I love banana bread, and what better for making banana bread, than banana bread beer. This recipe yields a fluffy and doughy bread unlike traditional banana bread (which is usually a cake-like). This bread is great for French toast or warmed and served with ice cream.
Dough (makes 4 small loaves):
|1 bottle (16 oz) Wells Banana Bread Beer Bead (say it 3 times fast)|
2-4 tablespoons of sugar
|6 tablespoons unsalted butter|
|7 1/2 cups (or more) unbleached all purpose flour, divided|
|2 large ripe bananas, mashed or processed|
|2 large eggs|
|1 teaspoons cinnamon|
|2 pinches of fresh grated nutmeg|
|1/3 cup of malt extract (extra pale)|
|5 teaspoons rapid-rise yeast (from 2 envelopes yeast) or substitute regular active yeast and double rise time.|
|1 teaspoon salt|
|Nonstick vegetable oil spray|
|Optional: mix-ins such as chocolate chips and walnuts. Chocolate chips are my personal favorite.|
Warm beer and butter in glass measuring cup in the microwave or the stove top to 120°F to 130°F. Be very precise on the temperature as it is important to get the yeast activated. Too hot will kill the yeast. Pour into bowl of stand mixer fitted with hook attachment. The recipe calls for mashed bananas, which will give little bits of sweet banana throughout the bread. You can also throw it in the food processor with the eggs for a smoother bread. Add 2 cups flour, bananas, sugar, malt extract, eggs, yeast, and salt. Mix for 3 minutes, occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl. Add the remaining flour. Stir on low until flour is absorbed and dough is sticky, scraping down sides of bowl. The dough will get tougher and tougher for the mixer to move. If dough is very sticky, add more flour by tablespoonfuls until dough begins to form ball and pulls away from sides of bowl. Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, adding more flour if sticky, about 8 minutes. Form into ball.
Lightly oil large bowl with nonstick spray. Transfer dough to bowl, turning to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, then kitchen towel. Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 2 hours (4 hours if you regular active yeast). If it is larger than double, that's okay, just punch it down more on the next step. Turn dough out onto lightly flour work surface and knead again. Mix in chocolate and nuts at this point if you like. Chocolate is really fabulous with banana bread. Split dough into quarters if making four smaller loaves. Shape the bread slightly, and place in lightly greased baking pan. Allow to rise covered with plastic wrap in a warm draft-free place for at least 40 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes. The bread will be done once the internal temperature reaches 205-210 degrees. Allow to cool enough to eat.
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