Monday, May 23, 2011

Banana Bread Showdown

Last week, the night before leaving town, I decided it would be a good time to...

bake.

What?  Did you think I would say pack?  Clean the house?  Oh, puhlease.

Why would I want to do any of those things?

So, I took the 6 rotting  ripened bananas sitting on top of my refrigerator and went to the interwebs to find some contenders for the banana bread showdown.  Here's what I came up with, along with the links to their recipes (all of which I got from tastykitchen.com).


I would like to note that I did not follow these recipes to the letter.  I did not put any add-ins into the bread (such as blueberries or chocolate chips), nor did I follow through with any sort of topping (like struesel or crunchy sugar).  Finally, I did only make a half-batch of one of the breads (although I dont' remember which one), in keeping with 2 bananas per batch.

I mixed together the batter and made 3 small loaves of each, then poured the remaining batter into a large loaf pan, mixing all 3 types together.  What?  I didn't know what else to do with it.  Here's the pictoral representations:

*Announcer voice*
In the top left corner, weighing in at 1/4 C of oil and containing no vanilla, #3!
In the bottom right corner, weighing in with the thickest batter and thickest ankles, #2!
Finally, from the top right, hailing from the land of most butter eva, #1!
Let the games begin!
While these guys baked up (about 50 minutes), I compiled my thoughts on how this was going to play out and chose the crowd favorite (I was the crowd, fyi).

  • Brown Butter, the definite favorite.  It will have the extra layer of flavor, and it incorporates buttermilk.  I LOVE buttermilk recipes.
  • Cinnamon Sugar, the dark horse.  No vanilla, no butter, not an excessive amount of cinnamon and no brown sugar.  Really, this longshot didn't really belong in this race.
  • Brown Sugar, nothing fancy.  Nothing to write home about.  In a word, "Meh."

The results:  We have an upset!

After the fight baking round, no one was any the worse for wear.
#3 (top left corner) seems to be overly browned, but I reckon that has more to do with the oil v. butter issue rather than what went on in the oven.


After making the sacrifice and tasting all 3 loaves (Handsome weighed in too, and agreed), we have, in order of best outcome,
First Place - Brown Sugar
Runner Up - Brown Butter
Honorable Mention - Cinnamon Sugar

where Brown Sugar was a clear winner.  It was very, very good.  The Brown Butter tasted like... butter.  Which is weird that it didn't taste like bananas, but hey, baking can be weird sometimes.  
The Cinnamon sugar was clearly hurting from the issues I listed previously.  

So there you have it.  I've done the hard work, now you can reap the rewards.  My next step is to try and make my own recipe (I'm thinking buttermilk, ground oatmeal, and maybe a little more butter), and then find the best topping.  So we're not done yet, but we're getting closer.

Wondering why I don't do this for my dissertation,
TFW

3 comments:

  1. LOVED your post! My sis-in-law recently gave me this recipe and I have made quite a few (and eaten all) of the loaves! It is simple, but delicious! I can't wait to try your recipes! Thanks for sharing!

    3 or 4 ripe bananas, smashed
    1/3 cup melted butter
    1 cup sugar (can easily reduce to 3/4 cup)
    1 egg, beaten
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    Pinch of salt
    1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

    Preheat oven to 350. With a wooden spoon, mix butter into the mashed banans in a large mixing bowl. Mix in the sugar, egg, and vanilla. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in. Add the flour last, mix. Pour mixture into a buttered 4X8 inch loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour. Cool on a rack. Remove from pan and slice to serve.

    ReplyDelete
  2. @Stephanie Rader
    Thanks for the recipe Steph! I'll definitely try it! Hope you find some success with the others!

    ReplyDelete
  3. So you have a lemon pound cake recipe? I had Starbuck's pound cake today and now I have a craving to make some next time I go home, especially since I'm trying to impress this boy. haha

    ReplyDelete

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