Lost in translation

After reading about how easy it is to make Tessy’s Banana Bread on the Shutterbean blog, I decided that I will try my hand at baking again (the last time I baked a cake was almost ten years ago when I lived in Turkey and experienced a bout of chocolate cake craving).

The bread turned out exactly like what the blog described it to be – my husband and I finished half of it within half hour it came out of the oven. I made two more loaves in the subsequent week. Then, one evening last week, at 10 pm, I had a banana bread craving attack. Believing by now that I’ve got the recipe nailed down, I whipped it up and put it in the oven and expected to greet a loaf of moist and fluffy banana cake in 45 minutes’.

To my horrors, the bread came out FLAT! What happened? What had I done wrong this time???!!! I couldn’t figure it out. A few days later, I decided to make the bread again. Throughout the process I would read the recipe twice to make sure that I’m not doing anything wrong. And again the bread came out flat!

A fan of CSI, I decided to dissect the various steps I took to get to the bottom of the problem. Here’s what I did differently the last two times from the first three successes:

1) Baking soda vs baking powder: I ran out of baking powder so I used baking soda alone in the first three loaves

2) Eggs vs large eggs: I used two regular sized eggs instead of one large egg as indicated by the recipe

As the bread was flat, it was my initial conclusion that perhaps the baking soda and baking powder ratio as indicated is wrong. But how can it be when so many others have had success with the recipe? Frustrated and determined to get to the root of the failure, I decided to make another loaf the next day with more baking soda than baking powder (the recipe calls for more baking powder than soda). This time the bread turned out better – but still not like the initial loaves.

This leaves me with only one other consideration – the eggs. Then, it dawned on me that the eggs here in Singapore are smaller than the ones in the US. I remember when we lived in California, regular-sized eggs would be the size of what they would call large here in Asia. The recipe calls for one LARGE US egg – that means it should be an extra-large sized egg here! Hence, when I used one large Asian egg, it was insufficient to boost the rise and fluff of the loaf. I think I may have solved the problem!

One would think that there is some kind of international grading for egg size but evidently not.

Next up: pumpkin pancakes!

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~ by iccthomas on February 2, 2010.

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