Friday, November 22, 2013

Banana Bread with Orange zest, Fractions and Happiness



Banana Bread is becoming a frequent bake at our home these days.

We deliberately leave out two bananas from the bunch we pick every morning from our luscious banana tree to decompose to a state that calls for serious FDA intervention. Also since I am a procrastinator, the one with good intentions of making a banana bread, the bananas are first left to decay in the fruit bowl. Right there on the kitchen island. Two over-ripe, brown spotted, sweet smelling bananas.

When they are sufficiently soft and brown and almost ready to be trashed, the moment when I should have cranked up the oven and actually made the bread, I put them 'bananas" in the refrigerator. There they decay further.Albeit at a slower pace and in a cooler environment. I am sure the bananas are ever grateful to me for that.

Then when the FDA arrival looms large and I am pretty sure that I can do with some happiness in life I make the banana bread

You all know that banana has "serotonin", right ? The neurotransmitter which is thought to be a contributor of happiness. Well, I don't know about banana but carbs like white rice with musurir dal and buttered toast with sprinkle of sugar on it defintely makes me happy. The banana bread does too and that is why we finish off all of that loaf in a single day. All in pursuit of happiness.

This weekend, 80% of the baking work was done by BS and LS. They measured, mixed and did the clean up. I put it in the oven. And then I took it out.

LS wrote out the instructions saying Stir, Mix, Clean


I don't have a family hand-me-down recipe for banana bread as my Mother never ever made one for my or anyone else's happiness. She made "kolar bora"-- sweet fritters -- with over ripened bananas instead. So the laurels of success of my banana bread now currently rests on Food Network. This is the recipe I have been following like a zombie for sometime now. So far it has failed me only once. Which is a good sign.Also the fact that the recipe calls for oil and not butter gives me some kind of relief.

Now given that there is already a recipe, why you think, I need to replicate and write it down again here. Well, the reason is FractionsBaking recipes are a good way to introduce kids to fractions and that is what we did some years ago. That 4 of the 1/4th cups make 1 whole cup was a revelation in Arithmetic. Ahem. Scoff, Scoff. Of course, my generation got introduced to fractions without any cake to bake and we are darn good at it but then that was "tomader shomoy"(your time) as the girls like to say.

Without being cynical though, cups and measures and letting the kids handle them does give them a real life example of fractions. The fact that 2 of the quarter cups fill up a half cup or that 5/4th cup actually fills up 1 whole cup with 1/4th left over becomes more real when done with flour and sugar.

Recently for her fractions class, BS's math teacher gave them a homework, where they were supposed to get recipes of cookies and cakes and then quarter them, halve them, triple them or do some fraction conversion on them. Only of course she mentioned that the recipes should include mixed numbers. Which means the recipe should call for 11&3/8 th cup of flour and 3&2/5 th tbsp of butter. Which also means recipes I stay miles away from.

So, what I did is, I took my simple banana bread recipe, an awesome Lemon Yogurt cake recipe and this Hershey's Chocolate recipe and then changed around all the ingredient measures so that the banana bread now asked for 4&11/18th of bananas and 18/16th tsp of baking powder. She did her homework. I breathed easy.

I am eternally grateful that we didn't use those measures to bake. While baking the bread we stuck to the base recipe and asked BS to merely halve it. That was like child's play for her. Just like baking the bread was.

Original Recipe

Banana Bread


Dry Ingredient


1 cup of AP Flour
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp salt

To make Wet Ingredient

1 egg
1/2 cup Sugar
2 very ripe bananas
1/4th Cup Vegetable Oil
1/2 tsp Vanilla

How I Did It

Pre-heat oven to 350F

Wet Ingredients

In my Magic Bullet Blender jar put
1 egg cracked
1/2 cup Sugar
Mix for a minute, at 30 sec steps


To the above put
2 very ripe bananas
Give a whizz until bananas is mushed up

To the above add
1/4th Cup Vegetable Oil
1/2 tsp Vanilla
Mix again for about 2 minutes, at 30 sec step

You have your wet ingredient ready

Dry Ingredient

In a separate bowl add
1 cup of AP Flour
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp salt
Combine lightly

Slowly add the wet ingredient to the dry, mixing gently with a spatula. If you are adding walnuts, add 2 tbsp of chopped walnuts to the batter.

Add  1 tsp of orange zest if possible and pinch of cinnamon. The orange zest lends a very nice flavor to the bread so do try if you have.

Pour out in a 9x5 loaf pan, put in the oven and bake for 1 hr. Chances are after 30 mins, you will see the top has browned and has cracked. Then cover the bread lightly with an aluminum foil and bake for the rest 30 mins.

Now take out of the oven and let it cool. The oven part needs to be handled by the adults but all else can be done by 9-10yrs old and up with little supervision.

Eat. All of it.

17 comments:

  1. Awww ... kochi kochi haater lekha
    Bread ta besh soft hoyeche dekhe e jana jacche. Well done BS and LS. :-)

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  2. Great! I was saving two bananas for a week and was planning to make some banana bread over this weekend. Will definitely try your version. I don't have any orange right now but we have lot of clementines. Do you know if clementine zest will work? :-)

    Mausumi

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    Replies
    1. We used clementine zest 'coz that is what we had this time. Ekdum perfect

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    2. perfect. ei recipe ta ekdom amar jonyoi likhechhile :-). Sunday banalam. khub bhalo hoyechhilo - already shesh hoyeo gechhe. I just overbaked it for few mins i think - I was busy chatting with some long lost friend on facebook :-( kintu taao khub bhalo hoyechhilo. Thank you.
      Mausumi

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    3. few minutes hole to osubidhe hobar kotha noy. Ek ghonta laage. Oi cover korechile opor ta ? Nahole top ta hoy jaay kintu bhetor ta ektu kaancha theke jaay
      BongMom

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  3. Looks delightful!!Recipe is easy to understand and no difficult ingredients...thx. Can we add walnuts? Is there a special treatment for walnuts ?

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    Replies
    1. Priyanka as I said in the recipe above "If you are adding walnuts, add 2 tbsp of chopped walnuts to the batter."

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  4. awesome..i am trying this with my son in weekend.

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  5. Really mind-boggling fractions you got there! Long back, I read that straightforward halving or doubling of the ingredients in a baking recipe does not work. I always ignored that advice - on the rare occasions that I bake, that is - and the outcome is usually less than ideal.

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  6. Aww what a lovely effort! Banana walnut cake/bread is my fave, am so trying this one soon. One Q - both orange zest and cinnamon idea sounds good, but tell me wouldn't there be too many flavors in the cake (along with the banana and the walnut)? As in I am hoping they all stand out, cos individually I'm fond of them all. Let me know pls. And much thanks for yet another have-to-try-soonest recipe :D

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  7. Sorry one other Q. Any restrictions on which oil to use? I have sesame and groundnut oil right now, will any of these work?

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    Replies
    1. Peanut oil should work, not sesame oil. Usually vegetable oil ba flavorless oil bole. Oneke bole Olive Oil eo bhalo hoy, ami korini
      Cinnamon grated ek chimti debe, na dileo okay. Fresh choto orange zest kore deoa, so around 1/2 tsp moton zest. Tai kono strong flavor hoyni
      BongMom

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    2. Perfect thankyou. Will try out and tell you how it comes along :)

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  8. Hi BongMom,

    I hit upon your blog only recently and since then have read each and every one of your blog posts in the archives. More than your recipes I love your writing. It is humourous and I have not yet come across any humorous female blogger. I have even bought your book just to read the anecdotes and enjoyed many an afternoon while my eight month old naps.

    Anyway I was wondering if you had any lunch box recipes to share. They need not be Bong or even Indian but practical and delicious. I live in Mumbai so if the ingredients are easily available in India that would be a bonus. I need to send lunch for my husband who is an extremely fussy eater and I was hoping you could help me out.

    Thanks BongMom.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi BongMom,

    First of all let me tell you that I love your sense of humour. I read your posts more for the writeup than for the recipes. I have even bought your book for the anecdotes.

    Anyway I was hoping if you had any lunch box recipes for adults to share. They need not be Bong or even Indian but practical and delicious.

    Thanks in advance, BongMom.

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  10. "How to Rot a Banana - a step-by-step guide" :)
    Love the transfer from the fruit bowl to the fridge - that's so like me! Love the cake; it looks very soft! But most of all, I like that recipe sheet. You have two chefs who not only stir, mix and cook, but also clean! You couldn't possibly ask for more.

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