August 21, 2009 by skwishface
I don’t bake. Not unless it comes out of a box. Baking is intimidating! It’s a science. There’s actual measurements that need to be made, and the exact proportions actually matter. Normally, I trust the professionals who assemble box mixes to know what amounts of what dry ingredients are necessary for successful baking. Add a few gooey extras, and huzzah! Cake. Or brownies. Or whatever.
But. As has been previously discussed, I’ve been overrun with eggs lately. Dozens of eggs, just hanging out in my fridge, daring me to do something different with them. We’re on a budget, and I was sort of stuck at home with the kiddos, and I had a stretch of time ahead of me, so … I started cruising the internet for egg-involved recipes.
If you haven’t hit the Tasty Kitchen yet, do so. It’s a community of home cooks sharing their favorite tried-and-true recipes. I popped over there, entered a search for “eggs”, and the first hit was this super-easy banana bread recipe by hnighti.
There was a moment, still and quiet and frought with tension. Like when there’s a tight close-up on the face of a horror movie heroine and you can watch her slowly realize the monster is RIGHT BEHIND HER. I sat at my computer, looked at this recipe, and realized that my kitchen contained every ingredient I needed. Looming in that tiny room was the potential to actually attempt from-scratch baking for the very first time.
Nervous and wary and mentally muscling through a small army of doubts, I cracked my knuckles and got to work. So, here it is ….
So I had all that I needed. Nuts were optional, but I didn’t have nuts so I opted against. The bananas had been sad leftovers from the time when The Boy suddenly decided that he wasn’t eating nanas anymore, so they got tossed in a baggie and frozen. Thawed, they smelled sweet and banana-y but looked effing gross. Let’s not dwell on them.
Instructions! To say I combed over them obsessively is to understate the case. Every single step must be done precisely as dictated, or everything is a disaster. Right? I mean, baking is a risky business. My kitchen my blow up and fall right off my house.
First! Butter, softened. Which I decided meant “microwaved for about 12 seconds”.
Then eggs. Only 2, so I’m not making a huge dent in my egg population, but whatevs. If the recipe goes bad, I will have only wasted 2 of my bajillion eggs. Just because I’ve practically got the little ovoids coming out of my ears doesn’t mean I just want to throw them away.
Then sugar. Because sweet = good.
Now I’m supposed to beat them until they’re light and fluffy. Fluffy? Seriously? Oooookay ….
The result was less like “fluffy” and more like “grainy”. Undaunted, I soldiered on and added the mashed up bananas.
Once the bananas got mixed in, it looked pretty hideous. At this point I was pretty sure this little adventure would capital-F Fail. But the oven’s already pre-heating to 375, and I’ve already gotten two dishes dirty, so I might as well keep going.
Next I’m supposed to sift the dry stuff together, but not add it just yet. Sift? Sift sift sift … how the hell…?
I’d only ever seen sifting done with one of those metal buckets with a pump handle, where you get a cramp in your wrist trying to crank through a bunch of flour. But turns out that a fine-mesh strainer works just as well. Hurray!
Time to add the dry stuff gradually.
Add a little, stir a little, add a little, stir a little. The instructions caution not to overmix but … well I wouldn’t know what overmixed looks like. I’m sure there’s some complicated fine-tuning scientifici knowledgeable baker reason why not to overmix and some instinctual ability to discern precisely at which point overmixing has happened. But I’m a noob, here. And at this point I’m pretty sure I’ve somehow ruined the whole thing. So I’m not real concerned with overmixing. I just stir till I don’t see dry powdery stuff anymore.
Then I added the the sour cream. No idea what the sour cream does for the bread, but it’s on the list and it’s in the title, so in it goes.
Then I hit a roadblock. The instructions say to pour this into two loaf pans. I don’t even have one loaf pan. Turns out, when you don’t bake anything more complicated than a cupcake, you don’t have alot of bakeware. Digging around in my cabinets unearthed a lonely little bundt pan.
Greased it up, poured in the batter, tossed it in the oven, then paced back and forth in my kitchen for the next 40 minutes.
Which isn’t entirely true. I had kids to watch. So I made them pace with me.
Actually, I got so distracted that when the timer went off I literally gasped. The scent of baking banana goodness had gradually snuck around my house, and I followed my nose into the kitchen. Where I found this waiting for me in the oven:
What the? How the? Seriously?! Something that lovely came out of MY oven??
It took all of my willpower to set it aside and let it cool. But I knew I had to, so that it could come out of the pan easily. No way in hell I was gonna botch this perfectly golden and fragrant ring of banana joy by tearing it apart trying to de-pan it.
Once it cooled, I used the classic plate-and-flip method to liberate the bread.
Right about now, I’ve got The Huband and The Boy standing behind me, giving me the big pleading eyes. So I got to slicin’ and then to eatin’ and then to smilin’.
Soft, sweet, slightly tangy, definitely banana-y. Thanks for the fabulous recipe, hnighti! You made my very first from-scratch baking adventure a success!