It’s been about one year since I first ‘started’ keeping my first and only pet, Donatello. He’s a sourdough starter. He’s full of pep, vigor and bacteria–the good kind. I have to tend/feed him pretty regularly, and in return, he gives me delicious loaves of sourdough bread, as well as other things, several of which I’ve shared here already.
An unfortunate part of the ‘feeding’ process for sourdough is discarding the excess starter when you deliver a new feeding. An alternative to this, is to incorporate that excess into other baking recipes.
The possibilities for sourdough starter uses are pretty varied. It’ll work in just about anything, giving it added leavening, as well as a faint but distinct tangy flavor, which works really well in recipes that are overly sweet.
Starter works best in recipes that I like to think of as ‘blank canvas’ recipes; meaning, they’re a standard staple that can stand up to lots of different tweaks and flavorings. Banana bread is a great Blank Canvas recipe, and I’ve shared several variations of it on here over the years. Now, it gets a sourdough treatment.
The most important thing when making banana bread is ensuring it has the right inner texture: light, moist and rich. Using ripe bananas is key here, as is making sure you have enough liquid/fats in the batter. Most banana bread recipes achieve this with a combination of mashed banana, butter and cooking oil. Today, we’re using sourdough starter in lieu of the oil.
The actual bread batter comes together very quickly and easily, as does the streusel topping. I know that most banana breads are baked in loaf pans, but this makes a tad bit more than I was comfortable pouring into mine, so I made the switch to a square cake pan, and I’m glad I did, as it pretty much filled that one too by the time it was finished baking.
You don’t have to add the streusel topping to this, the bread is perfectly delicious enough on its own. But, I do think the crunch of the streusel provides a great balance of texture to the light and moist banana bread.
Sourdough Streusel Banana Bread
- 8 tablespoons (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 2/3 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 3/4 cups mashed ripe banana, from about 1 3/4 pounds unpeeled bananas
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup (113 grams) sourdough starter or discard
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1/3 cup all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons white granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray an 8 or 9-inch round or square cake pan with cooking spray and set aside.
Combine the butter with the brown sugar, vanilla, spices, baking soda, baking powder and salt, beating with a hand mixer until smooth.
Add the mashed banana, honey, eggs and sourdough starter/discard, beating just until combined.
Add the flour, stirring just until combined.
Pour batter into prepared cake pan.
For streusel: combine all ingredients with a fork until formed into clumps/pebbles. Sprinkle this on top of banana bread batter.
Bake banana bread on middle rack of the oven for 45 minutes, then cover with a piece of aluminum foil you’ve lightly sprayed with cooking spray.
Bake for an additional 25 minutes. Remove the bread from the oven; a long toothpick or thin paring knife inserted into the center should come out clean, with a few wet crumbs clinging to it. The tester shouldn’t show any sign of uncooked batter. If it does, bake the bread an additional 5 minutes, or until it tests done.