the time.

Most banana bread recipes are roughly similar so there won't be anything unique going on in the ingredients for this one. However, it is greatly simplified in the preparation with the help of a food processor. You're spared manually mashing the bananas or combining the fat with the dry ingredients.

If you make this recipe in Japan and use Japanese brown sugar, you'll notice it is much lighter in color than what is pictured above. Also, you won't get the little dark fibers in the banana bread that you remember seeing back home when your mother or grandmother made it. The flavor is better with western-made brown sugar but it's still good with the Japanese type.

No Fuss Banana Bread:
  • 1/2 cup room temperature butter (1/2 a Japanese brick or 1 stick in the U.S.)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
  • 3 quite small or two large bananas
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tbsp. milk
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees . or 175 degrees C. Cut the butter up into cubes and place in a food processor. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Process until the butter is fully integrated with the dry ingredients. It should look like yellow flour and clump easily. Add the brown sugar and process until well mixed.

Empty the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Peel and break the bananas into largish pieces and put them in the food processor bowl (you don't need to wash it between the wet and dry ingredients). Process the bananas until they're pureed. Add the eggs and milk and process again until fully mixed.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until just mixed. Don't over-mix it or worry about lumps. Just make sure all the dry ingredients have been moistened. Pour the batter into a lightly-greased loaf pan and bake for 40-50 minutes (until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean). Allow the banana bread to sit in the pan for about 5 minutes then run a butter knife around the edge. Remove it from the pan and place on a cooling rack.

Variations: You can reduce the sugar down to 3/4 of a cup or you can cut it in half and augment it with granular Splenda. The less sugar you use, the more bread-like the texture of the banana bread will be. It'll also lose some of its glossy appearance with a 50/50 sugar/granular Splenda mix.

1 comment:

Izzi said...

If you want a much lower-fat recipe, try this great one:

Moist, Delicious Banana Bread

1¾ cup flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup applesauce
2 eggs, well-beaten
1½ cups mashed ripe bananas (3 large bananas)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
sugar for topping

Preheat oven to 375o. Mix dry ingredients in large bowl. Alternately mix in applesauce and eggs. Fold in mashed bananas, then walnuts. Pour into greased loaf (9x5) pan. Dust top of loaf lightly with sugar. Bake at 375o for 40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

The crown of this bread turns out crisp and brown--delicious!

(You can substitute 1 1/2 cups diced ripe peaches, strawberries, or blueberries for the bananas in this recipe.)