Can we all agree that we’re happy to see that banana prices have normalised again? For a family that loves bananas, 2011 was quite a challenge but of course the high price was an enduring reminder for all Aussies of how very challenging the year was for people affected by the massive flood in Queensland last January. Being charged up to $18 per kilo for bananas was inconsequential in light of what it was going to cost the people of Queensland to get back to some semblance of normality.
Still, I am very pleased to be able to include bananas in recipes regularly again. The only banana we pretty much had last year was during our trip to the States (they were a dollar a kilo…) and when I did shell out $4 for one banana back home, I sure didn’t want to waste it in a smoothie or banana bread. The latter was definitely one hing I couldn’t wait to bake again.
To the uninitiated, banana bread sounds like something that should be a relatively simple exercise in baking but it takes quite a few attempts to get a perfect loaf happening. You want a recipe that isn’t too sweet, but the amount of sugar you use often depends on how ripe and sweet your bananas are. You also want a banana bread that has just the right amount of density but is also light enough to enjoy like a cake.
I have been through quite a few recipes for banana bread over the years and I’m happy to say that I’ve finally got one that I’m confident in (the last five loaves were scoffed down happily by the entire family). It’s super easy to whip up in the Thermomix which is an added bonus for me. This recipe is adapted from one featured on Exclusively Food. The recipe there is for a banana cake (and therefore includes a luscious icing if people so desire), but I have tinkered with it enough to be a little more dense but with a lightness that I personally prefer.
100g unsalted butter
180g (1 full cup) sugar (I like to do about half white, and half brown or rapadura sugar)
240g very ripe banana
1/2 vanilla bean, scraped
2 large eggs
pinch of sea salt
2 tablespoons sour cream or yoghurt
225g (1 1/2 cups) self-raising flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
dash of milk (only if mixture seems too dense and doesn’t move when bowl is tilted)
Note – I tend to modify the amount of sour cream and milk I use depending on how liquid the bananas are after mixing. Some bananas are drier and will need some extra liquid to make the mixture more fluid.
To Make: Pre-heat oven to 180C (160C if using fan-forced). Place butter, sugar, bananas and vanilla into TMX bowl and mix at Speed 4 for around 10 seconds until smooth and liquid. Add egg, sour cream and salt and mix again on Speed 4 for a few seconds. Add flour and soda to bowl and mix again on Speed 3 until well combined (just a few seconds). If the mixture does not seem very liquid (you should be able to pour most of it out into your loaf pan), then add some milk and blitz again on Speed 3 for a second or two. Transfer mixture to a medium loaf pan that is lined with baking paper. Bake for 50 minutes or until knife/skewer comes out clean when you stab the middle.
This banana bread is lovely fresh from the oven but once the entire loaf has cooled down and the sugar has settled, it is much denser with a more pronounced banana flavour :)