Irene's Aftermath: Flour's Famous Banana Bread

Like everyone else in the D.C. metropolitan area, Tom and I stocked up on bottled water and food last month in anticipation of Hurricane Irene.  Fortunately, we emerged from Irene unscathed, suffering no property damage and never losing power; many others in the area were not so lucky.  Our pre-hurricane grocery purchases included a bunch of bananas that looked fine at the supermarket, but after we brought them home, they proceeded to turn an sickly shade of brown while simultaneously maintaining a cast of green underripeness.  The bananas looked so unappetizing that it was a easy decision to bake them into bread instead of eating them.

I decided to try the recipe for "Flour's Famous Banana Bread" from Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston's Flour Bakery + Cafe by Joanne Chang.  I have a basic banana bread recipe that I'm pretty happy with, but I'm always willing to expand my baking horizons and give a new recipe a try.  Unlike my standard recipe, which simply involves mixing the ingredients together in a bowl, Chang's recipe requires a stand mixer fitted with the whipping attachment.  You whip together sugar and eggs for 5 minutes until they are light and fluffy, and then slowly drizzle in canola oil, being careful not to deflate the volume of the sugar-egg mixture.  Then you add in mashed bananas, creme fraiche (or sour cream), vanilla, the sifted dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt), and walnuts. 

The banana bread is incredibly tender, with a strong banana flavor, just the right amounts of nuts, and a perfectly moist texture.  Honestly, I think this is the best banana bread I've ever had and I'm having a difficult time thinking of anything to criticize.  This is definitely going to become my new go-to banana bread recipe!

Recipe: "Flour's Famous Banana Bread" from Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston's Flour Bakery + Cafe, by Joanne Chang.  The version available here at the Food Network website is almost identical to the version in the cookbook; the cookbook version calls for 1 1/2 cups (210 grams) all-purpose flour, 3/4 cup (75 grams ) toasted and chopped walnuts, and instructs you to bake the bread at 325 degrees for 60-75 minutes.

Previous Post: "Sorry, You Didn't Get the Job... But Can I Keep Your Recipe?," March 29, 2009.


Louise said…
Good timing on your write-up as I had some bananas I either had to use or throw out. This is indeed excellent banana bread. I used a metal pan, so I baked it at 350 and it took about 55 minutes in my convection oven.

I think the bananas you bought before Irene had suffered refrigeration damage.