The more I use yeast instead of baking powder for sweetbreads the more I notice that yeasted breads produce far better flavor results. How did we get into this bad habit of 'chemically' leavening our sweet breads with baking powder and baking soda? One word: convenience. Yeasted breads take about 3 times longer to make because we have to wait for the yeast to do it's thing. Yeast leavened breads are usually considerably more flavorful than chemically leavened breads because as the yeast ferments and spits out C02 that rises the bread, it also produces a multitude of complex flavor compounds. This is not the case with chemically leavened breads where few flavor byproducts are produced during the chemical reaction between acid and alkalne that produces the C02. This Yeasted Banana Bread is now my go-to vegan banana bread recipe.
This banana bread recipe is an upgrade on the old classic and features a more complex flavor. It's slightly more time consuming to make but well worth it. This is now my go-to banana bread recipe.
½ cup non-dairy milk, warm
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 ¼ cups mashed over ripe bananas (about 3)
1 cup sugar
½ cup canola oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
2 ¼ cups whole wheat flour
½ cup chopped walnuts
In a medium bowl, whisk together the warm non-dairy milk and yeast. Let sit for 10 minutes so the yeast activates.
Mash enough bananas to make 1 ¼ cups and add this to a separate large mixing bowl. Whisk in the yeast mixture, sugar, canola oil, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and vanilla extract.
Add the half of the flour to the bowl and mix with an electric mixer until just incorporated. Add the rest of the flour and mix on low speed for two minutes. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit for two hours. After two hours, mix the dough for about 30 seconds. Stir in the walnuts if desired.
To Make Muffins:
Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners. Pour the batter into the muffin pan making sure the dough is filled up to the top of the pan and domed. Preheat oven to 325F (163C). Let the muffins sit for 1 ½ hours with a bowl inverted over the top of the muffin pan to keep the dough from drying out. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Makes 6 to 8 muffins.
To Make Bread:
Pour the batter into a lightly oiled 8 x 4 inch loaf pan. Preheat oven to 325F (163C). Cover the loaf pan with plastic wrap and let it sit for 1 ½ hours. Bake for about 1 hour or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.