With baking banana bread and making a sourdough starter top of every middle class Coronavirus checklist how could I resist sharing my own recipe?
Baking has been a surprisingly contentious issue with the Government’s twitter account being lambasted after they suggested we all bake during lock down. I’m not sure what made people crosser, the obliviousness to the challenge of buying flour or the terrible grammar. As someone who previously baked a lot, I had a well-stocked larder but I ran out of non-bread flour a little while ago. I’ve since restocked thanks to a small deli but it has been strange shopping in these times. I had plenty of pasta in when lock down began but I joined the pre-Easter egg hunt and now pick up basics whenever I see them as Mini Chef was most disgruntled when I tried to fob him off with almond milk last week.
My banana bread recipe isn’t a cake. When I was writing The Pyromaniac Chef Cook Book (the eBook costs just £1 when you use the code COVID19 at checkout) I wanted a twist on french toast so decided to incorporate mashed bananas into bread dough. The result was an incredibly light, only slightly bananary (I’ve decided that IS a word) loaf with a texture rather like crumpets. In the original recipe I douse it with egg and milk then fry the slices but recently I’ve just been toasting it with what I call Sunshine Jam. Because it’s such a moist bread, if you are keeping it more than a day or so, I suggest you slice it and freeze it. I place pieces of greaseproof paper between the slices then wrap the lot in foil.
My sunshine jam is this beautiful recipe by The Foraging Chef. It’s ridiculously easy (although make sure you hold it at the jam point for a little while as some people – including myself – have struggled with it not setting on a first attempt).
If you’ve not made banana bread yet or are looking for new inspiration, I hope you enjoy it.
Banana French Toast
This is a two day recipe for a very special breakfast. The most important thing is that you make French Toast over a fire at least once in your life so if making your own bread is off putting then use a shop bought loaf and make this once you’re addicted. Makes one loaf and 8 pieces of French Toast.
500g white bread flour
2 tbsp soft dark brown sugar
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- Place sugar, salt and nutmeg in a jug and make up to 350ml with lukewarm water.
- Put flour and yeast in a mixer with a dough attachment. Slowly add liquid and knead until elastic.
- Cover with cling film and leave to prove for about two hours or until doubled in size.
- Mash the bananas.
- Knock back the dough and mix in the mashed bananas. Cover and allow to prove for another hour.
- Liberally grease a cast iron pot with butter.
- Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead lightly. Form into a ball and place into cast iron pot).
- Place on a plank of wood over a fire (the wood acts as a heat buffer) until brown on top. This takes about an hour. Remove and allow to cool.
- Beat eggs with milk.
- Soak slices of bread in egg and milk mixture and fry in butter in a pan over a fire.
Cook conventionally: Bake bread at 200ºC for about 45 minutes until brown on top and hollow underneath when tapped. Make French Toast on the hob.