Thursday, August 11, 2011
My Habits, My Banana Bread
I am a creature of habit. I wake up at the same time almost every day and regularly eat the same breakfast for mornings in a row. My lack of variation becomes even worse at lunchtime. Nearly every day at noon I eat this: toasted Acme walnut bread spread thick with avocado. Sometimes there is hummus, occasionally soft egg on top or green salad on the side. But I never manage to get too far from the original. It's simple and satisfying. It works.
It's this habit to be habitual that led me last week to banana bread. Banana bread, you say? But it's August. Shouldn't you be making something with berries or peaches?
The simple answer is yes. The more complicated answer involves the late hour and the understocked pantry. We were out of bread and the only things I had on hand that would help make something satisfying and toastable for the morning were baking basics and a lone banana. So I did what I always did in a similar predicament. I made banana bread.
As I was working, melting and sifting, I heard a strange noise and looked up to see a dog in the kitchen. Bowie, the upstairs pet, had poked his grey and white head through our apartment's unused pet door and decided to climb on through. We stared at each other tentatively.
Bowie spends much of the day barking at the mailman, the fedex guy, and me. I wasn't sure quite what would happen when he realized he wasn't in the right kitchen. In my surprise, I dumped the melted butter into the dry ingredients and began stirring madly, forgetting the egg and the greek yogurt and everything else that was wet. I laughed while Bowie watched and sniffed at my feet.
The resulting banana bread (put into bake after luring Bowie outside) was just fine, even though I'd entirely messed with the method. The bread itself is not very sweet, which we liked, and is ok because it has a crumb topping.
Normally, I'd stray away from a crumb top. I like my bread simple and nutty not crunchy and sweet. But since I've been thinking a lot about my habits, and trying to shake them up a bit, I tried something new. I know, I know... since when is a different banana bread trying something new? But it's a process, right?
The point is, I think, that you can have old habits and new habits at the same time. Your go-to banana bread becomes something new thanks to the crumb topping and the greek yogurt in the batter. Your regular world gets shaken up a bit by the presence of a shaggy dog with bright blue eyes.
Be they little movements or big ones, it's all motion.
Banana Bread with Crumb Topping
1/2 cup white flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
4 tbsp. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/3 plain greek yogurt (non-fat ok!)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 ripe banana, mashed
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp. flour
1 tbsp. butter at room temperature
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
Pinch of salt
1. Preheat oven to 300°.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
3. Stir in the melted butter and the greek yogurt Add egg and stir until well combined. Add banana. Stir until well combined. Spread the batter into pan.
4. Make the crumb topping by mashing together butter, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Distribute topping evenly over batter. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 min, then allow to finish cooling on rack.
Recipe adapted from Mag Hungry