Low(er) Fat Banana Bread

I know I’m late in the game and I have a gazillion excuses. Banana Bread became the recipe of the lockdown. It seemed everyone had some overripe bananas that needed to be used up, which isn’t all that uncommon even in the best of times. While I’ve had my own Banana Bread recipe on the blog for a while, but with many people had trouble…

I know I’m late in the game and I have a gazillion excuses. Banana Bread became the recipe of the lockdown. It seemed everyone had some overripe bananas that needed to be used up, which isn’t all that uncommon even in the best of times. While I’ve had my own Banana Bread recipe on the blog for a while, but with many people had trouble finding butter and eggs, a lot of us were baking and cooking with, and eating, whatever we could scrounge up in our pantries, refrigerators, kitchen cabinets, and freezers.

I usually have plenty of bulk chocolate for baking on hand, but was caught short when even grocery stores unexpectedly ran out of bars of baking chocolate. Fortunately, a local bakery came to my rescue with chocolate, but I had a small bag of chocolate chips on hand, which aren’t easy to come by around here (they sell them at G. Detou,) and decided to put those to use, along with some rapidly ripening bananas.

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Wholegrain Soda Bread

When the lockdown started in March, a wave of people got to work mixing up sourdough starters and baking bread. I was frequently asked for my sourdough starter recipe and people were confounded, and a bit disappointed, that I didn’t have one. There are five very good bread bakeries within a few blocks of where I live (bakeries stayed open in France during the confinement,…

When the lockdown started in March, a wave of people got to work mixing up sourdough starters and baking bread. I was frequently asked for my sourdough starter recipe and people were confounded, and a bit disappointed, that I didn’t have one. There are five very good bread bakeries within a few blocks of where I live (bakeries stayed open in France during the confinement, as they’re considered essential businesses), and while I was avoiding going out, getting bread from your local bakery is part of the rhythm of life in France. Bread is deeply important and proof of its importance was that the French revolution was spurred on by a lack of flour to make bread. Bread isn’t just “bread.” It can be much more than just something to eat.

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Poilane’s Corn Flour Bread

At some point, we’re all going to have to decide on the same measuring system. Maybe we can make it our New Year’s resolution? Most of the world is using the metric system while a few holdouts, namely the United States, Liberia, and Burma, are sticking with other systems of measurement. For the record, I know some very good bakers that use cups and tablespoons,…

At some point, we’re all going to have to decide on the same measuring system. Maybe we can make it our New Year’s resolution? Most of the world is using the metric system while a few holdouts, namely the United States, Liberia, and Burma, are sticking with other systems of measurement. For the record, I know some very good bakers that use cups and tablespoons, and I like them as well.

Anyone who says they aren’t accurate hasn’t encountered a French recipe that calls for un verre de vin de lait (a “wine glass” of milk), a cullière à soupe (a soup spoon) of baking powder, or trois feuilles de gélatine, when every sheet of gelatin I’ve come across is either a different size, weight, or strength. And my wine glasses come in a lot of different sizes, too, although I always seem to reach for the largest ones…but not necessarily for baking.

Although books have been written on the subject, my take is that most Americans like holding measuring spoons and cups. It’s more tactile and visceral, kind of like how many of us holdouts don’t want to make dinner in a machine that will make it for us.

Many of us have fond memories of measuring cups, having seen our parents and grandparents using them, and having them handed down to us, but for recipe writers, metrics really are the way to go. The accuracy issue aside, it’s easy to cut a recipe down, say, 20%, which comes in handy when you’re testing a recipe but find that if you could somehow resize the batter down by 20-percent, it’d fit perfectly in a standard cake pan. Otherwise, you’re stuck telling people to use 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon of milk, or the 3 tablespoons plus 1/4 teaspoon of heavy cream I saw in a European cookbook that had been translated into English. I don’t know about you, but I’m not measuring out 1/4 teaspoon of cream to make a batch of ice cream.

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