Ironically, banana bread happens to be one of my favorite quickbreads. It's as if someone concentrated the delicious flavor of a banana but without the creepy mouthfeel.
Conventional quickbreads are pretty straightforward. Flour, sugar, butter or oil and whatever you want to add in.. pumpkin, zucchini, apple, banana etc..
They are great when you want to bring your neighbor, parents or friends a little snacking cake, but when it's just me, I like to switch things up a bit.
You know.. like adding sesame seeds to banana bread.
The flavor combination sounded a little weird at first. I've only used sesame seeds in savory dishes, but have used tahini (ground sesame seed paste) in sweets and treats with much success so I decided to give it a go.
I wish I could take credit for the deliciousness of this banana bread, but it was all Heidi Swanson. Her blog, 101 cookbooks, is a constant source of inspiration for cooking with whole foods ingredients.
A combination of whole wheat and white spelt flour makes this bread heartier than using white flour, which most of us are accostomed to eating. Olive oil takes the place of canola or vegetable oil, and yogurt is added to keep it moist. The sesame seeds are a welcome addition, giving the bread texture and a healthy dose of calcium.
Sesame Banana Bread
Slightly adapted from 101 Cookbooks
1 cup white spelt flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/2 c. toasted sesame seeds
1/4 c. black sesame seeds
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups mashed, VERY ripe bananas (~3 bananas)
1/4 cup plain,whole milk yogurt
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
Preheat the oven to 350° F, and place a rack in the center. Butter and flour a 9- by 5- inch (23 x 13 cm) loaf pan, or equivalent.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, baking soda, salt and sesame seeds and combine well.
In a separate bowl, mix together the olive oil, eggs, mashed banana, yogurt, and zest. Pour the banana mixture into the flour mixture and fold with a spatula until just combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until golden brown, about 45 minutes. You want to achieve beautiful color on the cake, but at the same time you don't want to bake all the moisture out of it. So the minute you're in that zone, pull it, erring on the side of under-baking versus over.
Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn the loaf out of the pan to cool completely.