This is a guest posting from Mike- we've been chatting about rice cooker cuisine. He decided to take it to the next level.
Why rice cooker banana bread? Well, I like banana bread, and my current living arrangements have a communal kitchen, so we buy bananas in bulk - often resulting in extra bananas. I imagine you're probably more curious about the rice-cooker bit, though.
The reason is simple enough - I'm living in Japan, and western normal ovens are a rarity in kitchens here. I'd read of rice cookers being repurposed for non-rice dishes, however, and went looking to see if this extended to banana bread. Happily enough, it did.
The recipe I used is from here.
I've made banana bread a few times before, and this recipe is pretty standard; no complications there. Well, that would be the case except for the whole `in Japan' bit. Baking soda and baking powder are not common here (or I don't know the kanji for them). Fortunately, I know of a western-style supermarket that has them. Unfortunately, it's only halfway across Tokyo.
A friend wanted to visit the supermarket though, which was enough additional reason to go. Of course, at this point, the 'bad idea' has already began creeping in, as I've spent a couple hours and several times the worth of the bananas in other ingredients.
Still, part of it is for the challenge, so I proceed to the next step. After assembling all the ingredients (and having to purchase a measuring cup & spoons, and then look up conversions from imperial to metric), actually making the dough is simple enough. The ingredients combine fine, and the end result is within normal parameters. By this time, it's the middle of the evening, perhaps around 8:00. Now for the actual rice cooker part.
I added a thin layer of grease, dropped the dough in the cooker, turned it on and wandered off - no problem. I check back after an appropriate time later - not cooked. No worries, the recipe warned it might take another cycle. Reset the rice cooker, wander off again. When I came back, it's still warm dough. Rinse and repeat several times, until I finally had to go to bed, dough still uncooked.
After leaving it sitting in the fridge all day, the next evening I gave up on the rice cooker. Half a dozen cooking attempts had turned the dough it into bread pudding, from its original state, but it wasn't safe to eat. With nothing to lose, I took a last attempt and put it on tin foil in the toaster oven. After turning it on every fifteen minutes for an hour, it was finally done. Blacked, yes, but edible. After all it went through, I took what I could get.
I'm still not sure if the rice cooker wasn't strong enough, or if the electronics were too sophisticated, and calibrated for rice. What I do know is that I'll be getting a proper oven before I'll be using up any more extra bananas in bread.