Banana Bread - The One

Winter arrived in earnest this week and as I huddled indoors with Master N, it seemed a perfect time to turn the two over-ripe bananas in my fruit bowl into banana bread. 

It took me a while to arrive at what I consider to be the best banana bread recipe in the world. It’s Bill Granger’s. Well, it was before I went tweaking to try to meet the near impossible criteria set by my cafes.  

Turns out baking “cafe standard” banana bread is quite a feat. I needed a really long, really wide and high loaf that was nice and moist (and not too dense) and that would last for up to a week. Oh, and it still had to have that homemade buttery taste but not too much of a homemade rustic look. Not too much to ask?

I tried various recipes, tin sizes and played around with quantities before finding The One. I top mine with Demerara sugar and chopped pecans. It’s soft and fluffy but not crumbly.

It's wonderful on its own, especially on the day of baking, but on subsequent days I like to serve it toasted with a smear of ricotta and a drizzle of maple syrup.

Here, I share the love that is Bill’s banana bread recipe. It’s perfect for a spot of long weekend baking, or keep it up your sleeve for a rainy day like I did.

Banana Bread
(Recipe based on Bill Granger’s Melt & Mix Banana Bread recipe, published in the SMH’s Good Living liftout in June 2007)
Makes two loaves - one for now and one to freeze for later.

2 tbsp Demerara (or raw) sugar
30g pecan nuts, roughly chopped
2 x 375ml cartons sour cream
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
1 cup canola oil
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups self raising flour, sifted.
1 tsp baking powder
2 cups caster sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
4 medium sized bananas, blitzed or mashed to a pulp

Preheat oven to 170C.
Grease and line two deep loaf tins with baking paper. Leave edges overhanging to allow you to pull the loaf out easily when cooled.
Mix Demerara sugar and pecans in a small bowl and set aside.
Mix sour cream and bicarbonate of soda in a large bowl together and set aside for 5 mins.
Combine sifted flour, baking powder, sugar, ginger and cinnamon in a large bowl.
Combine oil, eggs and vanilla whisk into the sour cream mixture.
Add the sour cream mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
Fold in the mashed bananas.
Pour the batter into prepared tins and sprinkle sugar and pecans on top.
Bake for 60 mins until golden brown on top and a skewer comes out clean.
Cool in tins.
Serve in thick slices plain or with butter, or my favourite, with ricotta and honey or maple syrup.


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