The straight banana

Banana and Walnut Bread (11 of 13)A couple of months ago, I did a post on my banana bread with walnuts. It was not a highlight in my culinary achievements. Part of me enjoyed doing the post. It was a bit of fun. However, I know that some people depend on me to guide them through the food world and my directions need to be straight. Time to put the record straight. Time to straighten out the banana bread (if not the banana). 

For a bit of interest, I am adding one unusual ingredient to the list from last time.

That's the pollen on the left. It added something unique.

That’s the pollen on the left. It added something unique.

  • 285 grammes of plain flour*
  • 225 grammes of caster sugar
  • 110 grammes of butter
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 100 ml of milk with a teaspoon of lemon juice squeezed in
  • a pinch or two of salt
  • 1/2 a teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 or 4 flaccid bananas
  • 2 teaspoons of pollen (the unusual ingredient)**

* Using plain rather than self-raising flour is a good idea.

** I picked the pollen up in a French market last year and really did not know what to do with it. This seemed like a good application.

First I measured out the ingredients.

I am a bit more accurate in my measuring this time.

I am a bit more accurate in my measuring this time.

Next I mixed the butter and sugar into a nice fluffy consistency. I used the mixer this time (my guns are pretty perfect and don’t need the work).

Sugar, butter and eggs starting to look pretty good.

Sugar, butter and eggs starting to look pretty good.

The flour and other dry bits get sieved and added. Then I sprinkle in an exact amount of pollen. Well, not exact at all but it seemed like the right amount.

Not my best photo but the only one I have of the pollen going in.

Not my best photo but the only one I have of the pollen going in.

Last time out, we had some sticking cake issues. This was not going to happen this time. We went silicone with the cake tin and slathered it in butter to prevent any possibility of clinging cake.

There will hardly be any need to butter this after it's cooked!

There will hardly be any need to butter this after its cooked!

After they are mashed, the bananas get added along with most of the walnuts. the gloopy mixture is added to the cake ‘tin’.

Maybe not my nicest pouring shot but it is my biggest one for a while.

Maybe not my nicest pouring shot but it is my biggest one for a while.

Before putting the bread in the oven for an hour and a half at 180º C, I added the decoration and supported the sagging sides with weights.

Weights were needed to keep it in shape. I know the feeling.

Weights were needed to keep it in shape. I know the feeling.

I was pretty happy with the outcome. It took real willpower to avoid taking it out of the silicone. I left it there for 40 minutes.

In this case, the camera doesn't lie. Banana bread success!

In this case, the camera doesn’t lie. Banana bread success!

This final shot needed no cheatery and hiding of broken crusts. I am delighted to have the banana straightened, for once and for all.

Perfect with a big mug of tea. And that's me giving it to you straight.

Perfect with a big mug of tea. And that’s me giving it to you straight.

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Latest comments
  • I have to make mine gluten free. It’s always sad and saggy. I’m suffering from perfect banana bread envy…

    • In a strange way, that makes me feel good. Given that my previous attempt was such a fiasco.

  • Silicone trays are great for baking. However, I never butter mine. Great recipe.

    • This one needed the butter (and I should have dusted it in flour). In silicone trays, as in so many things in life, there are variations in quality. Needless to say, I saw a ‘bargain’ when I bought it. Hence the butter.

  • I was really interested to see you had to put weights on the sides of the silicone case. I have toyed with the idea of switching from tin to silicone I think after reading your post perhaps I should stick. Lovely banana bread.

    • My problem with the tin tins is just that; sticking!
      Thanks for your kind words Maria.

  • I’m guessing that the pollen is not fennel pollen?

    • No, it’s a wild flower pollen sold to me by a South of France honey producer. I really don’t know what else to do with it!

      • I just picked up the fennel pollen … haven’t settled on a use for that yet either.

        • I look forward to that. Funny that something as ‘natural’ as pollen appears to present such difficulty for the chefs.

  • Nice looking bread! I haven’t tried silicone pans for baking since I still have quite a few metal ones from the ‘old’ days, but I do love my silicone baking mats instead of parchment for cookies. they are so much easier to clean! My mom used to make me oil and flour the pans and when I grew up I tried to make my sister do it, but she got bored with it pretty fast :-/

    • The extent of my helping my Mum when she was baking used to be licking the spoon. I am between two places on those silicone tins. The lack of hard shape makes it difficult to time things as they stretch in the middle. The weights used to compensate also block heat. They are very easy to clean though.

  • This reminds me I have a bunch of bananas in the freezer ready for making banana bread. Interesting about the pollen. And it looks lovely.

    • I would really like to see what you do. We could start a global banana bread network…. Or, perhaps not.

      • I’ll have to make it soon. I keep it very simple. Basically bananas with no nuts as my husband doesn’t like the nuts. Then it gets toasted with butter. Yummy and simple. 🙂

  • What a fantastic idea! I never figure out what to do with pollen apart from putting it in yogurt. Do you think it gave some particularly different taste?

    • The pollen adds a bit of floral perfume to proceedings. The bread did not last long enough to get feedback from family.

  • Thanks for setting the record straight, Conor. Looks like a fine banana bread. Curious about the special ingredient – what does pollen taste like? My taste buds aren’t sure whether to imagine something sweet like honey or something floral. Do tell.

  • That’s a good looking banana bread. I loved your other post though too. It made me a little less fearful about having a total disaster in the kitchen. It’s hard to go wrong with banana bread though because it just tastes so darn good, especially with chocolate!

  • Indeed, pollen does seem to be an unusual ingredient. Curiosity has me so I am going to go do a google search about using pollen in baking. Very intriguing and a wonderful looking bread!

    • The pollen added a small bit of floral headiness. I still have most of a jar left. I do occasionally sprinkle it on my yoghurt and muesli but, I still appear to have the same amount in the jar.

  • Another great post, Conor! I know what it’s like to have to use a photo that is not as good as I would have liked because I don’t have another one. The pollen are unusual indeed — don’t think I have ever seen that before. If you want to keep your cake from ‘exploding’, you could lower the temperature (to 150-160) and increase the time. But I know many prefer it that way, as it is also more crunchy. P.S. Never knew flaccid is a word that could apply to a banana…

    • Thanks Stefan, I need to work on my baking skills. I really do very little and I was delighted to just get the bread out of the oven in one piece. In the case of those bananas, the word was appropriate. Yuck!

      • Judging from this post, there is nothing wrong with your baking skills!

  • BTW, what weight of walnuts? Not mentioned on the ingredients list.

    • Oops, sorry about that. The honest answer is “what was left in the packet”. I didn’t measure them. There must have been about a dozen. I would have used more had I had them. It’s hard to use too many.

      • Yup, that’s the way I cook too. Thanks

  • strange coincidence, my girlfriend and i whipped up a huge batch of banana bread yesterday as well. that pollen sounds interesting. did it lessen or increase the banana-ness of your bread?

    over here, we are huge fans of overloading our banana bread with chocolate. the best? dark chocolate covered coffee beans. can’t beat that crunch.

    • That sounds obscene (in a good way). The pollen added a gentle floral touch. I think your approach is more my style. However, I didn’t have a jar of chocolate covered coffee beans lying around. I did, and still do, have the pollen.

  • Falccid bananas? Grief.

    • It only is worrisome if you are planning something un-publishable with them.

  • Although we’re on the other side of the ocean from one another, we seem to be on the same wave length with both of us having bananas on our minds. 🙂 Lovely Conor!

    • Thanks Lidia. A great way to salvage rotting fruit.

  • It looks absolutely glorious. Redemption is sweet!

  • Good lord! So easy to make, so Goddamn glamorous to look at! And I’m sure it would taste like…sensational 🙂

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