Collab Projects

[Collab] Cinnamon Banana Bread (BBT Challenge)

Happy New Year, everyone! (Yes, it’s April, but my last post here was from, uh, December). I love food-related collaborations and I will never ever say no to one, so this is a fun way to come back! The number of bloggers on WordPress has dwindled, and there has never been that many bakers in my circle to begin with, so big thanks to the wonderful Shoujo @ Shoujo Thoughts for making it happen! If anyone reading this is a baker, or sucks at baking but is looking for an adventure (even better), it’s not too late to join at all! We want more people!

This is the Baking Bloggers Telephone (BBT) challenge, and here are the rules:

  1. Post these instructions at the top of your blog post. ❤ #BBTChallenge
  2. Consider the baked good recipe you were given by the person who tagged you, and then change it to make it your own! This is Baking Telephone!
  3. Write step-by-step instructions for the whole recipe (including your changes!) in your post, and make sure they’re as easy to follow as possible. Please understand that everyone has access to different baking equipment and resources, so substitutes are allowed as needed! (i.e. No bread maker? Oven is fine! Can you sub out cornstarch for potato starch? Sure, if you think it works!)
  4. Please tag the person whose recipe you’re modifying so they can see it! Please also tag me (Shoujothoughts!) because I wanna see ALL the transformations!! I’m so excited to see everyone’s takes!
  5. Have fun, please! Don’t stress if you think it turned out wrong! None of us are professionals (that I know of, but heeeyyy, if you are, nice) and that’s totally fine. ❤ Just mention what you’d do differently next time and watch it transform!
  6. Please complete the challenge within two weeks of being tagged. If you cannot do so, that’s okay! Just let the person who tagged you know within that same time fame so that they can tag someone else. 🙂

Shoujo started us out with a lovely chocolate calico bread, and Anime Science 101 made a beautiful blueberry loaf topped with blueberry compote. As a massive blueberry enthusiast, I initially wanted to do my own take on the blueberry bread with the jar homemade jam someone gave us, but it was a little too runny and rather too old to be food safe. Big sad.

I saw that AS 101 did provide an alternative to blueberry compote for the topping – cinnamon sugar – and that inspired me to take my bread in a different direction. After all, I have a few bananas lying around in the house, and I far prefer using bananas in baking than in smoothies. You know, when people talk about “banana bread,” the concoction they’re referring to is really much more of a cake. It’s moist and dense and sweet. Nothing wrong with banana cake – I love that stuff. But what if I made real, yeasted banana bread? It seems like such an obvious thing to try, but is there a good reason people don’t do that? I had to find out.

The Process

I’m going to do the annoying food blogger thing where I go on useless tangents and post lots of pictures, so if you’re one of those people who just wants to get down to business (like me when I read other baking blogs), do skip to the recipe at the bottom.

It starts with a ripe banana. Now, I often find myself judging people for picky eating, but I’m a bit of a hypocrite, because I have hated bananas for well over a decade. It started when my little brother chased me around the house in an attempt to smoosh my face with a half-chewed banana. I think I conditioned myself to hate bananas after that. But really, bananas are quite nutritious, and I have talked myself into re-incorporating them into my diet.

But the recipe doesn’t actually start with the banana; it starts with yeast. I have seen proof from the success of many others that you don’t actually have to feed your yeast before using it in baking, but that was what I was taught when I attended a memorable bread-baking class 10 years ago, so that is what I’ve always done. After all, it’s satisfying to watch yeast rise in a bowl of warm sugar water. So let it rise undisturbed for about 5 minutes.

While you wait, mash the banana. I broke off a bit of that banana for a taste test (it was perfect), so your bread will probably have more banana than mine. Then, add melted butter. If you melt it in the microwave like me, make sure it’s covered! Nobody has time to set up a double boiler…

Next, add flour, milk powder, and cinnamon. I was happy that the original recipe already called for milk powder – an underrated ingredient in my opinion. It’s the secret to so many addicting Asian confections.

Add yeast, and mix until just combined. Then rum raisins!

A word about the rum raisins – I used too few so you won’t be seeing that many in the images, but I have adjusted the amount in the actual recipe. Soaking the raisins in rum beforehand also prevents the scenario of crust raisins getting toasted to a crisp during baking. If you don’t like rum, you don’t have to add that, and if you don’t like raisins, perhaps chocolate chips would do.

Now it’s kneading time! I find it handy to have a small cup of flower at hand for flouring the surface or adjusting the consistency of the dough. Knead, rotating constantly in one direction as you go. It’s done when the dough is smooth and bounces back when you poke it with one finger.

Next, coat the dough in a thin layer of oil. I like to use the bit of butter that clung to the bowl when I microwaved it – no waste in this household! Put it in a large bowl, and let rest in the warmest spot in the house, covered with a paper or cloth towel.

My toaster oven has a “warm” setting – I usually turn it on for a few minutes, then put the loaf in for optimal resting after I turn it OFF. The warm setting would dry the dough out too much if I leave it in there without periodically giving it moisture, so I just let the residual heat do the trick. Here, you’ll see that I wedged a rag there to keep the oven door open just a tiny bit. Does bread dough even need to breathe? I don’t know, it just seemed right. I left it there for an hour, though you can leave it for longer. Whatever amount of time it takes to double in size.

Check out the before and after slideshow!

While that happens, make the streusel topping. I was inspired by AS 101’s suggestion to top the loaf with cinnamon sugar, and tossed in a few more ingredients. Melt 2 1/2 tablespoons of butter, then add brown sugar, flour, quick oats, and cinnamon. It’s okay that this mixture starts to solidify a bit as the butter cools while you wait for the bread – it’s supposed to be a crumbly topping that you sprinkle over the loaf anyway.

When we’re finally ready to get baking, this is where you actually preheat the oven, guys. I’ve never understood why recipes always tell you to preheat the oven at the very start – my oven takes 6 minutes to preheat, and the prep work is two hours! Now all that’s left is to plop the dough into a greased loaf pan, cut a slit in the centre, and top it with the streusel.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until your bread passes the chopstick test (it shouldn’t stick if you stick a chopstick or skewer into it).

The inside looks kind of dense, but I promise you it is due to poor knife skills – the bread actually tasted fluffier than I would have guessed.

The Recipe

For those who want to dive right into it, here’s the recipe:

Yields: 1 loaf


  • 1 1/2 tbsps sugar
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 tsp yeast
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tbsps milk powder
  • 1/ 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 1/2 tbsps butter
  • 1/4 cup rum raisins (raisins soaked in rum overnight)
  • Cinnamon oatmeal streusel
    • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
    • 2 tbsps brown sugar
    • 1 1/2 tbsps flour
    • 1 tbsp rolled oats
    • 2 1/2 tbsps butter


  1. Dissolve 1 1/2 tbsps sugar into 1/2 cup warm water. Add yeast (1tsp), and leave undisturbed for 5 minutes. The yeast should rise into a nice foam.
  2. Meanwhile, in another large bowl, mash 1 ripe banana. The banana should be ripe enough to mash easily.
  3. Add melted butter (1 1/2T) into bowl with the mashed banana. Then add in flour (2C), milk powder (2T), and cinnamon (1/2t).
  4. Add the yeast mixture to the rest of the ingredients, half at a time. Mix until roughly incorporated.
  5. Finally, mix in rum raisins (1/4C). Adjust consistency by adding flour or water as needed.
  6. Transfer dough to a floured surface, and knead for about 5 minutes, turning the dough as you go. The end product should be smooth, and should bounce back when you poke it with a finger.
  7. Coat dough in a thin layer of oil. Cover with a paper towel or cloth, and let rest in a warm place. My toaster oven has a “warm” setting, so I turn that on for a few minutes, and then put the dough in the still-warm oven, leaving a small gap for it to “breathe.” The dough rises super fast that way and only takes about an hour. If you don’t have this, I would recommend leaving it out for an additional 30 min – 1 hour.
  8. Meanwhile, make the streusel topping by melting butter in the microwave (2 1/2T). To it, add brown sugar (2T), flour (1 1/2 T), quick oats (1T), and cinnamon (1/2t). Set aside.
  9. When dough is ready, preheat oven to 350F. Transfer the dough to a greased loaf pan. Carve a slit into the centre.
  10. Sprinkle streusel all over the top. Send into oven for 30-35 min, or until your bread passes the chopstick test (bread doesn’t stick to chopstick when you stick one into the centre).

Concluding Words

And now we pass it on to…Scott @ Mechanical Anime Reviews! Sorry that I took so long to get this post out, Scott. I really look forward to what you do with it, especially after we made potato bread together last time! This was fun, so thanks again for giving me the incentive to bake and blog, Shoujo.

Part of the reason it took me so long is because I haven’t been feeling too healthy lately, and often had sleepless nights. As a result, I often just didn’t have the energy to accomplish much beyond surviving work and making dinner. But I just finished my course of antibiotics for H. pylori, so hopefully I’ll feel more energized in the future. Did you know that more than a third of the world’s population is infected with H. pylori but doesn’t experience symptoms? Yes, you’re welcome for the cool fact.

Suggestions on how to improve the recipe? Let me (and Scott) know! Until next time, remember to get your sleep and eat lots of good food!


4 thoughts on “[Collab] Cinnamon Banana Bread (BBT Challenge)

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