After weeks of a heat that turned once-lush lawns to straw, this past Sunday dawned misty and gray. A constant drizzle pattered its way through the leaves, and the mercifully cool air smelled of damp earth.
It was a day to spend indoors, in the comfortable routine of business about the house, getting bits and pieces in order and lazily flipping through the weekend newspapers. By far, my favourite sort of day.
As far as food went, our menu was decided by consensus - following only our inclinations without worry of schedules or agenda. Immediate and extended family members stopped by for a cup of of tea, a chat or general diversion.
Some time in the early afternoon I caught wind of collected whispers, mentioned cravings for something as a snack, a cake perhaps. Nothing decadent, just a nibble of something a bit sweet.
Banana bread; this old fashioned loaf seemed the perfect fit for a rain-soaked Sunday afternoon. Studded with moist chunks of banana, their richness undercut by the acid twang of yogurt, this was the sort of loaf that sits on the counter with a knife nearby. For the remainder of the day we snacked, coming back for another slice, another crumb, whenever temptation arose.
Yogurt banana bread
This recipe yields a meltingly moist loaf with a cake-like texture. However it may look though, do not be fooled. This bread is not the overly sweet, dessert variety. The perfect partner to coffee, it is much more subtle in its charm.
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 large, ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup well-drained yogurt (see note)
4 1/2 ounces unsalted butter at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pan
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup firmly-packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Lightly butter a standard, 9"x5"x3" loaf pan.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flours, salt, baking powder and spices.
In another bowl, mix the yogurt and banana together until well blended. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl, until light and fluffy. It should take 3 to 4 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, with the mixer on medium speed and beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and beat to combine.
Add half the flour mixture to the butter, beating on medium-low until blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the bananas and sour cream, beating until distributed. Add in the remaining flour, still stirring on medium-low until just combined. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan.
Bake in a preheated oven for about 1 hour and 10-15 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the centre comes out clean the bread pulls away from the side of the pan. Cool in tin for 10 minutes, then turn out to a rack to cool completely.
Makes 1 loaf.
• I used well-drained 1% yogurt.
• For the loaf pictured, the pan was the darker metal kind. For that reason, I reduced the oven temperature by about 15 degrees F to keep the exterior tender and golden. If this is the case with yours, you may need to adjust the cooking time accordingly.