Saturday, May 26, 2012

Whole Wheat Banana Bread

I bought Mark Bittman's The Food Matters Cookbook sometime last year. I had checked it out from the library and knew upon first glance that it would be a valuable resource. It has proven to be just that.
This morning, as I saw two bananas on the counter heading to the point of no return, I grabbed them, ready to make our favorite Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins. Then I reminded myself that I have no self-control when those muffins are in the house, and decided to look for something healthier to try. I looked in the index of Bittman's book and found my answer.
While this bread is more time-intensive than muffins, I can feel much better about having a slice or two with my morning coffee. Enjoy this bread that is unlike any other banana bread you've ever tried- sugar-free and much more like bread than cake (and with a very subtle banana flavor)!
Whole Wheat Banana Bread
from The Food Matters Cookbook

3 cups whole wheat flour (I use white-whole wheat)
1 1/2 tsp instant yeast (or 1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast-this is what I used)
2 tsp salt
pinch of cinnamon
1 cup mashed bananas
2 tbs vegetable oil

*If you're using instant yeast--Combine the flour, yeast, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Add the bananas and about 1/2 cup water and stir until blended; the dough should be quite wet, almost like a batter (add more water if it seems dry).
*If you're using active dry yeast, combine the yeast with 1/2 cup of very warm water. Let the yeast soften for about 5 minutes, then combine with rest of the ingredients and proceed with the recipe. (I did have to add a bit of extra water, so don't be scared to!)
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rest in a warm place for about 2 hrs. The dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles.
Use some of the oil to grease a 9 by 5 inch pan. Scoop the dough into the loaf pan and use a rubber spatula to gently settle it in evenly. Brush or drizzle the top with the remaining oil. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, an hour or 2 depending on the warmth of your kitchen. (It won't reach the top of the pan.) When it's almost ready, preheat the oven to 350.
Bake the bread until deeply golden and hollow-sounding when tapped, about 45 minutes. If the loaf releases easily from the pan, turn it out immediately and let cool on a wire rack before slicing; if it sticks a little, let cool in the pan before turning it out.

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