It’s proving to be a little difficult to get back into a routine of blogging. I had the same struggle during the summer last year, and it’s been enough to make me consider not even trying to keep Ragamuffin Diaries going throughout the summer work season. However, that just seems to drastic, and I’ve concluded that I’d rather post sporadically than not at all!
One of the reasons it’s been difficult is just the lack of internet access. The one spot I can get online is the office at Kennicott Wilderness Guides, where I work, and which is a 7 mile bike ride (mostly uphill) from where I’m living this year. Of course, I’m here often enough for work (I start my office shift in 30 minutes, so must finish typing before then!), but often find that I don’t want to stick around any longer than I need to after work’s over.
The other reason is the fact that it’s harder to cook out here. I did a big grocery shopping trip back at the beginning of May, and that’s all the ingredients I have to work with until another big shopping trip in July (besides a few fresh items brought out by friends!). So, options are limited. Also, with the more busy, scattered schedule, I find myself regularly going back to stand-by recipes instead of trying out new ones.
But, the one really exciting thing about this summer, is that, for the first time in my five years of working out here, I’m living in a place that actually has an oven! If you’ve ever lived 4 1/2 months with only a 2 burner propane stove as your cooking device, you’ll understand how thrilling this is. So, when I had a day off last week, and looked at three browning bananas on the counter, I decided it was a good day to get the oven going.
This bread was a complete success. I made it with sourdough just for some of the health benefits of fermenting, but you could just as easily make it without (I’d increase the flour by 2/3 cup and add 2/3 cup of some kinda milk). Since I only let the sponge sit for about 5 hours, the sour flavor didn’t come through very strongly in the bread, which was perfect for this.
As I looked at a few different banana bread recipes, I was shocked by how much sugar they all called for. Comeon folks, this is bread, not cake! Of course, maybe I’m not one to talk, since I did throw chocolate chips in there, but hey, most of these recipes called for at least three times as much as sugar as I used, AND the chocolate chips! So I cut back the sugar drastically, and used honey instead of a refined option. Turned out perfect! If you have a sweeter tooth, you could increase the honey to 1/2 cup, but really, it’s not needed.
Now I better get to work. Today I’m stayin’ in the office instead of going out on the glacier, which is just fine since the rain is pouring down outside. Feels like a great day to be inside drinking tea!
Sourdough Banana Bread
makes 2 shorter loaves, or 1 big one
1/3 cup coconut oil (or butter), melted
1 cup sourdough starter
about 1 1/3 cup mashed banana (I used 3)
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/3 cup honey or maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup chocolate chips (I used mini)
1/2 cup coconut, plus some for sprinklin’
Reserving 2 Tbsp of flour, mix together the coconut oil, sourdough starter, banana and flour. Cover with a damp cloth and let sit in a warm place for 4-8 hours.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss the chocolate chips with the reserved flour (I’m not totally sure if it works, but this is supposed to keep them from sinking in the bread…. mine didn’t sink, so I figure I’ll keep doing it!). Add all the remaining ingredients to the sponge and mix until incorporated. I decided this was enough batter for two loaves, but if you wanted one taller one, you could just go for it. Divide batter between two oiled & floured loaf pans, and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.