In these uncertain times there is one thing I know for sure. People find comfort in baking bread. Trending all over the internet are the most beautiful moist loaves of banana bread and artistic sourdough boules, baguettes and focaccia. Clearly, there are two kinds of bakers. Those who like to get a quick sweet fix in a banana bread and those that prefer the long, often days process, of an artisanal loaf.
What if we could meld these two unlikely classes of bread into one harmonious loaf? Wouldn’t it be nice….and what if we could all sit around the same table and break bread together?
Yes, let’s do it.
Sourdough baking is not all that complicated once you have become the proud owner of some sourdough starter. Starter is a simple mix of fermented flour and water. It contains wild yeast and lactobacilli bacteria. It is what makes the bread rise. It’s “alive” and it needs to be maintained or “fed”. Sourdough discard, on the other hand, is that leftover starter, not used in the days baking process. Many bakers either throw the discard in the trash or they try to reduce the amount of starter they maintain keeping as little as 10 grams. Still, others, like me, prefer to repurpose it into waffles, crackers and quick breads. A typical starter is equal parts water and flour known as 100% hydration. This makes it easy to swap out some of the flour and liquid by weight in most any baking recipe for the sourdough discard. Here is a link for a full explanation on how it all works: Cultures For HealthPrint
The best sourdough discard banana bread made sweet with dates and honey
1 ½ cups (200 g) all-purpose flour
½ cup (40 g) white whole wheat flour
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (150 g) pitted dates, chopped
3 tablespoons hot water
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
3 over-ripe bananas, mashed
¾ cup (125 g) sourdough discard
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons lemon olive oil*
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Zest of a lemon
½ cup chopped candied nuts
- Heat your oven to 350ºF. Coat a 9” x 5” loaf pan with no-stick baking spray.
- In bowl whisk both flours, salt and baking soda; set aside.
- In food processor, pulse dates and hot water until finely chopped.
- In large mixer bowl, cream butter and date mixture until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time. While mixing, scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add banana, sourdough, honey, olive oil vanilla and zest; blend well.
- Add flour mixture slowly, pausing to scrape down the sides if necessary.
- Pour the batter into the 9” x 5” baking pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle nuts evenly over top.
- Bake for 50-55 minutes or until golden brown and wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes and then gently remove onto a wire rack to cool completely.
*plain olive oil may be used plus 1 teaspoon lemon juice or ½ teaspoon lemon extract