the perfect banana bread

I think every home baker has at some point searched for the perfect banana bread. We all have our preferences: some like it very dense and banana-y, others like it almost like a cake with chocolate chips. I like it moist, not to sweet, full of taste of bananas with some soft banana pieces hidden in the bread. Well, I think I found my perfect banana bread. The sourdough here balances out the sweetness of the bananas while giving it a moist, light texture. It's also a great way to use the extra sourdough starter.

The original recipe was posted on the Fresh Loaf, but reviews and first attempt confirmed that it needed more bananas - the original recipe was a bit crumbly and in my opinion, need a more banana taste. I added one more banana, replaced the shortening with butter (will try with oil next time), and some other minor adjustments, and here was the version that I ended up with:

1/3 cup butter
1 cup of sugar (1/2 cup of honey or some combination thereof can be used - I used 3/4 cup sugar + 3 TB honey)
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1.5 cup mashed overripe banana (about 3 large; I like to roughly mash with some chunks of banana left)
1 cup sourdough starter
3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 tsp vanilla or 1 tsp grated orange rind

Preheat oven to 350F.

Cream together the oil and sugar, add egg, and mix until blended. Stir in bananas and sourdough starter. Add orange rind or vanilla. Sift flour, measure again with salt, baking powder, and soda. Add flour mixture and walnuts or pecans to the first mixture, stirring just until blended. Pour into greased 9x5" loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool before slicing.

As you can see based on the photos, I did not follow my own directions and wait for the bread to cool before slicing! I'm sure next time I'll make double batches and wait for one loaf to cool down before slicing so the slices would look better, but the bread smelled too good for me to wait around in front of it. Hence the crumbly - but delicious appearance. Also, I got to say I am a big fan of pecans - pecans all the way in banana bread.

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