A Tragic Reminder That I Do Not Know Better than Better Homes and Gardens
By onblank on September 08, 2011
There are times, friends, when you aren't an expert. There are times when you really should shelve your ego. This is an account when I encountered one of those times and took the wrong road. I'd like to call it the "Banana-Bread-Fail," which is just slightly less cliched and copyrighted than "Humble Pie."
Banana bread, of course, is a quick bread, meaning that it gets its lift from baking powder and not yeast. Baking powder is activated by heat and moisture. When you combine the wets with the dry goods you do not beat until smooth else you will have a banana brick. You stir 20-30 times maximum and bake that lumpy mess immediately. Better Homes and Gardens instructs us to follow this method, then fold walnuts into the batter.
Doesn't that make for more mixing? As a brilliant person, I decided that I knew better than that silly BHG cookbook and its generations of tested recipes. I will mix the walnuts into the dry mixture first, that way they are evenly distributed before the baking powder gets activated, thus making for a nice, raised loaf. As I spooned the batter into the pans, I saw some specks of white that were concerning, but not enough to risk going without toasted banana bread with butter (seriously, everything tastes better out of the toaster and buttered). Into the oven.
Of course some of the loaf stuck to the bottom of the pan. But no matter. Except that I'm seeing things.
Many white things.
What emerged was a spotty disaster. An inverse Dalmatian. An office tantrum with a bottle of White-Out and a stuck lid. The larger pieces of walnuts still held their dried secret: flour. Flour. And more flour.
When I cut into that beautiful loaf, even more flour. More salty, gritty bits of uncooked, unactivated, un-banana-ed dry goods.
As much as I'd like to tell you I love the unique taste of homemade wallpaper paste, I'm beginning to think that perhaps following the recipe is not so passe after all.
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