Banana Bread

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It is thought that the first people to make banana bread were the ancient Greeks and Egyptians. Mostly because they had access to the bananas and to the other ingredients, but who knows. Maybe there were cavemen and women making banana bread long before.

In modern times, the cake-like bread became popular in the USA in the 1930s with the resurgence, thirty years later. It's also popular in Australia, where they even eat it for breakfast and it is a traditional snack in Hawaii. This confection is easy to make and bakes quickly as the leavening agent is baking soda rather than yeast and no kneading is required.

Get that. No yeast.

And for some people yeast is a problem. If you have persistent low-level bowel trouble, skin infections and candida in the mouth, groin etc, you may want to consider the possibility of a chronic yeast infection that you can get evaluated and treated.

The bread is normally shaped to fit a rectangular loaf tin and the standard recipe takes around an hour at 350 degrees. It's not suited to storing at room temperature, so either eat it whilst fresh, or freeze it.

Keeping bread in the fridge is rarely a good idea, it goes all weird.

The basic banana bread ingredients are three mashed, ripe bananas, flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, butter or shortening, yoghurt or buttermilk, sugar and an egg. Banana bread is good for vegans too as the egg can be replaced with soy yoghurt or tofu with reasonable results.

The Vietnamese have their own version of banana bread, called Banh Chuoi, which means banana cake. In addition to bananas, egg and butter, the ingredients call for sugar, white bread, coconut milk, condensed milk and vanilla extract. This isn't recommended if you are on a diet. Stick with the healthy lower-calorie version!

There are various versions of the bread, using different spices and flavourings to blend with the banana taste. The recipe for Caribbean Banana Bread adds raisins, pecan halves and grated nutmeg. Don't add too much nutmeg, as in good enough dose it can produce some quite unpleasant neurological side effects. Nutmeg has a reputation amongst students as being hallucinogenic, but in reality, you rarely see a student taking it a second time. The effects of nutmeg overdose are very nasty indeed. Be careful.

Banana Nut Bread uses chopped walnuts and Moist Banana Bread contains an extra banana and melted butter or margarine. For people watching the calories, it's possible to make a low-fat version with non-fat milk.

You can add brand fibre to it too, to increase the fibre content without necessarily affecting the taste.

Other variations on the basic recipe for banana bread include sour cream and vanilla, chocolate chips with maraschino cherries and nuts, peanut butter, oat bran and applesauce. Whole Wheat Banana Bread uses whole wheat flour, walnuts and slightly overripe bananas. Overripe bananas tend to be much sweeter.

Some people like to slice it and pop it in a toaster, whilst others like to cook a French Toast version with maple syrup and cinnamon. Don't do this if you are on a diet though, that would be silly.

For those of you that like a tipple, bourbon whiskey is sometimes added to the mixture.

However, it is prepared, banana bread is a good way of using those leftover bananas at the end of the week.

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