I love the idea of banana bread more than the actual thing. I do however, enjoy the way it perfumes the whole house as it bakes. And I mostly love all things banana. But I think banana bread tastes a little bit harsh and with every bite I wish I was eating something else. Like chocolate (surprise).
As many of you know I’ve been baking my way through Joanne Chang’s book Flour. I enjoy the way she writes a recipe. I can make just about all of it gluten-free because the recipes use weights (see About Flours - section: Why Weigh). And I even tried Joanne’s banana bread just because. Everyone who had a slice thought it was terrific. But me? Meh. It was ok. No reflection on Joanne’s recipe. Just my love/hate with banana bread.
But this gluten-free revision of the recipe turned out to be an accidental success. I was testing the Coconut Banana Caramel Pudding and many earlier batches didn’t set properly (remember I mentioned that if you torture corn starch it rebels and won’t set). I didn’t want to waste all that product because it was pretty tasty – think banana milkshake. I decided to make another banana bread and instead of using regular old mashed bananas I would substitute the
pudding milkshake that was full of good mellow banana flavor.
Not only did it work, but it had an unbelievable flavor. A big banana flavor but none of the harshness. It made for a bread that was perfect on the inside and crunchy chewy on the edges. The coconut banana caramel was a perfect addition.
I made several more batches just to make sure, because you can never have enough really good banana bread. If you take care and follow the directions, and stick to the measurements, it will work perfectly. Don’t forget to make the pudding at least one day ahead so it has time to rest. And feel free to whack the heck out of the corn starch as you make the pudding because it doesn’t matter if it sets for this purpose. The longer you let the pudding rest in the big chill, the more mellow the banana flavor gets.
One more reason to save those icky black (and perfect) bananas, right?
And if you don’t yet have your own copy of Flour, what are you waiting for?
|Banana Bread, Gluten Free||
- See post (made at least one day ahead)
- 100 grams sugar (about ½ cup)
- 2 whole large eggs
- 80 grams neutral vegetable oil (liquid)
- 20 grams unsalted butter, browned
- 2 tablespoons Greek Yogurt or sour cream or creme fraiche
- Banana Pudding (about 350 grams) (about 1.5 cups)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon dark Rum
- 210 grams GF Flour (about 1.5 cups) (150 g superfine brown rice flour, 30 grams superfine white rice flour, 30 g tapioca starch/flour)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
- 1 scant teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- couple of twists of freshly ground black pepper
- 180 grams chopped and toasted pecans
- Make this at least one day or more ahead and chill in the refrigerator. Measure out 350 grams and set aside on baking day so that it comes to room temperature.
- Preheat oven to 350 and butter a 9×5 loaf pan. A dark loaf pan will result in a darker crust and a lighter pan, a less browned crust.
- In a small saucepan brown the butter on medium heat until it is a nice toasted brown color. Set aside to cool. Weigh sugar and add eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment beat the heck out of it at a good clip (think medium high for most stand mixers) until it looks fluffy and very light in color. That will take about 5-7 minutes. Drizzle in the oil slowly so that it incorporates into the fluff without deflating the egg mixture. That will take almost a minute so be patient. Add in the nutty brown butter, bits and all. Then toss in the yogurt/sour cream and banana pudding and flavorings. Stop once it is all mixed in which should take just a couple of turns. Remove the bowl. Weigh flours together in a small bowl and add in the baking soda, espresso powder, salt, cinnamon and ground pepper. Fold it into the wet mixture – don’t stir, just fold gently. Once it looks incorporated, let the whole thing sit about 5 minutes without stirring. Once again, fold carefully looking for any lumps of flour and smash them into the batter. Then add in the toasted pecans and fold. Pour into the prepared 9×5 pan and bake at 350 for 50 minutes. Turn oven to 325 and bake about 15-20 minutes more or just until a toothpick comes out clean but not completely dry. Give the pan about 5 minutes on the rack and then remove the banana bread and cool on a rack until stone cold. If you can wait for a few hours to let the flavors develop – it tastes even better. Wrap loosely in foil for storing and you can reheat slices in the oven if the crust gets too soggy.