Whole Wheat Banana Bread

There is almost never a dearth of blackening bananas on our dining table. Just like there’s never good news when it’s appraisal time. Ok that’s the worst analogy ever but couldn’t contain my “Outsourced under-paid Indian employee” anguish. It’s that time of the year when you hear the words “Ownership”, ”Visibility”, ”Initiative” bouncing around your office corridors and you know that soon you’ll get what is widely called a “hike” which you won’t notice unless you look really hard and with which you can’t even settle your tea-kadai account. This time he might just give me a ten rupee note from his pocket as my hike. You can never say.

whole wheat banana bread

I am not looking forward to it. I’ll take a slightly lesser paid samayal-kari (cook) job if there is one. Let me know if you know one (but not on linkedIn, I may not even get the 10 rupee).

Back to the bananas. There are at-least a couple of them in various stages of over-ripeness and nobody at home even bothers to toss them into the bin, usually. But remember I am notoriously unlucky with things like these. The one day that I look up a banana recipe, mentally check all the ingredients and come home dreaming of baking some banana goodness, I find that somebody has suddenly become over-responsible and has thrown away my precious over-ripe bananas. I cannot go to the potti-kadai and ask for over-ripe bananas. Already word is out that I am a crazy nut who asks for funny sounding ingredients (try asking for Badam Pisin with a straight face; I can’t).

whole wheat banana bread

The point behind all this is you need really ripe bananas to make good banana bread. The rest is trivial.

This whole wheat banana looks more like a plum cake because of the dark brown sugar in it. It smells heavenly when it bakes and is remarkably soft and light for a whole wheat bread. I was hasty and did not let it cool fully before shoving it in the fridge. The resultant condensation I think makes it look a bit denser that it originally was. The original recipe in Maida Heatter’s book also had walnuts in it. I skipped it as my kids don’t dig nuts. But if you have walnuts, chop them and fold them in at the last moment before popping the pan into the oven. Bananas and walnuts are classic combination. You can’t go wrong.

whole wheat banana bread

Prep time: 20 mins
Baking time: 40-50 mins
Makes: One 9 inch loaf – about 12 slices

Whole wheat flour – 1 cup
All purpose flour/Maida – ½ cup
Baking soda – 1 tsp
Cinnamon powder – ½ tsp
Salt – ¼ tsp
Mashed ripe Banana – 1 cup
Egg – 1
Vanilla Essence – 1 tsp
Buttermilk – ¼ cup
Brown sugar – ¾ cup
Butter – 120 gm
Walnuts – ½ cup chopped (I skipped)

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease and flour a loaf pan. Set aside.
  2. Sift together flours, salt, baking soda and cinnamon powder twice. Set aside.
  3. Mash about 3-5 very ripe bananas to make about 1 cup. Do not puree the bananas to the runny stage. Mash with the back of a fork. Set aside.
  4. Mix mashed bananas, buttermilk and vanilla essence and set aside. To make buttermilk, add 1/2 tbsp vinegar to ¼ cup milk and let stand for about 10 minutes. The milk will thicken and curdle into buttermilk.
  5. Beat butter until soft. Add brown sugar and cream well for about 3-4 minutes till soft and fluffy.
  6. Add the egg to the butter mixture and beat well. Beating on low speed, add the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture alternately in 3 steps, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Beat only till all the flour is just incorporated. Do not overbeat.
  7. Fold in the chopped nuts (if using) into the batter.
  8. Turn the batter into the prepared loaf pan and level. Bake in the preheated oven for 50 minutes or till a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  9. Remove pan from oven and let cool completely – about 20 minutes or so. Slice and serve. Refrigerate for up to a week.
whole wheat banana bread

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