Sunday, January 29, 2017

Banana Nut Bread

My Hubbers and I are big banana eaters; there are always some in the house.  Though we eat a lot of them, inevitably we will have some that get too ripe to eat.  Like most bakers, when that happens, I usually make a loaf of banana nut bread.  It's easy, everyone enjoys it, and a loaf is easy to freeze for later use. My go-to recipe comes from an old Betty Crocker cookbook.  It's got both butter and buttermilk so it's very rich and moist. Nuts are optional, but we like them in our banana bread.  We have clients who gift us some of their walnut crop each year so I always have Ziploc bags of walnuts in my freezer. Pecans are good, also.

Buttermilk and I have a love-hate relationship in my kitchen.  I will buy some for a baked good recipe then won't plan properly for other baked goods and it languishes in my refrigerator until I throw it out.  Or I will want to bake something that has buttermilk in it and, alas, there is none in my fridge!  But, there is a cure for that!  It is very easy to make buttermilk at home.  Combine milk and some vinegar, let it sit for 10 minutes or so, and you get a buttermilk substitute.  It is not as thick as regular buttermilk but it's good enough for baking.  Whenever you see buttermilk in a recipe, it's there to act as the acid in the recipe.  When the acid in the buttermilk interacts with the baking soda it leavens the batter, allowing it to rise without yeast, and making the baked goods light and fluffy. So use this buttermilk substitute, no one will know, it's our secret!

Buttermilk Substitute

Combine 1 cup milk with 1 tablespoon white vinegar.  Let sit for 10 minutes, so the milk has the chance to thicken and curdle.

Banana Nut Bread

1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed very ripe bananas (3 to 4 medium)
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped nuts, if desired

Move oven rack to low position so that the top of the pan will be in the center of the oven.  Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease bottom of 9x5x3-inch loaf pan.

Mix sugar and butter in a large bowl.  Stir in eggs until well blended.  Add bananas, buttermilk and vanilla.  Beat until smooth.  Stir in flour, baking soda and salt just until moistened.  Stir in nuts. Pour into pan.

Bake about 75 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool 10 minutes.  Loosen sides of loaf from pan; remove from pan and place top side up on a wire rack.  Cool completely, about 2 hours, before slicing.


Combine 1 cup milk with 1 tablespoon white vinegar.  Let sit for 10 minutes, so the milk has the chance to thicken and curdle.

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