This recipe makes a large loaf of yeasty, crusty bread that tastes slightly of bananas and is studded with crunchy walnuts. The bread isn't your usual banana-nut bread. It's a heavy, yeasty bread that has plenty of texture and wheat flour in it. The bread isn't sweet, and it's perfect for toast and even sandwiches that have a bit of attitude to them. Try slices of the bread stuffed with chicken salad, for example. The bread also is good with cheese and, my favorite, peanut butter. Or try the bread as the base for French toast. It's great! The dough for the bread is easy to mix up and to knead. Although I generally make one large loaf, you can, of course make a couple of smaller loaves if you prefer. Enjoy!
Sourdough Banana-Walnut Bread -- Makes 1 Large Loaf
1 cup of sourdough starter/discard
1/4 cup of canola oil
1 large egg
1/4 cup of milk
3 mashed bananas (about 1 1/2 cups of puree)
1/4 cup of dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon of maple extract
2 cups of white whole-wheat flour (or use regular whole-wheat)
In a large bowl mix together well the starter/discard, oil, egg, milk, banana puree, sugar, and maple extract. Stir in the flour until combined. Cover the mixture loosely with plastic wrap and let it sit for at least an hour and preferably for 4-5 hours, if your kitchen is cool. When you're ready, add:
1 cup of white whole-wheat flour
2-3 teaspoons of salt (depending on how salty you want your bread)
1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
1 cup of broken/chopped walnuts
Stir, then knead the mixture for 3-5 minutes, adding an additional 1/2 - 1 cup of all-purpose flour while you're kneading the dough to keep it from being too sticky. Spritz a large loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray. Form the dough into a loaf and place it in the prepared pan. Spritz the top of the loaf with a little non-stick cooking spray and cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap. Let the loaf rise until it has increased in volume by about one-third (this takes at least a couple of hours in my coolish kitchen). When you're almost ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. You can make a few slashes across the top of the dough with a sharp knife, if you like (about 1/8-1/4-inch deep). Bake the loaf for about an hour or until it reaches a deep golden brown and a thermometer inserted in the center of the loaf reads at least 190 degrees. Let the bread cool in it's pan for a few minutes before turning it out to cool completely. The bread slices best after it has cooled completely.