Sourdough Banana Bread

Sourdough Banana Bread

Everyone bread baker seems to have their favourite sourdough banana bread recipe, and for good reason. Quick breads are an easy and efficient way to use up sourdough discards. Not only do they use up large amounts of discarded starter at a a time, the fermented flour + water mixture imparts a certain heartiness that is central to artisanal home baking.

Over the years I have made my fair share of great banana recipes, and although I'd say this tops my go-to, Flour Bakery's famous banana bread, I wouldn't ask you to build a sourdough just for it. However, if you ever have any on hand, I urge you to whip this up right away.

What exactly are quick breads?

In short, quick breads are any bread that is not leavened with yeast or eggs. Common examples are zucchini bread, cornbread, muffin, etc. The texture is akin to cake due to the enrichment of eggs, fat and sweeteners. The consistency could be tender and moist like pumpkin bread, or crumbly and short like scone. Quick breads use baking powder and/or baking soda for a much quicker rise that yeast, which also means freshly baked goods on the table without much planning ahead and waiting.  

A note on sourdough

There are two main purposes when baking with a sourdough starter- leavening and flavour. Quick breads, which contains other rising agents(see above), rely on sourdough more for its flavour. The health benefits of a preferment still exists, since a portion of the flour is predigested. However, those who are extremely sensitive to gluten may have to watch how your body reacts.

There are a few options when making enriched sourdough baked goods. You may use unfed sourdough starter that you have discarded and accumulated in the refrigerator, brought to room temperature. Or, mature sourdough starter at room temperature, discarded at its peak. (When the starter reaches its peak height after you feed it) If you haven't saved up enough discard, you may even use a mixture of unfed and mature starter.

Should I "ferment" my batter after mixing?

This is all up to you. After mixing, you may allow the batter to sour at room temperature for 5-6 hours, or in the refrigerator overnight. In general, the longer you leave it, the more pronounced the sourness is. Also, the loaves will have a "breadier" textures as opposed to a cake-like crumb. Experiment and see what you like! 

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Sourdough Banana Bread

Makes one 9x5" loaf. Adapted from Simple Life by Kels.

Most banana recipes I've used state a baking time of 50+ minutes. My oven often finish baking quick breads at 40 minutes, so I would recommend checking your loaves at the 30-minute mark, and every 10 minutes after that. Every oven is different! Also, if you don't have coconut sugar, light brown sugar will also work.

 

135g coconut sugar
112mL coconut/olive oil, or a combination

Wet ingredients:
2 large ripe bananas, mashed
1 egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
240g sourdough starter
 

Dry ingredients:
180g all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt

Suggested add-ins:
3/4 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1/2 cup cocoa nibs
banana halves

 

 

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C and grease a 9x5" loaf pan.
  2. Whisk together butter and sugar until most of the sugar is dissolved. I find that coconut sugar dissolves slower than other sugars.
  3. In another bowl, mash the banana. Feel free to adjust how chunky or smooth it is to your liking. Whisk together mashed banana, egg, and vanilla. And to the sugar mixture and beat until thoroughly combined.
  4. Using a whisk, add the starter bit by bit and beat to incorporate.
  5. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add to the batter and beat until combined with no streaks of flour.
  6. Mix in your choice of add ins, if any.
  7. Pour into greased pan and draw a line through the middle, lengthwise, with a knife. This will help control the crack when it rises. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before inverting it onto a cooling rack.
  8. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store any leftovers in an airtight container for 3-4 days. 
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