Banana, Beer and Brazil Nut Bread

Yield: a 9”x5” loaf

When it comes to this bread, my partner prefers his slices thick, warmed slightly, and smothered in butter and maple syrup.  My little one wants it at room temperature, with the nuts picked out.  I like it as is or lightly toasted, with the addition of the extra nuts picked off the toddler’s plate.

Regardless of how you eat it, this sourdough-based sweetbread is an interesting and tasty alternative to more traditional banana breads.  It’s also a good way to use up the rest of that local artisanal beer you had a glass of that’s now gone flat in the fridge…

What you need:

  • 1-1/2 cups whole grain flour
  • 2 large bananas, mashed
  • 1 cup starter
  • 1/2 cup flat beer (something pale, this isn’t the place for stout)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • A generous 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped Brazil nuts
  • 3 tablespoons coco/palm sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

What you do:

  1. In a glass or ceramic bowl mix together the flour, mashed bananas, beer and starter.
  2. Cover the bowl with a wet cloth or loose cover and leave in a warm place for 6-8 hours.
  3. Once the dough is done fermenting, bubbling and raising some, preheat the oven to 350F. Grease and flour a 9’’x5’’ loaf pan.
  4. In a small bowl, mix together the coco sugar, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg. Set aside.
  5. In another small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the baking soda and 1 tablespoon of the sunflower oil until a smooth emulsion with no lumps results. You may have to go at it a bit.  Once it’s a homogeneous mixture, add the remaining tablespoon of oil and the maple syrup and whisk together until smooth.
  6. Fold/mix (it’ll be half-way between the two techniques) the oil, syrup and soda emulsion into the batter. Add the nuts and fold those in too.  Be careful not to over-mix.  The batter will slowly begin to bubble as the baking soda reacts with the acidic sourdough base.
  7. Working quickly now, pour about half the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the coco sugar and spice mixture over the batter in a relatively even layer and top with the rest of the batter.  To create a ‘’swirl’’ with the spiced sugar, stick a knife vertically into the batter and swirl it back and forth cross-wise through the pan along its length.
  8. Bake for 55-60 minutes or until a tester comes out pretty much clean when poked down to the bottom.
  9. Cool in the pan about 10 minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack to finish cooling. Slice and serve once the bread is at room temperature.


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