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Friday, April 22, 2011

Banana Bread - Have Banana Bread Toast for Breakfast

I make banana walnut cake very often. In fact, most of the times the bananas don't get eaten and I finally need to use them up to make the cake. Of course this is advantageous to my family as well as friends since all of us get to eat home made cake often. I have been toying with the idea of making this recipe healthier by subsituting all purpose flour with whole wheat and cutting back on the added butter. I finally decided that I should experiment and see what the result would be. I was quite worried that the bread may be too hard or tough or even flavorless, but to my surprise it was moister, fluffier and seemed to have more depth of textures and flavors. This is definitely not as sweet as a cake would be and the fat content is also extremely low. So, I would definitely recommend making this as an alternate to the bread you use in your morning breakfast. Warm it up and eat it with a glass of milk or toast it and spread a little honey on it. It tastes great, has whole grains and is very satisfying.

1.5 cups whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
3 bananas, over ripe - mashed
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup apple sauce
2 tbsp butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
1/4 cup butter milk (can substitute milk if you don't have butter milk, also see tips)
1/4 cup yogurt
3/4 cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a baking tin and keep aside. You can use a standard bread/loaf tin or an 8/9 inch baking tin.
Since we are reducing the fat content significantly to just two tbsp, it is necessary to aerate all the components so that the resultant bread will be spongy. The apple sauce and yogurt help add the necessary moisture.
Sieve all the dry ingredients, i.e. whole wheat flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together. Do this at least a couple of times. In a bowl whisk the two eggs till the mixture is frothy. Add the vanilla essence and mix again.
In another bown, mix together the mashed banana, apple sauce, sugar and the melted butter. Mix this well using an electric beater or a whisk. To this add the yogurt and the butter milk/milk and mix well. Add the eggs next and beat well. Then add the sieved flour mixture to the wet ingredients, a little at a time and fold it in with a spatula. Add 1/4 cup of flour then move the spatula in a circular manner, moving the batter from the base of the bowl to the top and incorporating the flour into the batter during this process. This is called folding the flour into the batter. You don't want to over mix the batter and so avoid the temptation to just dump the flour and mix with the whisk. Last, fold in the walnuts.  Pour the batter and bake for about 20-30 minutes. The house will fill up with the aroma of bananas and cinnamon as the bread is baking. Use a knife or toothpick and insert it in the center of the bread. If it comes out clean, then the bread is completely baked. Let it cool on a cooling rack for 10 minutes before removing from the tin. Then place the bread on the cooling rack as it continues to cool. This will ensure that the bread doesn't get soggy from the moisture being released as it cools down.

As bananas start to ripen and get dark spots on the skin, I freeze them. Then they are readily available for whenever I want to make banana bread or cake. If you make yogurt at home and it's not very thick and has plenty of water, then use 1/2 cup of this yogurt along with the water component. To make apple sauce at home, peel apples, remove the seeds and inedible core and then cook these with very little water. Turn off the heat when the apple is cooked. Puree the apples to make apple sauce. This should have the consistency of baby food puree or ketchup.


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