For the first week of my learning project I wanted to bake something very basic that I knew would be easy to get right, so I went with this gluten-free banana bread recipe from Betty Crocker’s website. It literally has the word ‘easy’ right in the title, so I figured I better be able to do it. The recipe was already gluten-free, so I just used some all-purpose gluten-free flour that I had in my cupboard. I took a quick look at the ingredients before I started baking, only to realize I had a big problem. I did not even know what one of the ingredients was! So much for an ‘easy’ recipe. It called for buttermilk, which I had never heard of. So, I took to the internet to find out what it was. I found this article by Sugar Spun Run that explained how to make buttermilk with nothing but milk and lemon juice. The bottom of the article even included the amount of lemon juice required to make a 1/4 cup of buttermilk, which was exactly what I needed!
Before I began to mix ingredients, I greased the loaf pan I would be using. The recipe said to only grease the bottom of the pan, but luckily, I knew better than that. I have a feeling not greasing the sides could have caused a big disaster, so I am thankful I avoided that. I also set out all my ingredients before I began mixing them, as I knew this was an important first step when baking. However, I quickly learned that simply putting out all the ingredients is not enough. I ended up spending so much time making the buttermilk, mashing bananas, and softening the butter that the oven was finished preheating before I had even began to actually mix ingredients. Next time, I will be sure to have all the ingredients not only set out, but prepared and ready to be mixed before I begin.
Another thing I learnt from making this banana bread is that I need to pay closer attention to my recipe. Recipes tend to have very tiny, specific details within their instructions that are easy to miss. For example, the first step in this recipe was to beat the sugar and butter with an electric mixer. Then, it said to add in the eggs and beat well, which I did. However, the next instruction was to stir in the bananas, buttermilk, and vanilla. I failed to notice the change in vocabulary, so I continued to use the electric mixer. Let’s just say my bananas were extra mashed. Luckily, this did not affect the outcome of the recipe, but I am sure that it could cause an issue with a more complicated recipe or more delicate ingredients.
I was slightly nervous putting my banana bread in the oven, as I was scared that I messed something up. This did not last long though, as I started to feel better as soon as I could smell it baking. My whole house smelt amazing, by the way. I was so excited when I pulled the finished product out of the oven; it looked perfect! Thankfully, it also tasted great. My whole family ate it, and they all loved it as well, which is impressive as none of them are gluten-free. My mom even wanted the recipe for her cookbook! I am super happy with how this first week of my learning project turned out, and I cannot wait to do it again next week. I do not think I have ever been looking forward to doing a homework project this much in my life.