The best bread I ever made!
I needed a bread to bring to our friends' "Turkey Taco Night". What kind of bread (other than tortillas!) goes with tacos,flautas, tostadas, etc.????? Hmmmm . . .
Inspired by this post at Farine-mc.com (a great bread blog!). I decided to "go tropical" with Rose Levy Beranbaum's Banana Feather Bread from the Bread Bible. I shaped it like a feather per MC's post and baked it freeform instead of in a loaf pan as suggested by RLB. It scored easily, BTW, and I'm thrilled with how the final loaf looked, though it's not as beautifully rustic as MC's. I baked it "en cloche" using the deep bottom of an enamel turkey roaster.
One caveat--this bread bakes quickly because of the sugar (from the banana) and the bottom was quite brown from the hot stone on the bottom rack of the oven and relatively high temperature (475F) It was brown already when I removed the cloche after 15 minutes and I baked it only a total of about 20--a bit too fast IMHO. Next time I will raise the rack the stone is on and lower the temp a bit.
Taking this to the party was a bit of a gamble--I'd never made it before and had no idea how it would taste. When my host asked if it should be on the appetizer table or the dessert table, I wasn't even sure, though I'd brought along some lemon curd as RLB suggests.
The taste was wonderful! When you combine this bread with lemon curd, it's heaven on a plate! OMG it was good!!!!!!!
This is not your mother's banana bread--I can promise you that! It was very mildly sweet and the banana was barely detectable (some people at the party refused to believe it contained any banana). The banana is mostly there for texture, not flavor, although RLB says that there is a little more banana flavor on the second day and when it's toasted. This bread never made it that far as the people at the party inhaled it. I've never seen a bread go that fast!
It is aptly named. The crumb was indeed moist and light as a feather. It had a small, fine crumb, that seemed just right for the bread. I did not get a chance to take a crumb shot, but there will be more chances as I will definitely be making this bread again and again!
The sweetness in this bread was subtle enough that I think it could be used as an everyday white bread made in a loaf pan. I'm thinking of doing just that because I have yet to find a suitable white bread that both kids like for school lunches. There is a very small amount of butter (4 teaspoons for the entire loaf) and no sugar added. I might experiment with small amounts of WWW if I can keep close to the lovely the light texture. My only question is whether or not the delicate crumb will hold up to spreading with peanutbutter. DARN, I guess I'll just have to make up another loaf to find out ;o)