Before I headed out of town last week, I looked at the three bananas I had sitting on the counter and wondered what to do with them. I realized they were already past their prime and would be goners by the time I got back. Then I had a thought; BREAD!; BANANA BREAD! So I tossed them in the refrigerator so they would not be fuzzy when I got back.
I got back in town last night and swung by the grocery store to complete the ingredient list. One special note, backing soda with an expiration date 9 years in the past won’t cut it. Yes, I tested it. Get some new.
And lo, the book decreed that this was to follow the Muffin Method. What is the Muffin Method, you ask?
- Mix the dry team together.
- Mix the wet team together (yes, that includes sugar)
- Combine the two items and mix until just combined.
- Do Not Overmix!
The Wet Team – Squad 1
- Overripe bananas – very overripe; black but not fuzzy
- 1 cup sugar
The Wet Team – Squad 2
- 1 stick unsalted butter – melted and cooled
- 2 large eggs
The Dry Team
- 2 cups AP Flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
First step was to prepare the pan. Alton has a good section on doing so. The first step was to cover the ends of the pan (but not the center) with shortening and flour. Then, using parchment paper (not wax paper), cut a piece and use it as a “sling” over the middle of the pan. This allows for very very simple removal of the bread from the pan upon completion.
Also, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Make sure it is actually at 350. I found that my oven heated to 400 if the knob was set at 350. Use an oven thermometer; trust the oven thermometer not the knob.
Melt the butter and let sit aside to cool. Microwave is your friend here, just go low and slow. (For me it was maybe 2 minutes on power level 3.)
Unskin the bananas into a bowl. Mine were almost falling apart. That is the way you want them. Think mush. I added the sugar to them and used a fork to mix them all together. The recipe suggested a potato masher (which I do not have). I could see that being better for not so mushy bananas, but mine were so ripe that they just fell apart. They turned into a soupy goo as seen in the larger picture below.
Next, the cooled butter and eggs get mixed together in their own bowl. Once combined, mix all the wet ingredients together in one bowl.
Now for the dry team. Put the flour, baking soda, and salt into the bowl of your food processor. We are not using the food processor to mix the batter together, just to aerate and combine the dry ingredients. Pulse them together for a few seconds to combine and then move them to a big mixing bowl. Big enough to hold all the ingredients together.
Now we reach the critical stage of the muffin method; Mixing!
Pour the wet goods on top of the dry goods. Do not stir the mixture, fold it together. And as I said at the beginning, the key here is to not overmix the ingredients. I am sure it has something to do with gluten production. I found a rubber spatula did the trick quite nicely.
When it just comes together, stop mixing. It will be lumpy, but that is ok. Really, I was dubious, but it turned out ok. I tried to check to make sure there weren’t huge balls of dry flour, but that was about it. Pour the mixture into your prepared pan and into the over it goes!
The recipe says to cook for 50 minutes to an hour or until the internal temperature of the bread is 210 degrees. I found that this took over an hour (1 hour, 10 minutes). I started checking at 50 minutes and then every 10 minutes or so.
As it cooked, the whole house started to fill with a wonderful aroma. Sadly, the ability to convey that to you over the web is, um, lacking. Sorry.
When it was time, out of the oven it comes. Let it rest for 15 minutes in the pan and then move it to a plate. The recipe says it will last 5 days tightly wrapped. I doubt mine will survive that long un-eaten.
I’ve included a few more pictures below, but the full set can be found on my flickr page, here. Thanks for reading.