Improving on a favorite: brown butter banana bread 焦化奶油香蕉麵包

I (optimistically) thought that there would be a temporary lull in work activity from July to August, but I was wrong.  It turns out my schedule is as packed as it was before but with different types of activities.  However, one of the best things about my work location is it operates on summer hours for the second part of July and most of August.  Summer hours means that the office closes earlier in the afternoons, and is closed on all day Fridays.   So my current plan is to work efficiently Monday-Thursdays from early in the mornings until 4:00, and then try to take a break from work-related activities on Fridays.  This Friday, I decided that I would bake~ and since my apartment’s temperature breaks 30C by 10:00 am, I try to do anything that involves turning on the oven early in the morning.  Bananas are really bountiful in Taiwan this time of year~ at really good prices, so I decided to take advantage of the situation and bake banana bread. I tried a new recipe this time, which involves using brown butter (also known as beurre noisette). Brown butter is  made by melting butter slowly over medium heat.  Once the butter begins to melt, it will foam, and the color will change from a sunny to golden yellow, until finally a toasty brown. (Note, I found it better to use a light bottomed pan to brown butter, because then you can easily observe the color changes~ also the butter will become very foamy~ make sure you push aside the foam with a spoon to check the color of the butter underneath!) Once you start to smell a slightly nutty, caramel-ly aroma, remove the pot from the stove and pour the butter into a bowl to cool.

最近工作時間有點小調整~事情雖然沒有少, 但內容有一些有趣的改變。 大概因為是夏天的關係吧, 最近都很早起。這段時間, 室內溫度沒有破 30 C 以前, 是一個烘培的好時機。 這一次, 我試著用焦化奶油做香蕉麵包。 焦化奶油會讓原本平凡的香蕉麵包味道多一個層次。

The other ingredients are pretty basic~ in addition to the butter, there are mashed banana, yogurt, sugar, eggs, and your add-ins of choice.  This time, I chose to add in walnuts and then threw in some candied orange peel, which were leftover from a different cooking experiment at the last minute.  (Ingredients not shown: vanilla extract, baking soda and the candied orange peel).

I liked this particular recipe because it uses yogurt~I find that yogurt can add a hint of tang to the cake, and another added bonus is that it can also be used as a substitute for baking powder.

Just for fun, I decided to bake the batter in a few of the mini pans from my ever-growing collection.  Of course, you can use a standard loaf pan, or muffin tins.

Enjoy!

Brown Butter Banana Bread 

Ingredients
  • 3 medium bananas, mashed (about 1 cup mashed)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup plain fat free Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • ½ cup (1 stick or 8 tablespoons) butter
  • 2 eggs
  • ⅓ cup buttermilk*
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1¾ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • optional: ½ cup semi sweet chocolate chips (I added orange peel and walnuts)
*As previously mentioned, buttermilk is hard to come by in Taiwan, so I just added increased the yogurt by 1/3 cup, thinned with a little water.  You can also make your own buttermilk with milk, vinegar or lemon juice. Simple instructions can be found here. 
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit/ or 162  Celsius and grease your baking pans of choice.
  2. In a small sauce pan, melt butter. Once melted, continue to cook at a gentle boil, stirring occasionally, until butter is no longer yellow and is the color is a toasty.  Remove from heat and transfer to a large mixing bowl along with mashed banana, Greek yogurt (or sour cream), sugar, eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla. Mix well.
  3. Add flour, baking soda, and salt and stir gently by hand until the dry ingredients are incorporated and there are no more streaks of flour in the batter. Don’t over mix. (If adding chocolate chips, or other additions, such as nuts, stir them in now)
  4. Pour batter into your prepared baking pan(s). Bake until an inserted toothpick in the middle comes out clean (a few loose crumbs are okay but no wet batter). Baking time will depend on the size of your pan(s). The pans I used took about 35-40 minutes.
  5. Cool for at least 10-15 minutes. Slice and serve immediately.  They can also be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Original recipe source

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