Sourdough Banana (minus the nuts) Bread
I am on a roll and just can’t seem to help myself. I am just taken with the sourdough concept because it’s just so easy. I am not a professional baker but I used to work in a bakery while going to culinary school. I think that’s where my sweet tooth and bread tooth got a heck of a work out. I used to make donuts and gradually worked up to preparing the bread for baking. So my fascination with bread is a long standing one. However, the sourdough obsession just started.
Up for experiment number three is a Sourdough Banana Nut Bread (minus the nuts). I made the bread because it seemed pretty easy. I wanted to know if the sourdough sponge would change the taste of the bread. Nope, not in any way! So I am not sure other than it’s a novelty thing, if I would go through the whole process of 3 days for the sourdough starter, then another 12-36 hours for the sponge to take hold and then getting to bake. I have eaten a lot of quick breads, and this one was fine. I have eaten others that have take so much less time that tasted just as good. Would I make it again? You have to ask?
Sourdough Banana Nut Bread
Makes 2 8 1/2X4 1/2 loaves
1/2 cup sourdough starter (see this)
1 cup warm water (105-115)
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
For the Bread
2 large eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3 bananas)
3/4 cup melted vegetable shortening
1 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts
At least 12 hours before baking, combine the starter, flour, and water in a large glass or pottery bowl and mix well. The sponge will have the consistency of cake batter. Cover with plastic wrap and let ripen for at least 12 but not more than 36 hours.
When ready to make bread, preheat the oven to 350F. Grease 2 (8 1/2X4 1/2 inch) pans, four (5X3 1/2 inch) pans, or six (15 ounce) cans. Sprinkle the sides and bottoms of the pans with flour.
Add the eggs, bananas, and shortening to the starter and mix.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, soda and salt until well combined. Add the walnuts and toss to mix.
Add the sponge to the dry ingredients all at once and stir just until mixed, taking care not to over mix. The mixture will be lumpy. Spoon the batter into the prepared pans.
Bake the 8 1/2 loaves for 1-1 1/2 hours; 5-inch loaves for 35 minutes; 15 oz. cans for 25-30 minutes. When done, the loaves will shrink slighly from the sides of the pans and feel springy to the touch. The internal temperature should reach 190F. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes before turning out and completely cooling on a rack.
Note: I know that when I read the recipe I freaked out about the melted vegetable shortening. I used the green can of Crisco. I think that one doesn't have any trans-fatty goo in it. Other than that and leaving out the nuts, I actually followed the recipe the way it was written. The starter came out of the refrigerator and I mixed all the ingredients for the sponge, fed it and put it right back into the refrigerator. I let the sponge it covered with plastic wrap for about 24 hours. It really did bubble like what is described in The Bread Book and was just like pancake batter. If you can stand waiting all the time for the starter to rippen and then the sponge to do it to, the recipe is pretty straight forward.