Whole Wheat Banana Bread and Muffins
I love bananas! They are my "go to" snack. I grab one, eat it, and the banana keeps me full for quite awhile. I love banana bread, so I was wondering about this whole wheat version from "Healthy Breads in 5 Minutes a Day."
My local grocery store marks down their very ripe bananas on Mondays. Just perfect for banana bread! I am nicknamed "the muffin lady" in this store, so sometimes they will save ripe bananas for me.
The dough seemed quite wet. It reminded me of the Whole Wheat Mixed Berry Bread.
I created some steam in my microwave oven, where I would let my dough rise. I put a post-it note at the top of the dough, so I could see the amount of rise. Several hours later, you can see that the dough really did rise! Success!
I wanted a rectangular loaf that would be easy to slice. I found a folding technique in "A Blessing of Bread--Recipes and Rituals, Memories and Mitzvahs" by Maggie Glezer. Ms. Glezer has wonderful interviews with long time bakers who share their baking techniques. I just love reading stories of the bakers! And they share their wonderful tips!! One bagel and bread baker shared his folding method for a loaf of deli rye bread that would be sliced for sandwiches. I used it on the Whole Wheat Mixed Berry Bread and just loved it! I will repeat it here, it's so wonderful.
Start with a thick rectangle of dough. Then,
"To shape the loaf, fold opposite edges in to the center of the dough and press the dough to even its thickness (1,2 below). Roll the dough up from a long (not the folded) end (3,4) to make a log that is about 3 inches in diameter and 9 inches long. (Basically, you want to make a short fat log so you will have big slices of bread for sandwiches.) Roll the log back and forth to even it, then place it seam side down on the peel or board."
Then cover the loaves with plastic wrap to rise.
As you can see in the picture below, this method creates a uniform rectangular loaf. I like the shape better than a regular oval or letter fold technique:
We liked this bread. It reminded us of the Whole Wheat Mixed Berry Bread. We first ate it on Friday night, and found ourselves snacking on it all weekend!
Handwise tips: If you have hand pain, tendonitis, or arthritis or any other pain issues and want to make this recipe,
- Make the dough several days before you bake.
- Shlep once, bake twice! Our group tends to make a recipe a week, and posts about them every two weeks. I don't like pulling out my five-pound containers of flour. Filling up a smaller container more often is bothersome. Some time and energy is saved by measuring out the dry ingredients for both recipes at once. You can easily measure out the flours and salt. I measure by scale, which I think is faster than measuring by cups. It's more accurate, too--a cup is a cup, no matter whether you fluff the flour or pack it in. Just be sure to label what's in your container!
- A mixer or food processor can help you. You could put soapy water in it and maybe run it for a few seconds to help clean it after removing the dough.
- Then, if you are using a food processor, remove the dough hook/blade so that you can fill up the bowl even more. Put an empty (cleaned) container from 35mm film upside down, over the center portion and you can fill it up higher to soak. The water shouldn't leak out!
- Let the dough rest if it resists stretching out. Wait 10-15 minutes after doing the gluten cloak, and it easily should be able to be shaped. Good time to have a seat and rest your hands!
- I used a muffin scoop and a small spatula to remove the dough for muffins. For some people, that's easier than squeezing the muffin scoop handle.
- Maybe making a loaf on 2 separate days. You don't have to bake it all at once.
- Soak your tools in your empty dough bucket or a pan when you are finished using them. That way, you can wash them easily later (or tomorrow!) Give yourself the permission of time to clean up much later.