A Kansas Country Garden: Third Week of February

What a difference a few days makes! The crocus blooms of last week are buried under over a foot of snow after back to back snowstorms. There is no evidence of  spring here today. The snow brought much needed and welcome moisture as well as outstanding beauty. Warm and cozy in my home, there was no reason to go anywhere.

A Kansas Country Garden: First and Second Week of February

After a bleak and brown winter, a touch of color in the landscape brings hope to the soul. Winter will not last forever. Spring will come.

Sourdough Banana Bread

There are lots of good recipes for banana bread and they all taste pretty good. Why then Sourdough Banana Bread? Because it is indeed superb.

The simple ingredients.
What is it about sourdough that makes it taste so good? I am truly not sure. Sourdough is a fermented mixture of flour and water. What it does for bread is almost magical. Yes, its worth it to keep a jar with this bubbly concoction in the refrigerator should you happen to have a few overripe bananas sitting on your counter.

I always refresh the sourdough a few hours before using. Ideally sourdough should be used often, but I've found that even though I might not use it every week, if I take it from the refrigerator and add equal amounts warm water and flour, it is soon bubbling away and ready to work its magic. This is the good stuff. The sourdough setting in the refrigerator for several weeks is not. Oh, it would probably still work, but the recently fed sourdough is the best.

And an egg. Gotta have an egg.
This recipe, along with many of my sourdough recipes, was adapted from Rita Davenport's Sourdough Cookery which was published in 1977.  I love this book and it has taught me well. Most of the recipes are very good and some are outstanding. Sourdough Banana Bread qualifies as outstanding.

The recipe is simple, but goes together in a rather unusual way.

 Sourdough Banana Bread
(for a printable recipe, click here)
Begin by mixing together:
1 cup fresh sourdough starter
Sourdough starter is added to sugar and the fun begins.
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

This creates a lovely foamy mixture.

1/3 cup canola oil (or any vegetable oil)
1 egg

Mix well.

1 cup flour
1 cup mashed banana (usually two)

Mix well.

Pour mixture into oiled loaf pans. It makes one large loaf, but I usually prefer to make it into two or three smaller loafs. Allow to sit in a warm place for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with about 1/3 cup chocolate chips.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 50-55 minutes (single large loaf) or 30-35 minutes (two smaller loafs) or until done.

Pour a cup of tea and cut a slice of banana bread. Yes, I think you'll agree. This is a very good banana bread.

How to get your own sourdough starter:

1. Ask me! I really am glad to share. I think I have an excellent sourdough. I have been using and feeding my sourdough for at least ten years. If you know me and live close, I am a great option.

2.. Make your own. There are a several recipes posted on Tasty Kitchen (click here or here or here). I have not tried any of these recipes, but they seem fairly simple and I'm sure would work well. Rita Davenport offers several recipes for starter in her book, Rita Davenport's Sourdough Cookery. 

3. When someone offers you Amish Friendship Bread starter, accept. Occasionally Amish Friendship Bread starter makes the rounds in our community. According to the directions you have to make a loaf of bread and give away several bags of starter every week. It doesn't take very many weeks before there is a glut of baggies of starter. Then in another week everyone gets tired of the "have to"  in making the friendship bread and they throw everything out.  If someone offers you a bag, go ahead and accept, but don't follow the instructions. Feed it only equal amounts of warm water and flour. You'll have a great sourdough starter. It is possible that this is how I got my original sourdough.

Interested in sourdough? Here are some more recipes you may want to try (Click on the label for a link to the recipe):
Sourdough Blueberry Pancakes
Sourdough Apple-Oatmeal Bread
Sourdough Waffles