What a great banana week!* First Banana Split Chiffon Cake with the Alpha Bakers and then Banana Feather Bread for The Bread Bible baking project. My photos don't do justice to the deliciousness of this bread. It looks a lot like the type of bread that Australian baker/blogger, Em Hart from Keeler and Spon, refers to as sliced white death; but it really isn't. And there's no way I can transmit the soft sweet banana flavour to you. This was truly moreish. In fact I'd really like some now. My advice is to double the recipe when you make this, because you'll want to keep some in the freezer to defrost for weekend breakfasts.
*No it's not an official week. Yet.
This bread is made by leaving a starter to ferment for four hours then adding banana and a little butter before kneading. Once the dough is kneaded, a miraculous transformation takes place. If you use your standmixer and go off and do something else while it kneads, the transformation comes as a goosepimple-producing surprise when you return. Look at that last picture of the kneaded dough - it looks like newly churned ice cream! It tasted (who could resist?) very banana-ey and was really soft and silky. Bread making really is the best thing.
I was reading some of Rose's general commentary and instructions in The Bread Bible (rather belatedly) and, on the question of using a standmixer versus hand-kneading, Rose noted that while you don't get to 'feel' the dough as much with a standmixer, the home cook is more likely to make bread regularly if it's a bit it easier. I'm paraphrasing, but you get the gist. I was feeling like I might be missing out on something by using the standmixer but when it comes down to it, I'm often rushing to get the baking done and in no mood to knead anything for 10 minutes. Maybe my next holidays would be a good time to work on my kneading prowess.
I used Laucke Wallaby Bakers' Flour for this bread because, as I've mentioned before, it's not easy to get the brands Rose specifies in the recipe, plus I kind of think you should be able to adapt a recipe to local conditions, and the protein levels in the Wallaby Flour are similar to the specified flour. So far I haven't had any flops although an expert might be able to tell the difference. Sometimes ignorance really is bliss.
I did try not to push all the air out of the dough when I was shaping it, but it didn't fill the bread tin as much as it should have. It rose nicely though (if bit lopsided).
The loaf rose even more as it baked which made me ridiculously happy. Then I made it shiny with melted butter brushed on the hot loaf.
Ahhh, my little shiny pseudo-brioche. But I liked this better than brioche. It had a denser, stronger structure, with a soft richness achieved with only banana, a little butter and very little effort. No wonder I kept this bread all for myself. Ha.
Next month the Bread Bible Alpha Bakers are making Southwestern Corn Spoon Bread (I had to say that really slowly to myself to type it correctly. It sounds very exotic if a little tongue-twisting.)