Monday, January 16, 2023

Bread Baking Babes Try Something Different

Did you know that you can eat banana peel? Neither did I. The bread that many of the Bread Baking Babes are making today used a whole frozen banana, peel and all. I'm not eating bananas right now, so I substituted persimmon pulp...not nearly the same, but it turned out fairly well. Our Kitchen of the Month is the audacious and delightful Elizabeth of blog from OUR Kitchen blog. I do hope that you will make HER version!

If you would like to be a Buddy, contact Elizabeth and send her your URL and a photo, plus a brief description of your bake by Jan. 29th and she will send you the beautiful Buddy Badge. Be sure to see what the other Babes have done with this unusual recipe. They are all very experienced bread bakers, so it should be fun to see their iterations.

As you know if you have been reading this blog all along, I rarely follow a recipe the way it is written, even baking recipes. Substituting persimmon pulp for banana puree sounded straightforward, but turned out to be something else. I cooked the persimmon pulp to help evaporate some of the excess water but even so the recipe seemed to have a lot of liquid and I ended up adding a significant amount of extra flour (using bread flour because I have a lot of it) which sort of muted the persimmon flavor. It was still tasty and the addition of spices and the cinnamon filling helped, too, although there may have been too much cinnamon time I would use less. I liked the nutty taste from the whole wheat flour and wheat germ used. Even though there was some brown sugar, this really isn't a very sweet bread.

This was a sloppy dough for much of the time I worked with it, but I knew that I wanted to make two medium wreaths with the dough and that I wanted some definition of the layers, so a truly slack dough wasn't going to work. Eventually I realized that I would need to knead in additional flour, but I was surprised that it was far more than a 1/2 cup. After a while I stopped measuring, so you won't be able to replicate my bread. Try the banana one instead if you can eat bananas. You may still need to add extra flour, but probably less if you use the loaf pan method of shaping. The recipe for the banana one is further below. You can make bread or buns.

For the persimmon one, scoop the flesh from two very ripe Hachiya persimmons (the kind that look kind of like a heart, not the flat-ish ones), mash with a close-tined fork or in a food processor, then cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes at medium-low heat to cook off some of the excess moisture. Let cool, mash again with a fork to break up into a puree, then use like the banana in the recipe (once the banana and peel have been pureed). Add 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon allspice to the flour and whisk it in to that it is thoroughly combined with the flour mixture. You may need to add additional flour, but go slowly so that you don't add too much. If you are shaping to put into the loaf pans, you probably won't need too much additional flour. For the filling, use half as much cinnamon as described in the banana recipe. I made my dough stronger with bread flour for the additional flour, then when it was time to shape, I cut the dough in half, rolled the half into a rectangle, spread with half the cinnamon filling (leaving unfilled edges for sealing), then rolled up along the long side. I used a serrated knife to cut the roll in half long-wise, then 'braided' the two halves, keeping the cut sides up and then formed that 'braid' into a circle, tucking the ends under. Let rise again, then bake, just as in the banana recipe, but using less baking time than the loaf, but more than with buns. When cool, if desired, glaze with a combination of confectioners sugar and warm milk...just a tiny bit of milk.

Here is the actual January 2023 Bread Baking Babes recipe:

Wild Banana (peel and all) Cinnamon Bread (or Buns)
based on a recipe in the "Tassajara Bread Book" by Edward Espe Brown, with notes about the recipe from "Bread Alone" by Judith Ryan Hendricks, and the method for using ALL of the banana in the Washington Post's recipe for "Don't Peel Your Banana Bread" (quickbread)


  • 1 ripe banana, washed thoroughly, and frozen


  • 50 grams (98 ml) whole wheat flour
  • 50 grams (50 ml) water
  • spoonful (~15 grams) wild yeast starter from the fridge


  • 410 grams (3+1/3 c) unbleached all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 10 grams (1 Tbsp) buckwheat flour
  • 12 grams (24 ml) wheat germ
  • 30 grams (30 ml) plain yoghurt
  • 170 grams (170 ml) water
  • 2 Tbsp (27 grams) vegetable oil (I used sunflower)
  • all of the leavener from above
  • banana from above, thawed
  • 14 grams (1 Tbsp) brown sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 8 grams (generous 1 tsp) seasalt + 10 grams (10ml) water


  • 60 grams (4 Tbsp) unsalted butter, melted
  • 28 grams (2 Tbsp) brown sugar
  • 25 grams (2 Tbsp) white sugar
  • ground cinnamon (or a mixture of ginger and cinnamon), to taste
  • salt, to taste
  • handful or two of pepitas and/or raisins, optional
  1. prepare the banana: Two days before you plan to bake the bread, thoroughly wash a ripe bananas (ideally, the banana should be well-mottled with black spots). Just to be sure that any oil-based pesticides are removed, for washing, I use bio-degradable dish-soap (NOT antibacterial!) and water, plus plenty more water to rinse. Dry the banana, then cut the stem and bottom edge off (put those into the compost), and place the banana in a freezer bag to freeze. The next morning on the day before you plane to bake the bread, take the banana out of the freezer and put it (still in its freezer bag) into the fridge to thaw.
  2. leavener: The night before you plan to bake the bread: mix leavener ingredients in a smallish bowl. Cover the bowl with a plate and leave overnight in the oven with only the light turned on if it's cool at night, (or with the light turned off if it's warm in the kitchen).
  3. dough: On the morning of the day you will be baking the bread:
    • check the leavener: see if a small spoonful floats in a bowl of cool water. It probably will. But, if the leavener has a concave surface, sprinkle in a little more whole wheat flour and the same amount by weight of water. Stir, cover and let rest for about 30 minutes to check again. It's very likely that it will float. When it floats, proceed with making the dough.
    • dry ingredients and leavener: Sift the all-purpose flour into a mixing bowl large enough for the final dough to triple. Add the buckwheat flour and wheat germ, and all of the leavener from above. Add yoghurt, 120 grams of water [change that to 150 grams], vegetable oil, and all of the leavener to the bowl. Use a wooden spoon (or dough whisk) to mix everything in the bowl together to make a rough dough. Cover the bowl with a plate and leave on the counter for about 40 minutes.
    • banana: The Washington Post's "Don't Peel Your Banana Bread" recipe is based on the recipe for Zingerman's Bakehouse Banana Bread. That recipe has the best explanation for how to prepare the bananas for the dough itself:1. Prepare the bananas. [...] Defrost. As the bananas freeze and defrost they will turn black. They do not need to be black prior to freezing. [...] Puree until they are a smooth paste. You may see tiny dark specks of the peel. This is fine.
      - Zingerman's Bakehouse Banana Bread Recipe (pdf) (
      I found it easier to cut the banana into chunks before puréeing it. I also left some all of the inside pulp in the bowl before pulverizing the rest.  Using a wooden spoon, stir the brown sugar into the pulp of the banana purée. Put the rest of the water (20 grams) in with the peels. Please don't be alarmed about the very dark colour that results from puréeing. It will simply make the final dough a little darker colour. Put the purée into a smallish bowl.
    • Using a wooden spoon, mix the peel purée into the banana sludge. Dump this mixture on top of the dough that has been resting.
    • adding the egg and salt: in a small bowl, lightly beat the egg with the salt and 10 grams water. Pour this mixture over top of the banana mixture.
    • Kneading: Use one of your hands to squoosh the banana/sugar/egg/salt/water mixture into the dough; use the other hand to steady the bowl – this way you always have a clean hand. At first the dough might be a bit messy and seem like maybe it's coming apart. Persevere. Suddenly, it will seem more like dough than weirdly folded, slimy glop. Keep folding it over onto itself until it is relatively smooth. Don't be overly terrified that the dough seems to stay really gloppy and sticky. Cover with a plate and leave to rest for about 30 minutes.
      The dough will be kind of sticky and pretty loose. I added a couple of extra tablespoons of flour to bring the dough together, but it wasn't that easy to shape.
      - Karen K, Karen's Kitchen Stories | Yeasted Banana Sandwich Bread (
    • Repeat the above step 2 or 3 more times.
  4. filling: melt the butter and allow it to cool to room temperature. Combine the sugars and cinnamon in a small bowl. Cover and set aside at warm room temperature.
  5. shaping: when the dough has doubled, turn it out onto a floured board. Divide into 2 equal pieces.
    • loaves: Gently shape the dough into flat rectangles that are about 2 centimeters thick. Smear the filling over each rectangle and roll like jelly rolls, from the narrow side, to make 2 loaves. Put the rolls seam side down in parchment paper covered bread tins. Run your hands under water and gently wet the top of the shaped bread. If you're using them, scatter pepitas on top. Cover the tins with a damp clean tea towel and let rise at warm room temperature until almost double. To test if it has risen enough, flour your finger and press gently on the edge - it should very slowly spring back. For comparison, try pressing early on to see how it quickly springs back when the dough has not risen enough.
    • instructions for shaping and cutting buns
      buns: Using a lightly floured wooden rolling pin, roll one of the pieces, as thinly as you can, into a long rectangle. Evenly slather the top of the rectangle with half the melted butter and half the sugar/cinnamon mixture. Roll the rectangle up as tightly as you can to form a long tube. Cut diagonally and use a chopstick to press down the centers so that the spiral flares out. Place well apart on parchment covered cookie sheet. Repeat with the other piece of dough. Cover the shaped buns with a damp tea towel and let sit in a warm, non-drafty spot until they have almost doubled.
  6. preheat the oven: A half hour before baking, turn the oven to 400F.
  7. baking: Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until the loaves or buns are golden. But first:
    • bread: Just before baking, liberally spray the tops of loaves with water. Put the bread on the middle shelf of the oven, immediately turning the oven down to 375F (the sugar wants to burn...).
    • buns: Put the buns on the top shelf of the oven, immediately turning the oven down to 375F. Half way through baking, turn the buns around and turn the oven down to 350F; with all that sugar, the bottoms of the buns really want to burn.
  8. cooling: If you have made buns, place them still on the parchment paper on a footed rack on the counter to cool completely. If you have made bread, remove it from the pans, and place each loaf on its side to cool on the footed rack. Check to see that the bread is done by rapping it on the bottom; it should sound hollow like a drum. If you only hear dull thuds, put the bread back into the still hot oven - directly on the rack (there's no need to put it back into the tins - for 5 or 10 minutes more. Once it is done, place it on the footed rack to cool completely before cutting into it. It is still cooking internally when first removed from the oven! If you wish to serve warm bread (of course you do), reheat it after it has cooled completely: To reheat any uncut bread, turn the oven to 400F for 5 minutes or so. Turn the oven OFF. Put the bread into the hot oven for about ten minutes. This will rejuvenate the crust and warm the crumb perfectly.


  1. Great tip on rejuvinating already baked bread!

  2. Your twisted bread looks delish! I don't think I've ever baked anything with persimmon. I need to try it sometime.

  3. Yay for adapting the recipe for your tastes! I am quite envious that you have your own persimmons (being from the frozen north, I'm not even sure that I would recognize a persimmon if I saw one!) and think it's brilliant that you substituted the banana with persimmon. Your bread looks wonderful! I love the braid.

    (I just searched "persimmon" and saw photos. It turns out I have seen persimmons at the fruit stand from time to time! They look sort of like tomatoes, don't they? And I see that persimmon skin is edible; did you include it too?)

  4. There are two kinds of persimmons. The skin on the Fuyu kind is very thin and great to eat, but the skin on the kind I used is tougher because the interior only gets ripe when the fruit on the tree has been chilled quite a lot, over and over. Not only does it get tougher that way, but the fruit bruises on the branches in the wind (the leaves are gone long before the fruit is ready), so I didn't use the skin. The pulp inside the skin is very similar to mashed banana, but I cooked it because it is wetter and another recipe, for persimmon cream pie, suggested cooking to get rid of some of the excess moisture.

  5. I have made persimmon bars that were delicious, I'd love to try it that way! And your twist is positively gorgeous!

  6. Beautiful twist. I know persimmons aren't quite the same as banana but I love them.

  7. We had a terrible persimmon year, and then moved from the house where we had the Fuyu tree, so I'm doubly bummed that we never thought to bake with the fruit until well too late! Will have to get a good source for next fall - this looks great.