Banana Bread

I looove Banana bread, ever since I first tried it in a little cafe in my home town Carlisle with my mum it's been one of my favourite sweet treats. 

I always seem to buy bananas in the hope that I'll be healthy and actually eat them but that never seems to happen and I end up with multiple brown bananas I definitely don't want to eat. The solution? Banana bread! 


  • So the ingredients you'll need are: 

    285g/10oz self raising flour,
  • ½ tsp salt,
  • 150g/4oz butter, plus a little extra for greasing,
  • 250g/8oz caster sugar,
  • 2 free-range eggs,
  • 5 ripe mashed bananas,
  • 85ml/3fl oz milk mixed with 1½ tsp lemon juice or vinegar,
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract,


    To start make sure you've preheated your oven to 180 degrees celsius and grease or line your chosen baking tin, I'd recommend lining as I just used butter this time and it was more of a struggle to get the bread out of my tin. It's also a good idea to take your butter out of the fridge a little while before you want to use it so it's softer ready to be combined with the sugar. 


    Step one is to measure out your butter and sugar and cream the mixture together. I'm not sure if you're familiar with the creaming method, but basically you want to almost kind of squash the mixture together to bind the butter and sugar together until it's fluffy and light, this can take a bit of patience and a lot of persistence if you're doing it by hand but you can alternatively use a hand mixer which is much faster. (Also if your butter is still feeling a bit too hard to cream together just pop it in the oven for just a few minutes and that should soften it up and make it easier to use.)


    Step two you want to mix together the milk (with a little lemon juice), mashed bananas, eggs and vanilla essence. Mash everything up together in a jug, I like to leave some banana lumps so it's not completely smooth which gives you more banana lumps in the bread when it's baked. Then mix this thoroughly with your creamed butter and sugar. 


    Step three is to carefully fold the self raising flour and salt into your existing mix. Make sure you don't beat the flour in, it should be folded which will give the bread a much lighter texture than if you were to just mix the whole thing together. A simple explanation of folding the flour in is that you basically want to be lifting the mixture from the bottom over the top of the flour you're adding in until it all becomes combined. This way you should end up with a nice light bread once you're done. 



    Finally pop all of your mix, or enough to fill to the top, in your tin and get ready to bake. 
    The bread is going to take about an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes to bake completely. I like to set my time for 30 minute intervals so that I can check that the outside isn't baking too fast, if it is i.e the top is getting brown but the inside isn't cooked yet, just wrap the top of your tin in foil and pop it back in the oven this will stop the top from getting any darker but the inside of your bread will carry on cooking. 
    Set your timer for another 30 minutes and once that's up the best way to check if your bread is done is to insert a skewer in the middle if the skewer comes out clean then your cake is done and if not recover it and keep checking every 5-10 minutes until the skewer comes out clean. 


    I have to say for me the most difficult part of this process is trying to get the bread out of the tin, I didn't use baking paper to line the tin as I didn't have any so I found it got quite stuck around the edges. To solve this I just ran a sharp knife around the edges of the tin to loosen it up and left it to cool for a while, later I flipped the bread upside down onto a wire cooling rack and tapped the bottom of the tin to loosen that up. Eventually my bread came out all in one piece, try not to scoop it out, the bread will come out if you've greased the sides enough don't worry. 

    Final step is to enjoy it, I can eat banana bread at any time of day but it's really good for breakfast piled with fruit and yogurt. Or alternatively as a mid afternoon snack with a slick of butter (not very healthy I know) a good way to satisfy that little sugar craving and bananas are fruit right? Thats got to make it good for me! 

    Katy 
    x

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