A perfectly baked loaf of banana bread.
You might have noticed I haven't posted too many recipes here lately for baked goods. There's a reason for that: everything I baked burned. I tried focaccia a couple of times, and each time I got crisp, dark brown bread that was barely edible. I made cupcakes, Irish soda bread, and other bakey things, most of which got thrown away.
I figured I'd lost my touch. Okay, I never had a touch—baking was never as good to me as straight out cooking. But then Daughter Number Two came home, and tried her hand at cupcakes. She's an excellent baker—I blame it on the fact she's studying engineering. But even though she carefully set the temperature, converting Fahrenheit to Celsius, and subtracting a few minutes for the fan assist (convection), her cupcakes still burned in record time.
So I deduced it must be the oven. Today the repairman came over and replaced the thermostat. As a test, I baked a loaf of banana bread, substituting spelt flour for the whole wheat I normally used.
I couldn't believe how perfectly baked the bread was, after 45 minutes at 180C. I kept poking a toothpick in, sure I'd find it gooey, since the top wasn't even burnt. It's been so long since I've seen a loaf with a perfectly browned top I had to set it by the window just to admire it for a while.
Lesson: If you're experiencing difficulty baking, maybe it isn't you. Maybe it's your oven.
Spelt Banana Bread
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (or the Celsius equivalent). Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray; set aside.
2 tablespoons flax seeds, ground
1/4 cup water
Whisk both ingredients with a small whisk; set aside.
1 cup wholegrain spelt flour
1/2 cup unbleached white flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Combine in a small bowl; set aside.
3 ripe bananas, mashed
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Combine bananas, sugar and vegetable oil in a larger bowl, add flax mixture. Add dry ingredients, a half cup at a time, and stir until combined. Pour into prepared loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes. If necessary, cover with a piece of aluminum foil to prevent over-browning. (Flax causes baked goods to brown faster.)
Test for doneness by sticking a toothpick into the loaf. If it comes out clean, the loaf is done. Otherwise continue to bake, testing at 5 minute intervals. Let cool for a few minutes before turning out onto a serving plate.
Note: If this recipe looks a little familiar, that's because it is. Except for a few minor changes, and the substitution of spelt flour, it's exactly like the banana bread recipe here. It's still vegan, though, and even better baked in a properly calibrated oven. Also, despite the presence of spelt flour, this is not a gluten free recipe, as it also contains regular flour. You could probably easily replace that with another 1/2 cup of spelt flour.