Sunday, January 31, 2016

Flour Bakery's famous banana bread

An almost-perfect banana bread, this is a top-seller at Joanne Chang's Flour Bakery in Boston. You'll want to stock up on bananas so you can bake another batch!

Santa was good me last month, as I received a copy of Joanne Chang's cookbook for the holidays. I remember watching her battle Bobby Flay on Food Network's Throwdown where she beat the famous chef during a sticky bun challenge. That television show really put her on the (culinary) map.

After I read through her cookbook, Joanne's banana bread stood out to me. It was titled "famous banana bread" and said that this item was a top-seller at the bakery. Banana bread, while it seems like a pretty humdrum baked good, is usually really awesome or awesomely bad. Some are too sweet, while others are too dry. Some have too many nuts, while others could use some add-ins.

This version is pretty much perfect. I made some slight alterations to Joanne's recipe to suit my tastes: I upped the quantity of bananas, omitted the creme fraiche and nuts, and substituted oil for applesauce. The banana bread was just the way I wanted it to be, and my husband happily agreed. He couldn't wait to try a slice after it came out of the oven and said that the house smelled amazing.

The bread has a wonderful springy texture and wasn't a bit dry. The bread was sweet from the bananas and I probably could have decreased the sugar since I used 4 bananas instead of the 3.5 that Joanna's recipe recommended. All in all, I was very happy with the way this banana bread turned out and am sure that I will be baking it again soon.

Flour Bakery's famous banana bread
  • 1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 4 medium sized bananas, very ripe and mashed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Generously grease a standard 9"x5" loaf pan (I used a silicone pan and did not grease it).

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer, beat the sugar and eggs on medium speed until mixture is pale and fluffy.

Turn the mixer down to low and add the applesauce a little bit at a time. Then add the bananas and vanilla and mix until just combined.

Turn the mixer off and fold in the dry ingredients by hand until no dry streaks remain. Use as few strokes as possible.

Transfer the batter to your prepared loaf pan and bake in your preheated oven for about 1 hour or until the top is golden brown. If you press down on the middle of the bread, it should spring back. If it doesn't, bake for longer.

Bread should be cooled before serving. Store in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator. It will keep for several days.

Yield: One 9"x5" loaf; about 10-12 servings

Source: Slightly adapted from Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston's Flour Bakery + Cafe

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