I feel that I need to make a distinction clear between this recipe and, say, the ‘typical’ banana loaf (in New Zealand at least), which should really be called a cake in my opinion. When is a loaf not really a loaf? Is the word ‘loaf’ only to do with the shape or does it have certain leading associations with things that are bready? Is ‘bready’ a terribly clumsy and unattractive way to describe the ancient and noble product of millennia of human culinary development, or should we just go with it?
Either way, I made a banana loaf that isn’t actually a cake-type thing, but is raised with yeast. It’s bread with bananas in it. I hope you’re picking up what I’m putting down because the recipe makes enough dough for two whole blog posts, so that’s a lot of banana bread. If you’re like me and only seem to buy fruit in order to watch it rot before your eyes, this kind of recipe is ideal. It answers that perennial question of what the hell you’re going to do with a bunch of bananas you’ve carelessly allowed to go black, after eating just one of them in a fit of enthusiasm for health and eating breakfast and all that stuff. Banana loaf does seem like kind of a breakfast-appropriate thing though.
I have separated the recipe up into dough and loaf, because as I mentioned previously I have a whole ‘nother thing that you can do with it, but this recipe makes enough for two loaves. None of my bread recipes ever seem to be the perfect amount to make one loaf, and for that I half-heartedly apologise.
Banana Bread Dough
- 15g Dry active yeast
- 100ml Milk
- 50g /3 Tbsp + 2 tsp Sugar
- 550g /3 2/3 C High grade flour
- 50g / 1/3 C + 1 Tbsp Cornflour
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Vanilla
- 1 Egg
- 100g Butter, softened
- 3 Bananas, mashed
- Warm the milk to no more than 37°C. Sprinkle in the yeast and a scant teaspoon of the sugar portion. Leave it to go foamy.
- Into the bowl of a stand mixer (or a regular large bowl if kneading by hand), put the remaining bulk of the sugar, the flour, cornflour, salt, egg, vanilla, mashed banana and soft butter.
- Pour in the foamy milk/yeast mixture, scraping any remaining yeast into the bowl as well.
- Set your stand mixer kneading, using a dough hook attachment. If you are hand-kneading your dough, mix the ingredients until they have just come together and turn the mixture out onto a lightly floured work surface. It will be very sticky, so rather than kneading it you will be smooshing it around on top of the bench in a pushing-and-pulling fashion.
- Once your dough has become smooth and elastic, place it into a greased bowl and cover it with cling film. Put it in a warm place to rise until it has doubled in size. It pays to visualise how much bigger it will look when roughly doubled in case you forget how big it initially was.
- Once the dough has risen, punch it down and take it out of the bowl. Turn it out onto a floured work surface, also flouring the dough itself to make it easier to handle. You can now use it to make the banana bread products of your choice.
Banana & Cinnamon Swirl Loaf
Makes 2 loaves
- 1 Recipe Banana Bread Dough
- 60g Butter, melted
- 1 C Brown sugar
- Cinnamon for sprinkling
- Egg for washing
- Split the dough in half, and roll out the first half with a floured rolling pin so that it forms a rectangle.
- Spread half the melted butter, half the brown sugar and a liberal sprinkling of cinnamon onto the dough, folding in the edges.
- Begin rolling the loaf up; with the edges folded over, the butter, sugar and cinnamon will be enveloped in.
- Place the rolled dough into a well-greased loaf tin. Repeat with the other half of the dough.
- Leave the formed dough to rise again. This is the rising that will trap the air that will remain in your bread and make it light and fluffy, so be gentle and try not to mess it around. Once the dough springs back when poked and has roughly doubled in size, you can wash the loaves with egg and bake them at 190°C, until the crusts are dark, golden brown. To know more accurately if they are cooked, you can use a probe thermometer to check if the core is 92°C.
- When you are satisfied that your loaves are cooked, turn them out onto a cooling rack.