Sunday, 20 October 2013

From Sourdough to Banana Bread and beyond–Part 1 {sourdoughsurprises}

Banana Bread has always been one of my favorite treats. It’s simple to prepare, makes a great snack, and freezes well. I never grow tired of it.

I really enjoy my tried and true banana bread recipes, but I also like to experiment with new ones. Over the years, I’ve made regular banana bread, ultimate, whole wheat, peanut butter, chocolate chip, and over-the-top banana bread to mention a few.

Just when I thought I was running out of options, the Sourdough Surprises’ Baking Group challenged us to make Sourdough Quick Breads. Sourdough!  Now, why didn’t I think of that! 



Sourdough takes quick breads to new heights:

This sourdough quick bread challenge took banana bread to a new level for me. There are so many possibilities. I’ve been having so much fun making banana quick bread with my sourdough starter this month. I made four different variations. The first version is featured in this post. 

Here is the Sourdough Banana Bread recipe I used for my sourdough quick bread experiment.

I started with the sample recipe (recommended by the group - link above). I followed it pretty much to the letter the first time I made the bread because I wanted to see how the original version performed and what enhancements, if any, I might like to make for future breads.



Options for using sourdough in a quick bread:

There are a couple of ways to utilize a sourdough starter in quick breads. You can use any starter you prefer, just make sure it’s fresh, meaning recently fed.

Option 1: Mix all of the ingredients, including the sourdough, omit the baking soda and let the batter ferment for at least seven hours. Then bake it. This method makes it more easily digestible. If you want to mute the sourdough flavor, add the baking soda a few minutes before baking the loaf.



Option 2:  Mix the batter, including the sourdough, add the baking soda and bake the bread. If you bake the bread immediately, you won’t get the benefits of the fermentation, but it still makes a delicious bread.

This is the method I used for my first attempt. I didn’t want to wait for the batter to ferment so I added 1 cup of my recently fed apple starter, mixed the batter and baked it right away. 



This version is really good for a sourdough quick bread; however, it didn’t have the banana flavor that I was looking for. The texture was perfect so I think part of the problem was the coconut oil that I used instead of butter. It gave the bread a wonderful flavor, but kind of overpowered the banana flavor. Even so, I really liked this bread, especially with the addition of chopped walnuts.

On subsequent attempts, I let the batter ferment for at least 7 hours and sometimes overnight. The fermentation gave the loaf a nice tangy flavor; however, there was still the issue of the muted banana flavor.

I finally found the sweet spot by combining a couple of different techniques to get the benefits from the sourdough and enhance the banana flavor without affecting the texture of the bread.


Banana Bread and beyond…

If you’re wondering what I meant by “and beyond” in the title of this post, stay tuned. I’ll be posting more about my sourdough banana bread adventures. Look for a follow-up post that reveals how I took this recipe, incorporated a different starter, and a method for enhancing the banana flavor and came up with my own quick bread.

Here’s a preview of the next phase of my experiment:



Happy Baking!



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