I’ve been wanting to join a bread group for quite sometime now. It finally happened! I’m officially baking with the Bread Bible Alpha group, a group of bakers working our way through recipes from The Bread Bible written by Rose Levy Beranbaum.
This month’s recipe is called Banana Feather loaf, which is the lightest airiest bread in Rose’s cookbook. It was definitely light! The banana taste is not very detectable, but I’ve read that it gets develops more the day after baking (if there is any left!). Plus, I used a frozen banana so maybe that impacted the flavor.
It’s hard to describe this bread and one can’t help but expect a bit of a sweet bread when they read “Banana feather loaf”, but it’s not really sweet, at least not noticeably. And so it’s not quite a sandwich bread, but it’s not really a sweet bread. It did smell heavenly though when it was baking and I think it would be fantastic used for French Toast! Rose suggest topping it with peanut butter and I gladly obliged!
I didn’t take a lot of in process photos. Basically, you make a preferment/sponge, which I chose to refrigerate overnight after a 1-hour counter rise, and then you mix the dough. I used a stand mixer and mixed for 10 minutes and so I was surprised that the crumb wasn’t tighter on this bread. However, I don’t make a lot of enriched breads, so maybe this is normal in this case? I do know that high speed machine mixing is normally associated with a tighter crumb.
I thought that the dough was very light and airy. After rising, it was just peeking over the top:
My dough rose in about 2 hours in my “homemade” proofing box, which is basically my microwave with a cup of hot water placed inside. After shaping, I was a little worried because my loaf proofed for longer than 2 hours since I ran out to get lunch and lost track of time. I still wonder but I did a poke test and it seemed to be fine.
The top of the bread browned as shown in the first 5 minutes! And thanks to another member of this group (Vicki) for the heads up, I placed a sheet of aluminum foil over the top, otherwise it would have definitely burned! If I make this again, I would immediately reduce the oven to 375 after placing the loaf inside. Rose explains to bake at 475 for the first 5 minutes (I’m assuming to help with oven spring) but I use the same kind of technique (hot hot oven to start) with my Tartine style bread, and I immediately turn the oven down upon loading the dough. Works fine. I did use a super soaker for steam for the first time ever! I aimed it at the hot oven walls and then slammed the oven shut (also used towels to cover my already cracked oven glass). Haha!
The dough baked very quickly! My internal bread temperature was 205 F after a total of 20 minutes in the oven, mostly at 375F.
Here is the finished product, complete with melted butter!
Due to publisher restrictions, our group cannot share the recipes from this book. All opinions are my own, and I didn’t receive a copy of the book or any compensation for this post. For more information, the recipe can be found in The Bread Bible, by Rose Levy Beranbaum