Why causes my cocoa swirl banana bread to fall apart as I slice it?



boulangere September 20, 2019
Does the recipe specifically include the cocoa swirl, or is that an addition to a banana bread recipe? If possible, could you include a link to the recipe?
TheAlmondAddict September 21, 2019
I loosely followed a cocoa swirl recipe but here's the ingredients I used:
1.5 cups white whole wheat flour
3 medium bananas
1/3 cup tahini
1/3 cup coconut sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate
3 tbsp plain low fat yogurt
1/2 tsp salt
+ spices and mixed in crushed pistachios

Tastes fine it just doesn't hold its shape. It especially falls apart along the cocoa swirl within the bread.
boulangere September 21, 2019
What an interesting question. Thank you for posting the recipe. A few things come to mind.

First, using exclusively whole wheat flour is likely a contributing factor. WWF has a high gluten content, and absorbs a lot of moisture from whatever dough it is used in. This is a low-moisture dough; its only sources are in the eggs (mostly the whites), the bananas to an extent, and a small amount of yogurt.

Second, and as important, baking soda is used to neutralize acids present in the form of the bananas, chocolate, yogurt, and pistachios. The standard formula is 1/2 teaspoon for each cup of acidic ingredients. The acids and baking soda together create carbon dioxide, which helps to leaven what is being baked. Your recipe probably has enough baking soda for the job.

That said, the issue of falling apart remains, as you noted ,along the cocoa swirl. That tells me that your bread likely lacks moisture, adequate baking soda, and adequate leavening in general. Here are my suggestions:

1. Reduce the WWF to 1 cup and add 1/2 cup of unbleached all-purpose flour.
2. Increase the yogurt to 1/3 cup for additional hydration, and increase the baking soda to 1.5 teaspoons.
3. Add another egg, both for hydration, but more importantly, for additional binding power due to eggs' high protein content.
3. Add 1.5 teaspoons of baking powder. With the WWF, tahini, chopped chocolate, and pistachios, your recipe results in a heavy batter. I think that the CO2 produced from reactions with the baking soda is not providing sufficient leavening.

To summarize, by lightening the load of WWF, adding hydration, providing more acid neutralization and additional leavening, your batter and bread will be lighter and less prone to breaking.

It's all a science experiment, you know? Please let us know how it turns out for you.
TheAlmondAddict September 21, 2019
Wow, thanks for the very in-depth answer! Exactly what I was looking for :) Yeah cooking is like a chemistry in itself. I will try that out next time I've got ripe bananas and post my results. Thank you!
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