Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Banana Feather Loaf Roundup

Feeling Foodish Banana Feather Loaf

My original reason for choosing the Banana Feather Loaf was to compare recipes that sweeten the bananas with a recipe that uses the banana as the sweetener. Both the Banana Chiffon Cake and the Banana Feather Loaf recipes produced a product that had a fine, delicate crumb, but the delicacy of each was dependent on different sets of chemical reactions, and required two different skill sets. It only proves the versatility, and competence of Rose’s Alpha Bakers—that they were able to use bananas in a delicate meringue based cake, as well as use bananas in a yeast bread. No doubt bananas are great.

That being said, everyone was successful in baking the Banana Feather Loaf. Everyone got a light, airy, tender crumb, and everyone found the loaf intriguing. The banana flavour was barely detectable and very light, across the board. Plus, all of the Alpha Bakers noted that the bread was eaten up quickly and enthusiastically. What was different was in the application: how to serve it and what to eat it with! 

Knowing there was banana in the recipe, we were all looking for its familiar flavour, but what we got instead was a nuance of the banana itself. We picked up on its sweet sugars, but couldn’t quite land on the essence of banana in the way we might have expected. How interesting is this?

What was most interesting was the conclusion that each of the Alpha Bakers came to about the Banana Feather Loaf. Here were the differences:

Kristina had a hard time figuring out what to say about the bread. She compared it to Rose’s white sandwich bread, which she knows so well. Unlike the white sandwich bread, she couldn’t see using it for grilled cheese, tuna melts or garlic bread. She considered it a breakfast or snack bread for either french toast or a special occasion breakfast. Otherwise, she doesn’t think she’ll bake it again.

Marie B found the Banana Feather Loaf sat on the fence between sweet and savoury. She said that it’s not quite a sandwich bread, but it’s not really a sweet bread. She too thought it would be perfect for French Toast. In the end though, she took Rose up on the suggestion to toast it with peanut butter and fresh banana. BTW, welcome again Marie B. to the Bread Bible Alpha Bakers. It’s a real pleasure to have you bake with us!

Marie W. perceived more than a hint of banana flavour that became more noticeable when she toasted it, and that’s where the rub is. In order to taste the banana as we would expect, we have to toast the bread, but then the problem is toasting a feather light slice can burn in the blink of an eye. So what to do? Just go with the flow and enjoy!

Elle was not put off by the sweetness at all. At first she thought it would be a perfect sweet, tea-bread, but changed her mind when she saw how light and airy it was and how subtle the banana flavours are. For her, it was everything she could have wanted out of a loaf of bread: great as toast, with peanut butter, strawberry jam, and of course some sliced banana.

Vicki felt the bread is just amazing. She got a beautiful rise from the dough and found the final texture and lightness to be like nothing she have ever tasted before. She loved this loaf.

Tony was extremely delighted with the taste and texture of the loaf. He said: IT IS SO ADDICTIVE you just cut one more little sliver and then your back for another one [and] before you know it…ROSE, thank you again for such a wonderful, delightful, scrumptious, and delicious loaf!” That about says it all, but on the technical side, the Banana Feather Loaf was a learning experience either about the oven temp and/or proofing problems, (something that I had trouble with too). As you say Tony: It’s the life of the baker.

Catherine felt the groove of our bananalicious week! For her, the banana transmitted a soft, rich  sweetness, and had a denser, stronger structure than brioche. With just a little butter and very little effort, she kept it all for herself. It was a winner recipe.

For our next Bread Bible recipe, I thought we would make the Southwestern Corn Spoon Bread. I chose this because American Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and it might make a nice pass around with the turkey. 


  1. Awesome write up! After reading everyone's take on this recipe, I think I'm glad I didn't make it. Would probably have liked it a tad more on the sweet side.

  2. Great round up and inspired choice of banana bread for this month. Marie W - I love your photo and the colour of your loaf too.

  3. This was really fun to read - it's nice to be able to collectively see everyone's feedback. Thanks Kim!