Sourdough bread making is a labour of love. It’s also a bit of an art. Having failed horribly on several occasions, and struggled for much of a rainy night rodding out drains which had got blocked by a starter which decided to spring into action only when washed down the drain in despair, I think I’ve got a fairly good understanding of my starter now, and how to keep it Happy. It takes regular feeding – and the daily doubling in size means lots of ‘discard’ recipes to avoid waste.
This is a wonderfully comforting, quite dense banana ‘bread’. Slightly treacly. Perfect for Autumn and winter. The recipe is originally from the Clever Carrot. As always with banana loaf, it depends on that winning combo: over ripe bananas and brown sugar.
Line a 9″ x 5″ loaf tin with parchment paper
375 g overripe bananas, weighed with the skin on (about 2 medium bananas)
225 g (1 1/4 cups lightly packed) light or dark brown sugar
1½ tsp pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
100 g (appx. 1/2 cup) bubbly, active 100% hydration sourdough starter
250g (2 cups) all-purpose flour
1½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
125ml (½ cup) rapeseed oil or other flavourless oil
60ml (1/4 cup) milk
Icing sugar, butter, and mascarpone cheese for serving, optional
Preheat the oven to 180C & line three 7″x3″x2″ mini loaf pans or one 9″×5″ loaf pan with baking parchment.
Cream bananas, sugar and vanilla with a hand held mixer or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, about 30 seconds to 1 minute (some small lumps of banana are okay).
Add the eggs, one at a time until fully incorporated. Gently add the sourdough starter.
Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, and salt together in a separate bowl. Add in batches to the banana mixture.
Add the milk and oil and mix until just combined. Do not over do it or the banana bread will be tough.
Pour the batter into the prepared tin(s). If using the mini loaf pans, place them onto a baking sheet and transfer to the oven.
Bake for 45 minutes (for the mini loaf pans) or 60- 65 minutes (for the standard 9×5-inch pan), until rich golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Cover with foil if the loaf browns too quickly.
Cool in the pan for 20 minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Dust with icing sugar if you fancy a touch of snow!
Making Sourdough bread encourages patience. Learning to make it encourages reflection, and some routine. No short-cuts, fancy machines or packets to help. Just time, the simplest, most basic of ingredients and utensils, and airborne, powerful yeast… too small to see, but so powerful – it’s they who make the loaf what it is, in terms of taste, texture, and living wonder!