Memories and healthy recipes for your dinner table.

Whip Up A Simple Loaf of Banana Bread

I have a banana bread recipe I like very much from the Baker’s Illustrated Cook Book, however; with that said, I get a little antsy and enjoy searching for something new. Something interesting. I have tried many variations of banana bread, yet none of them have have sparked my interest enough to make them again, with the exception on the previous mentioned recipe.

This weekend I had several ripe bananas that needed a purpose. I found a wonderful banana bread recipe on the website. What first interested me, was how simple the recipe is. Some of the best recipes are comprised of only a few ingredients. I was amazed how moist and flavorful the bread was. The family gobbled every last crumb and has already put in a request for more. I like this version too, because texture is more like a pumpkin bread moist and dense rather than the more delicate and flavorful recipe I normally use. The recipes states a yield of two 7 X 3 loaf pans or 4 mini loaf pans. My batter produced three mini load pans. Banana Bread:

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3 large, ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup butter, melted

Grease and flour loaf pans. The original recipe called for two 7 x 3 inch loaf pans, but Stephen prefers four mini loaf pans. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl, whisk together flour, soda, salt and sugar. Mix in the slightly beaten eggs and mashed bananas. Slowly stir in the melted butter just until incorporated. Pour into prepared pans. Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center. If you use the mini loaf pans, adjust to about 30 minutes. Just take a peek and if the top is starting to brown and looks cooked, try the toothpick to test for doneness. Let cool in pans for 5 minutes then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.

Additional Thoughts:
– Banana size varies drastically. If you have really small bananas, add an extra half.
– What is a ripe banana? Almost all brown with some specs of yellow.
– Mash bananas well with a potato masher or fork but leave some small chunks. Don’t go all the way to baby food consistency.
– Do NOT over mix this batter. I would not use an electric mixer – just a few circles of the wrist while incorporating the ingredients.
– Do NOT overbake. The moist, banana-y center should be soft and crumbly.
– Let the bread cool completely before storing. The edges and outside will get sticky and icky if you wrap it or put it in a ziploc too soon.

Dazzledish Variations:
Add white chocolate chips, cranberries, raisins, apricots, coconut or nuts.
This recipe can be made without eggs. Increase the butter to 1/2 cup, add 2 cups flour, omit the salt and add only 1 tsp baking soda.
Replace half the flour with wheat, oats and wheat germ.
Replace some of the sugar with honey.
To make muffins bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

Baker’s Illustrated Banana Bread:

2 cups flour, plus more for dusting the pans
1 1/4 cups walnuts, chopped coarse
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 very ripe bananas, mashed well (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup plain yogurt
2 eggs, beaten lightly
6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp vanilla

Adjust the lower middle position. Heat over to 350 degrees. Grease and flour the bottom and sides of a 9x5x3 loaf pan. Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast until fragrant, 5 to 10 minutes. Set aside to cool. Sprinkle the baking soda over the mashed bananas. Let sit.

Whisk the flour, sugar, salt and walnuts together in a large bowl, set aside. Mix the mashed bananas, yogurt, eggs, butter and vanilla with a wooden spoon in a medium bowl. Lightly fold in the banana mixture in to dry ingredients with a rubber spatula until just combine and the batter looks thick and chunky. Scrape the batter unto prepared loaf pans. Bake until the loaf is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 55 minutes. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temp. Wrap with plastic wrap and store at room temp for 3 days or freeze.

Chocolate bread: Reduce sugar to 10 tbsp and add 2 1/2 oz (a heaping 2 1.2 cup) grated bittersweet chocolate into dry ingredients.

Coconut and Macadamia:  Substitute for walnuts 1/2 cup sweetened coconut and 1 cup chopped macadamia, toasted.

Orange spice: Add 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg, 2 tbsp grated orange zest to dry ingredients.

Dazzledish Variation: Substitute 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the all-purpose flour with flax seed meal. Wheat may by substituted 1/3 cup to a 1:1 ratio.

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