Cranberry-Banana-Walnut Quick Bread

Cran Banana Walnut Bread

Adapted from The Bread Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum
Makes an 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-by-3 1/2-inch-high loaf

This recipe is from the newest cookbook in my collection: The Bread Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum.  I have one of her other books: The Pie and Pastry Bible.  Both are excellent.  Rose if very meticulous about how a recipe should be put together.  She does not leave out any details or leave anything to chance.  Some might say that she is too detailed.  Being an engineer who likes to cook, I am not sure that’s possible.

This is the first recipe I baked from the new book.  And, this is maybe the best quick bread I have ever tasted.  The tartness of the cranberries plays very well with the sweetness of the bananas and you get the crunch of the walnuts.  Outstanding combination!

I did make one change here.  I increased the bananas from one to two.  Many banana bread recipes I have baked call for a lot more bananas than one and I felt that just one banana would not be enough.  It worked out great.  The banana flavor came right through.

Try this bread.  You will not be disappointed.

Recipe follows.

Ingredients
1 cup walnuts (4 oz)
2 cups minus 1 tablespoon bleached all-purpose flour (use only Gold Medal or Pillsbury)  (9.5 oz)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (4 oz)
1 cup sugar, preferably turbinado (7oz)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 very-ripe large banana (3/4 cup) (11 oz)
1 1/2 tablespoons sour cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen, cut in half (7 oz)

Equipment

A heavy-duty stand mixer with paddle attachment OR a hand-held mixer
A 9-by-5-inch loaf pan, greased with cooking spray or oil

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees 20 minutes before baking. Have an oven shelf at the middle level.
  2. Toast the walnuts on a baking sheet until just beginning to color, about 7 minutes. Empty them onto a paper towel and rub them lightly to remove any loose skin. Allow the nuts to cool. Then break or coarsely chop them.  Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
  4. In a mixer bowl or other large bowl, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed if using a stand mixer (#4 KitchenAid, with the paddle attachment), or high speed if using a hand-held beater until light, about 3 minutes.
  5. Add the eggs, banana, sour cream, and vanilla all at once and continue beating for about 1 minute or until thoroughly blended.
    Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed (#2 KitchenAid) for 20 seconds or until moistened.
  6. Add the cranberries and walnuts and continue beating for another 20 seconds or until well incorporated. (The batter will weigh about 2 pounds, 9 ounces/1 kg, 158 grams.)
  7. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. (It will be about 3/4 inch from the top.) Bake for 55 to 65 minutes or until the bread is golden and springs back when pressed lightly in the middle and a cake tester or thin bamboo skewer comes out clean. NOTE: Tent loosely with foil after the first 30 minutes to prevent overbrowning. The bread will develop an attractive split after the first 20 minutes or so of baking.
  8. Set the bread in the pan on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Loosen the sides of the bread, unmold it, and cool completely, top side up.

This bread gets better if you can wait to eat it after it has sat over night.  Because of the moisture content, it will stay fresh for up to four days.

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