All grains contain peptides that mimic morphine or endogenous opioid substances. This is where I deal with my latest loaf craving. Get your bread-based exorphin fix here.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Infestation leads to Banana Walnut Loaf

Fannie Farmer's Banana Walnut Loaf

As harvest-time looms, we have a lot of fruits and vegetables coming ripe lately, and with them, we've had quite an infestation of fruit flies in the kitchen.  They really don't harm anything, but they are a nuisance.  They form a miniature oort cloud around our counter compost bucket.

Fruit flies trapped in a plastic wrapped bowl of fruit

Our friend Sandy told us of a fruit-fly trap that is designed to get rid of them.  You put some fruit that they like in a small bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, and poke a few select holes in the top with a toothpick.  The fruit flies will find their way in, but will be unable to find their way out.  You can catch and release them into the wild again (i.e. outside).

Although this was working pretty good, the fruit flies didn't want to leave the bananas we had in a bowl on the counter, so I had to do something with the bananas to get rid of them.

That's when I decided to use this recipe from Fannie Farmer's Cookbook.  It is a quickbread, designed to be whipped up in the time it takes you to preheat the oven.  It uses baking soda, not yeast.

Ingredients: (this is what I weighed, using FF's cup and spoon measurements)
  • 54 g walnuts
  • 157 g multigrain bread flour
  • 154g whole wheat flour
  • 15 g brown sugar
  • 3 g kosher salt
  • 6 g baking soda
  • some dehydrated banana chips

(The Pie went to our friend David)

I just blended the ingredients together and poured it into a buttered tin.  Voila.  Oh, and I tossed a few of my dehydrated bananas on top too.  It bakes for a whole hour.  That's it.

Goodbye Fruit-flies.  Hello, Banana Bread.

I expected this loaf to be sweet.  It is basically a dessert loaf, after all.  But it is a bit too sweet for me.  I really do like the texture of the grains, though, with the walnut.  It is really crunchy and moist.  It has no metallic smell or baking soda taste, just sweetness.  Well, maybe there is a faint aftertaste of something chemical, I don't know.  Maybe it is because I had it with tea.  I wonder if I might be able to achieve something with this if I use yeast.  Can I find a yeasted version of a banana loaf?

A big surprise was the way the dehydrated bananas on top became moist.  I was sure they would retain some crunchiness, especially since they were on the outer part of the crust and exposed to heat, but they did not.  They are easy to cut through, no longer crisp but not quite mushy either.  They just add a bit of texture to the crust.

Notes to Myself
  • Why do your fingers always want to type bandana every time you need to type banana?  Are you from Candada?
  • Is it possible to make a yeasted version of this bread?  Is it desirable?
  • The bananas, when they are pureed, have a strange metallic odor.  What the heck is that?  It is not present in the final bread.  I think that I smelled it even before I added the flour and the baking soda, but I can't remember now.  Check this out. [NOTE: My wife seems to think that the odor I detected comes from the herbs from the garden that she recently ground up in the food processor -- especially the mint.  Others have noted the metallic odor of crushed fresh mint.]
  • Other than eggs and bananas, there is no hydration for this loaf.  Would it benefit from some?
  • What other fruits or vegetables might this sort of quickbread work with?  Would it be possible to make a pumpkin loaf by pureeing some pumpkin, for example?  Or zucchini?  Or tomato? 
  • While it was cooking, I thought that this loaf might benefit from some cinnamon.  Maybe also some nutmeg.

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