I had a hankerin’ for some banana bread last week. I had all the ingredients, but my bananas were not overly ripe, as they should be. What to do? Should I wait a few days until they became all freckly and soft? Or should I take more drastic measures to bring on mushing?
From an online search, I found the answer. Baking peeled bananas at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes would give me the texture needed to achieve a more intensely flavored bread. And, sure enough, the oven treatment worked! I had soft, soggy bananas in no time.
The Perfect Bunker Bread
The recipe I used was from Bon Appetit, one that got rave reviews in the comment section of their website. I didn’t have the mascarpone cheese called for, so I took their suggestion to sub yogurt. Instead of chocolate chips, I went with small shards from a Ghirardelli chocolate bar, that I uncovered in the bottom of the freezer.
Banana bread is one of those things that can be altered to fit what you have in the pantry, which makes it the perfect bunker bread. Use just one egg, if you don’t have two; add chocolate chips and nuts, or not.
Sugar can suit your taste as well. Brown sugar results in a denser, moister bread than white sugar. Creaming the butter and sugar (rather than using melted butter) gives you a lighter, more cake-like texture. Using melted butter makes for a denser, less crumbly bread.
Where Did I Put That Doggone Bread Pan?
When I looked for my bread pan, I couldn’t find one anywhere. (Come to think of it, I have three at my condo.) Finally, I found a cast iron bread pan, that I’d never used. When I picked it up, I knew why. It was as heavy as lead!
Even so, on line users lauded the results of baking bread in cast iron. Most agreed pan heated up better than a glass or steel-coated pan, cooked more evenly and created a better crust.
It did all those things, though I felt like I needed a fork lift to get the heavy pan into the oven. The bread cooks for 50-60 minutes and cools for an hour. The smell alone is drool-worthy, making it hard to wait the prescribed time before slicing.
The Bon Appetit recipe suits me just fine, though I would add a teaspoon of vanilla next time. This is a keeper!