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Banana Bread {Best Ever}

Fresh Banana Bread

Fresh Banana Bread

Does your family go nuts over banana bread like mine does? My own family, my sisters’ families, my extended family all devour homemade banana bread.  I started testing banana bread recipes so that I would have a go-to, never fail banana bread recipe. I tried church cookbook recipes and found a recipe that was a keeper for a while. Yet it wasn’t always consistent.

That eventually annoyed me so I went back to the drawing board and by then the internet was invented. I found family recipes all over that claimed their grandma or mother had the best banana bread recipe. Apparently nobody’s mom made bad banana bread! I had a lot to choose from! The one that finally won out was a combination of one I found online and changes I made. Unfortunately I didn’t keep track of where I found my final inspiration, and by now the site may not exist anyway. We’re talking early days of the internet. Before there were food blogs. Remember when?

A good recipe definitely is the first step to perfect banana bread. But there are many other steps I follow to ensure it is the same every time.  I start by making sure the bananas are very brown all over, which means they have ripened and the sugar content is at a maximum. Then I have a particular style of potato masher that works very well for mashing the bananas. I dislike using my favorite Cuisinart food processor as it can’t mix the entire recipe. That would make the finished loaf of bread too tough. So dirtying the food processor just to mash bananas doesn’t happen in my kitchen. I have an arm and a masher. And I hate washing extra dishes.

Use Dark Bananas

Use Dark Bananas

Another important step in making the bread is to mix all of the wet ingredients together until well blended before adding the dry ingredients. Then when I add the dry ingredients, I don’t have to stir it as much to get it blended and the gluten doesn’t set up and toughen the bread. I’m not sure how that happens, I’ve just heard it mentioned by tv chefs. We’ll go with that. We want this bread to be almost crumbly when cut up and eaten. Soft and crumbly.

I also limit myself to mixing one loaf at a time to prevent having to stir the mixture too long to get it well mixed. If I want two loaves, I must mix them separately. It doesn’t take that much longer and is just one of my silly rules. But I have to admit in a rush I will double the recipe and put up with the loaf being a bit more firm. Here I am actually making a double batch because I have many bananas to use and don’t want to make so many single batches today.

Mashed Bananas

Mashed Bananas

A few years ago a friend sent me a stack of pans he’d bought from a kitchen store that was going out of business. The narrow, long pans are perfect for quick breads. My pan measures 12″x3 1/2″ on the bottom, or 13″ x 4 1/2″ on the top. Amazon has something similar here. I found that my banana bread recipe, for one loaf, fit in the pan and produced a nice sized loaf. The inside bakes to a uniform consistency and the outside doesn’t have to get very dark waiting for the toothpick to test dry on the inside. Longer and narrow worked better for my “perfect” banana bread!

Ready to Bake

Ready to Bake

My directions originally said to bake the loaf for 1 hour, 20 minutes and that was probably the timing for a loaf in a traditional, wider and shorter pan. I find exactly an hour in the oven is perfect for these longer pans. I give the inside bottoms of the pans a thorough shot of cooking spray and don’t bother with the sides. I can always run a knife down the sides to loosen the loaf after baking.

Freshly Baked Banana Bread

Freshly Baked Banana Bread

I let the hot loaf cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then run my knife around the sides and tip it out onto a wire rack. I let the loaves set sideways to prevent the bottoms from getting marks. That’s just another strange thing I do, I’m not even sure if it’s necessary! I don’t remember if it sunk into the rack one time and so I changed to setting them on their sides, but it works so I just continue to do it. I guess by this point the work is done, I’m not going to mess it up unnecessarily!

Banana Bread

Banana Bread

The banana bread takes a good 30 minutes to cool on the rack after which I cut the loaves in half and wrap them in foil to freeze. I leave one half loaf out and store it on waxed paper in a Ziploc shoebox-sized container. It’s super easy to lift the loaf out holding onto the sides of the waxed paper, cut a piece or two, then lift it back into the shoe box. You could also use parchment paper or plastic wrap; waxed paper is just what I got used to using.

Banana Bread Storage

Banana Bread Storage

My banana bread has no spices since I love the rich flavor of the bananas and don’t like it muddled with cinnamon or other spices. Just a personal choice, you could add spices if you prefer. It probably won’t disturb the moisture or finished product. I’m also not a fan of nuts in my bread so this recipe has none. Again, it is an option you might want to try.

Using buttermilk is important for the moistness of the banana bread. If you don’t have it at hand there are ways to substitute milk and vinegar to make it buttermilk-like. Google it! I always have it in my fridge, my P.S. keeps us stocked because he makes his pancakes from scratch and we use it in many other recipes. I’ve heard you can freeze buttermilk so it would be handier, I’ve just never tried it. Again, Google it if you’re interested!

Banana Bread {Best Ever}

1 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2 bananas
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 °F Grease bottom of a 12″ x 3 1/2″ loaf pan.

Stir together flour, sugar, soda and salt in one bowl.

Mash bananas then combine eggs, oil, buttermilk and vanilla. Add flour mixture and stir just until combined.

Pour into greased pan and bake for 1 hour or until toothpick tests done.

Let cool in pan for 10 minutes then turn out onto a rack and cool completely. Store in a covered container at room temperature.Tiara Logo

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2 thoughts on “Banana Bread {Best Ever}

  1. I’m pleased that you like it, Martin! It has a strong banana flavor if you use very ripe (brown) bananas. Adding apples and cinnamon sounds like a flavorful variation, however. I’ve added some drained crushed pineapple myself for a change up. Thanks for the idea!

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  2. Banana bread is an excellent recipe. Only slightly modified it as I thought it needed more bananas. Only I didn’t have any so added two pureed apples and cinnamon. Very moist and crumbly cake. This now replaces my usual recipe!

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