Saturday, May 19, 2012

Improvised Microwave Banana Bread Recipe


When I was in high school, I was rather "forced" to spend every summer and Christmas vacation at my great aunt's house. I say "forced" because I really didn't like it at first because her house was rather stuffy (I dare say) and it was just her, me, the helper, and the dog. We weren't quite the lively bunch, you see.

Anyway, my great aunt bakes and sells cakes and is a great cook. I don't recall her ever making something not delicious. I would also often help out when she bakes. And because of that, without my knowing, I started to develop an interest in cooking and, particularly, baking.

Back home, we didn't have an oven - we didn't need one. But I wanted one. I wanted to try out baking for myself because when I was at my aunt's, I never got a chance to make something from scratch.

After a few years, my mom finally decided to buy an oven. Yey! But not for me. Because by the time she decided to buy one, I was already here, in Japan. So, I'm still oven-less. I do have a microwave here, though. That was when I tried searching the web for cake or bread recipes that can be made using the microwave. And what do you know, I found one for one of my favorite breads, the banana bread.

I got the recipe from Cooks.com and I was really glad it didn't require too many ingredients. I tried it out with the microwave I have in my apartment and it turned out rather nicely for a first time. And because I was so happy with the result, I decided to post about it here.

The recipe is as follows:

1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp softened unsalted butter
1/3 cup milk
2 eggs
2 medium bananas, mashed
1 tbsp lemon juice or vinegar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup nuts (optional)

Combine ingredients in the order given, except for 1/4 cup nuts. Mix well. Lightly butter a microwave Bundt pan. Sprinkle with remaining nuts. Pour in batter. Cook for 7 to 9 minutes on full power or until done. Let stand for 5 minutes before turning out from pan.

Here are some pictures of my finished product:

The inside of the bread was a little too dry...

The top was deformed because it bubbled up in the microwave.
I didn't follow the recipe exactly, though. I didn't put in nuts but I intended to. I actually bought a pack of nuts but I couldn't resist snacking on them so they were gone before I could even make this bread. Haha. I also used a small pound cake pan instead of a Bundt pan, so the batter actually made 2 batches. 

Okay, so it's not the prettiest banana bread out there but the taste was rather good. Almost like the ones my mom used to buy back home. I definitely have to make some adjustments and maybe even get creative based on my experience with this one. 

Notes to self:
1. Use overripe bananas, those that are turning brown. They are sweeter and are perfect for this recipe. For my first try, my bananas weren't overripe enough because I was too impatient to wait for them to start turning brown. I wanted to make this bread badly.
2. Try using brown sugar instead of white, granulated sugar, because the bread turned out rather pale. Of course, I don't know what effect replacing white sugar with brown sugar will have on the bread but I'm willing to find out.
3. Don't overcook it! Well, the main reason I overcooked it was because it was pale. I thought it wasn't done yet so I decided to cook it for another couple of minutes. That was a wrong move. It made the outside of the bread dry.
4. Don't skimp on the butter! I think I might have used less than a half-cup of butter for this because I really just used what was left in my fridge. And because I was short on butter, I did not have enough to butter the pan. Maybe that's one of the reasons the bread dried out quickly.
5. Definitely add nuts. I guess I should be saying "Resist snacking on the nuts!" here. Hahaha.
6. Try adding sour cream. I've seen some recipes where they added sour cream to make the bread more moist. I don't know if it'll still work if you use the microwave, but I guess I'll just have to make it and find out.

The verdict? I will definitely be making this recipe again. Although mine turned out rather dry, the taste and the texture of the bread was almost like the real deal. It was a very nice first try and I'm rather proud of myself for accomplishing this by making do with what I have.

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