Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Banana Bread

Hi and welcome to Adventures In Baking.  This week I was focusing on a bread or muffin recipe.  I've made muffins and bread from mixes before but never from scratch.  I'd like to be able to make fresh baked bread and rolls, but thought I'd work my way up to those.  I found this recipe for Reese's Peanut Butter Banana Bread on a baking blog.  The recipe seemed pretty straight forward so I thought I'd give it a try.  I don't remember ever tasting banana bread before so I don't really have anything to compare this to. 

The ingredients.  The recipe calls for 3 ripe bananas so I purchased mine a week ahead of time to allow them to get  nice and mushy.   Look at this, I finally found a recipe that doesn't use any butter! 

Let's get started.  In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  In large bowl mash bananas. 

Next step.  Stir together bananas, peanut butter, oil,egg, granulated sugar and brown sugar.  Add flour mixture and stir until just combined.  Batter will be lumpy.  (And a mushy brown color). 

Final step.  Fold in Reese's Mini Peanut Butter Cups and spread batter into loaf pan.  I had a couple of these aluminum loaf pans left over from who knows what.  The pan was 1/4 inch smaller than the recipe called for but I thought it would be OK size wise. 

Taste test.  Oh.......where to start.  The recipe said to bake at 350 for one hour or until toothpick comes out clean.  I checked on the bread about 20 minutes into baking and discovered one side oozing over the side of the pan and dripping all over the rack and bottom of the oven.  Great.  Oven's too hot to clean.  Guess it'll just have to burn, baby, burn. 

I removed the bread from the oven after an hour to do the toothpick test.  The three center places I tested came out clean, but I could clearly see it wasn't fully baked.  Most of the bread had this crusty shell (except for the side that fell off inside the oven).  That side was clearly still mushy.  I think the toothpicks were coming out clean in the center because the crust was cleaning off the toothpick as it was being pulled upward. 

I put the bread back in the oven testing it every 20 minutes for another HOUR!  I kind of gave up at that point.  The smoke that was drifting out of the stove top burners (from the previous overspill burning to a blackened crisp) made the decision for me.  I turned the bread out of the pan and it sort of fell apart because it still wasn't baked all the way through.  I attempted to cut a slice off the end to taste it and I ended up with the chunk you see in the above photo.  Burned on top and those dark inside spots are where it still wasn't baked.  There's no beating around the bush on this one......It tastes terrible. Smells like banana, but tastes like.....well.....I'm not sure what this tastes like but it isn't bread.  One other thing I noticed as I was stuffing it down the garbage disposal is that most of the Reese's cups sunk to the bottom.

The clean up.    I was extremely disappointed in my bread making attempt.  Was it something I did?  Was it because I used a flimsy aluminum pan instead of metal or stone pan?  Was it just a bad recipe?  Is something wrong with the oven temperature? 

I woke up the next morning determined to give it one more try.  I went to my go-to baking blog Baked Perfection to see if she had a banana bread recipe.  No bread, but she had a banana peanut butter chocolate chip muffin recipe.  A muffin wouldn't need to bake as long and I have all the ingredients except turbinado sugar.  What the heck is turbinado sugar? 

The two recipes are very similar although the muffin recipe also calls for cinnamon, butter and vanilla.  Baked Perfection's recipe also explained that the chocolate chips should be coated with a small amount of flour to prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the muffin.  Genius!  The muffins are very good.  Nothing super exciting, but nice texture and not over banana-y.  I think they'd be nice with a few chopped nuts in the mix also.  So I finally got my banana bread, in muffin form.  Not bad, but not as good as a nice blueberry muffin.

On the next episode. It's time for a candy/brownie/bar.  I haven't decided upon the next recipe but have been looking at several different options.  This banana bread experiment has me a little gun shy about venturing away from the two or three blogs I really like to find a recipe.  Now what am I gonna do with all these muffins??
Till next time

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