Tweedle Beetle Banana Bread Battle

In which Julia Child makes her first appearance.

When I shop at a certain grocery store, they almost always have bananas in their reduced produce bin.   I can get an enormous bag of bananas for 99 cents.  There is never anything wrong with them except that their skins have some brown spots.  The bananas inside are perfectly lovely and ripe.  However, we can only eat so many bananas in a day or two.  The rest of them find a nice home in my freezer until I’m ready to take them out and do something amazing with them.  Unfortunately, I’m not always very creative and that something is almost always banana bread.  I have a delicious recipe that I normally use from Todd English’s Olives Dessert Table Cookbook.  This blog is not about Todd English or the incredible recipes he has published, though…

In my collection of hand-me-down recipes, I was blessed with a number of banana bread recipes.  My normal process for recipes is to scan them all in and rename them all then do a quick comparison to see if the recipes are exactly alike. You would think that with the thousand or so recipes I have that there would be more repeated recipes than there actually are.  I had a long debate with myself about how to handle repeated titles and variations on recipes. There are some cases where it makes sense to do a taste test and figure out which recipe is actually better.  But in the case of things like ham loaves or egg foo yung recipes, I’m not sure I’m up to making more than one version at a time.  If we have to do things like compare which gingersnap recipe is better, as long as I have enough molasses and time, I’ll gladly make 20 versions and try them all.  In this case, I made the banana breads a few weeks apart.  I made small loaves and froze some of them for eating later on.

Ok…Banana Bread #1.

Banana Bread

1/2 cup margarine
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
3 cups flour
1/2 cup sour milk
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup nuts
3 mashed bananas

45-50 minutes at 350

Banana Bread #2

Banana Bread 2

Banana Bread 2

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs
3 small or 2 large bananas
1 tsp baking soda
2 TB sour milk
2 cups flour
1/2 cup nuts

1 hour at 325.

These are others of those recipes where you have to know how to make it in order to follow the recipe.  Basic method for quick breads, cream the sugars and fat together, add eggs and bananas, mix the dry ingredients on the side and alternate adding them and the milk.  Add the nuts at the end.

So which was better?

#1 is textured more like a sandwich bread.  It’s a bit dryer and very much unlike other banana breads I’ve had.  It has a definite crust.  There was nothing wrong with it, but butter or cream cheese made it much better.

#2 is similar to most of the banana breads I’ve eaten before.  The texture is moist and cake-like. There is no discernible crust except on the very edges.  It reminded me of watching Julia Child at my grandma’s house when she was making some muffin or something and said “It’s so good, it hardly needs butter” as she slathered an enormous amount of butter on whatever it was she was eating. My kids definitely preferred this one.

In the battle of these two banana breads, #2 is #1.