a slice of banana bread with streusel on top

Home Cooking Abroad: Banana Bread Chronicles

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The lock down suddenly turned a lot of people into chefs, me particularly the banana bread chef. LOL. I wanted to learn how to bake and I think the best beginner baking project is the banana bread. Bananas are always available all year round. If you have excess supply and find them all black and beaten, it’s easy to make it into bread. The huge amount of free time to spend led me to to making multiple versions of this. After trying a lot of recipes, I finally tweaked them based on my husband and I’s liking.

When life gives you bananas, you make banana bread.

Tin, 2020

Understanding the requirements

I guess the most common coping mechanism of being in confinement is food. You get bonus points for making it yourself and pass time by cooking and not just staring into space. This bread is of special quality (???). My husband does not like banana bread so he doesn’t want it to taste like bananas. How??? It was a funny requirement but challenge accepted! Better do some baking than do nothing. 😀

Experimenting

I didn’t have a loaf pan so I used what’s available. My pan was labeled for baking brownies. It was aluminum and it was just £1. It’ll be somewhat a flat banana bread.T

he ingredients are basic and can be found as pantry supply. Else, you can get it from your nearest grocery store. This is why I think it’s the best beginner baker project. So I went ahead and tried different kinds of banana bread apart from plain. I tried making it with:

  • Walnuts
  • M&S Milk & Cookies Spread
  • Lotus Spread
  • Chocolate Chips
  • Streusel

During my first tries, my husband like the ones with spreads or chocolate chips. I wasn’t satisfied though as I think the add-on totally overpowered the bread. I still want a hint of banana flavor without it being “in your face” for my husband. So I’ve stuck into the making it plain.

Back in the Philippines, I frequent coffee shops not because of their coffee but because of their pastries. I usually order Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf’s banana bread version. It had a sort of caramel glaze on top that I wanted to replicate but I failed. LOL. I shifted my caramel glaze experiment into making streusel because I found out how easy it was. But it won’t be a success story without the failure part. I remembered I had to make it when the pan was already in the oven. By the time I’m finished mixing, it was 15 minutes in and the crust had formed. I still decided to add the streusel because it’s already done and that made it like hard candy on top. I had to do the bread another day so that I can put the streusel on top before putting it in the oven.

The verdict

I loved it! The shape turned out to be cake like because of the pan I used. The streusel wasn’t candy hard anymore. I managed to resist the urge to cut it early. I made this during breakfast and it took more time than usual that I was on the brink of being hangry. The waiting paid off though and we were rewarded with a not so sweet, fluffy, and no banana-in-your-face flavor banana bread. I made a video of the whole process with the ingredients list if you’re interested in making one. This one’s for those who have husbands with the same requirements as mine. 😀

It was a really fun experience but I think won’t be making this again any time soon. I honestly feel stressed with the amount of sugar used in baking. I mean, I ate half of that banana bread so technically, I ate 1/8 cup of sugar. We have cookie ingredients available though (still sugar) so let’s see if I get to that within the week. 😀

Confinement really does wonders to ones time. How about you? Has the lock down inspired you to try new things?

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