Going bananas? Make banana bread!
Updated: Apr 24, 2020
Chef's note: In all my years working in the kitchen, no recipe has even come close to matching the simple genius of banana bread. Not a single one. Do you know why? Is it the crunch of the banana bread's crispy golden-brown crust, or the sweet hint of vanilla and cinnamon swimming beneath the honeyed banana flavor, or the rustic banana bread aroma that fills the house like the warmth of a blazing hearth on a cold winter's day? No. It is because of a type of argument known among some circles of mathematicians as the "11-legged alligator argument," that is, given an false precondition, the rest of the statement can be taken to be vacuously true. For example, the statement "all 11-legged alligators have purple polka dots" is a true statement because there are no 11-legged alligators. Similarly, I have never worked in a kitchen. I'm not really a chef. In fact, this loaf of banana bread is the first thing I have ever baked. (My brother and my mom both said it was good, though!) Let this be a spark of confidence for those culinary newcomers such as myself. This simple home recipe is easy enough to follow. If I can do it, you most certainly can do it! There's just one more question: if I'm not a chef, what am I doing here? The truth is, I'm a photographer, it snowed outside today, and I thought it would be cool to take pictures of a loaf of bread on the snow. So feast your eyes! (More photos in the Gallery section.)
(The recipe I have included is based on Flour's Famous Banana Bread from Joanne Chang's Flour, with a few modifications I made based on personal preference and available materials.)
1½ cups (210 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (230 grams) sugar
½ cup (100 grams) canola oil
3½ very ripe, medium bananas
2 tablespoons crème fraîche or sour cream or yogurt (add a little more if using yogurt)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
30 or so chocolate chips (optional)
Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan.
Pour the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt together into one bowl and set aside.
Peel your bananas and mash them in a second bowl. (Fun step! Also you can eat ½ a banana at this step.)
Crack both eggs into a third bowl, pour in the sugar, and beat the mixture on a medium speed setting for about 5 minutes or until it becomes light and fluffy. (If using a handheld mixer, you may need to beat for slightly longer, say 8 minutes.)
Now drizzle in the oil and beat on a low speed setting. Pour it into the egg-sugar mixture VERY slowly so it has time to incorporate into the eggs and does not deflate the air you have just beaten into the batter. Adding oil should take about 1 minute.
Add the mashed bananas, the yogurt, and the vanilla and continue to mix on low speed just until the mixture starts to look homogeneous.
Slowly pour in the flour mixture and add the chocolate chips. Use a rubber spatula to "fold" in the new ingredients, which means to mix slowly so that the air you beat into the batter does not escape. When everything is thoroughly combined and there are no traces of flour left, this step is done.
Pour the batter into the loaf pan.
Bake for 1 to 1¼ hours, or until golden brown on top and the inside is no longer sticky. To test, you can take a toothpick and gently stab part of the loaf: if there is wet batter stuck to it when you take it out, then continue baking for a bit longer.
Take the pan out of the oven and let it cool for at least 30 minutes. Use mittens as it will be very hot! Then pop it out of the pan to finish cooling.
When you think it's ready, cut slices and enjoy!
Written and photographed by Dylan.