Thursday, July 10, 2008

Recipe: Whole Wheat Banana Bread

With a one year old that loves bananas and is particular about their degree of ripeness, we have a continuous supply of over-ripe bananas at our house. Not being able to waste a morsel of food, I have dug out my whole wheat banana bread recipe. The fact that it uses whole wheat makes this recipe a tad healthier than conventional banana bread. You can use either traditional whole wheat flour or white whole wheat flour, also labeled whole wheat pastry flour, made from white wheat. The latter has a milder wheat flavor and I think it works better for sweet breads like this one. I skip the step of mashing the bananas before adding them to the batter. I find that the paddle attachment on my stand mixer does a wonderful job of breaking up the banana for me. If you'd like, make two small loaves instead of one large one by using the smaller size loaf pans. Then eat one immediately and freeze the other. If you find yourself with one or two ripe bananas or you don't have time to make this recipe when they are at their peek of ripeness, peel them, cut them into one inch chunks, place the banana chunks in a freezer bag and freeze until you have a third banana or time to make the bread. Then just remove the frozen bananas, allow them to thaw and use them in place of fresh bananas.

Whole Wheat Banana Bread

1 cup granulated or brown sugar
1/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature or softened in the microwave (not melted)
2 large eggs
3 ripe medium sized bananas
1/3 cup water
1 2/3 cup white whole wheat or traditional red whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt or 1/2 teaspoon table salt
2/3 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line one 9X5" loaf pan or two 7X3" loaf pans with parchment paper or spray with nonstick cooking spray.

Cream sugar and butter together in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or in a medium bowl with a hand mixer. Blend in eggs. Then add bananas in 1 inch chunks, increasing the speed of the mixer and allowing the paddle or the beaters to break the banana into smaller pieces. When the banana is sufficiently dispersed into the batter, add the water. Add all at once, the whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Then blend just until moistened. Stir in the chopped walnuts. Pour into the prepared pan(s) and bake at 350 degrees until they test done and are nicely browned on top. About an hour for the large loaf or 45 minutes for the two small ones. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from the pan, then cool completely on a rack before slicing.

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