Well, I guess that leaves us with... sourdough. All well and good, the sourdough. Such long, slow fermentations, so much intensity, texture, character, whatnot. Marvelous stuff.
But what about that banana bread? It only gets a little baking powder rise in the oven -- no fermentation there, to break down the bitter grit and make us a nice sweet strong loaf. And yet, we want some.
Oh look, here comes the dairymaid to the rescue. You can ferment quick breads (banana bread, cornbread, muffins) with yogurt to get a silky rich tender nubbly bread, with all the germ and bran melted into a creamy batter. My recipe is adapted from Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions.
I make this stuff in batches when I have bunches of overripe bananas from Bi-Rite, and then freeze loaves of it to surprise W. Crawford in later, poorer days. Speaking of whom, note the funny little grin at the top of this picture. I was so engrossed in my banana bread photo shoot that I didn't notice my visitor for another two pictures. I hope you're similarly oblivious to the street-grime on my window.
Banana Bread24 hours before baking, stir together in a large bowl:
6 cups whole grain kamut flour, wheat flour, or spelt flour
4 cups acidic liquid, being: yogurt, kefir, or water + a splash of raw vinegar
Cover with a plate and let sit till tomorrow.
The next day, butter 3 large loaf pans, preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and mash:
6 large overripe bananas
1 T. vanilla extract
2 tsp. salt
1 T. baking soda
3/4 cup honey or maple syrup or other sugar
1/2 c. butter, melted (and browned slightly, if you like)
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans or dark chocolate chips (optional)
When well combined, add to the soaked flour mixture and stir until thoroughly mixed. I use my hands. Pour into the buttered pans and bake until well browned and a knife comes out clean, somewhat more than an hour. Let cool for a bit in the pans, then run a knife around the edges and ease the loaves out.
Wrapped in plastic when cool, this bread keeps well for days at room temperature. Or wrap tightly and freeze.