How To Make Banana Bread

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I don’t know when it started, but some food fashion slaves have decided that the dish isn’t done until you’ve made three trips to the thesaurus to name it. Pan-seared … demi-glace … galette of foie gras …ballottine en papillote … truffled amuse bouche … Assiette of local Rabbit with a light mustard & girolle sauceCannon of English Lamb stuffed with Wild Woodland Mushrooms and Truffles, imprisoned in a pastry cage with a Sauce of Wild Rowan Berries. (No kidding, go follow those links.)

Call me old fashioned — on this site, who’d have guessed? — but I favor simple descriptions. Like “yeast breads” are breads made with yeast, and “quick breads” are breads that can be made quickly. (Usually with baking soda or baking powder.) No reference books needed to know what you’re getting.

As I was considering my several recent rounds of yeast breads, it was time for a quick bread. And I went with banana bread. Bread made with … wait for it … bananas. I know, crazy isn’t it?

Ingredients


1¾ cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup mashed ripe banana (2-3 medium bananas)
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons milk
2 eggs
½ cup chopped walnuts

Directions

Mixing

Combine one cup of the flour, plus the sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.



Mix until well combined. If you’re using the bread hook on your mixer, make sure to scrape down the sides, or the bottom won’t get mixed very well.

This bread is a great way to use up bananas that have gone a bit past ripe. They’re too soft for anything else, and very sweet. And if you didn’t really want the bread right away, wrap in plastic wrap and aluminum foil and freeze it. If you’re using fresh bananas, mash them up a bit before adding to the dry ingredients.

Add the bananas and mix until the batter is fairly smooth, but don’t worry if there are some lumps. We’ll take care of that in a second.

Melt the butter. Add the butter and vanilla and mix.


Add the milk and beat on high speed for two minutes.

Yes, you could probably just add all the wet ingredients at once and mix. But using the stand mixer, it’s just as easy to do one and hit the switch while I measure out the next.

Add the egg and the remaining flour and mix on low speed one last time.


Final assembly

Pre-heat the oven to 350° while assembling everything.

As far as I’m concerned, the chopped walnuts are not optional. I won’t think you’re a bad person if you don’t use them … I just won’t like your bread.

If you got whole walnuts, chop them into bite-size pieces, but don’t mince them very fine. You want these to be chunky.

Grease and flour a loaf pan. (Follow that link for directions.)

Do this before stirring the nuts into the batter so they don’t all sink while you’re working.

Add the chopped nuts and stir gently. You don’t want to crush the walnuts.

Pour the batter into the loaf pan. Make sure you scrape out the bowl, unless you’ve got kids standing by ready to lick. Gandma hated waste.

Top the loaf with a generous tablespoon of raw sugar.

Press some un-chopped nuts into the top of the loaf.

Baking

Bake at 350° for up to an hour. Start checking at 45 minutes to see if it’s still liquid in the center. Use a sharp knife, so if you hit a nut you go through it instead of pushing it down and creating a huge hole in the middle of the bread.

If there’s batter on the knife when you pull it out (first picture) it’s not done. Put it back in and check again in five or ten minutes. When the knife comes out clean (second picture) it’s done.

The bread should have pulled away from the pan, but run the knife around the edges just to make sure. Turn the pan over and catch the bread in your other hand.

I used a clean dish towel to catch it because the bread was still pretty hot. Place the bread on a board to cool. Don’t use a wire rack, or you’ll get deep ridges in the bread, and it will stick to the rack.

Slice with a serrated knife, so you can go through the nuts easily.

Serve warm with plenty of real butter.

And that’s it.

Oh, and speaking of pretentious menus … check out the greatest menu ever.

Comments

  1. Zanthera Degore says:

    I so agree banana bread has to have walnuts.

    That and that is a peeve of mine, pretentious menus. Nothing with words you don’t understand sounds tasty.

  2. Kristin @ Going Country says:

    Okay, so I had a banana bread recipe that I used for years, and then I moved here and the MiL told me she had a recipe that she really liked that actually mixed the wet stuff all up in a blender and wasn’t quite as sweet as some other recipes. Well, of course, I thought MY recipe was better. But it turned out hers was. And easier.

    I hate it when she’s right.

  3. Kristin @ SolarFamilyFarm says:

    The dough hook. I would have used the beater attachment. Interesting. Just made banana nut muffins myself yesterday. Nice choice, Drew!

    I see the above commenter still has a great name!

  4. Zanthera, how much does it bug you when people tell you to leave out the nuts “in case someone doesn’t like them”? I’m always like, “Well how about those of us who don’t like it without them?”

    Kristin, do you think it was the different ingredients, or did the blender actually add something?

    Kristin, the beater probably would have worked better for a thin batter like this. I don’t actually know why I used the dough hook.

  5. Not to touch a touchy subject, ha, but “don’t put nuts in, in case someone doesn’t like them” sounds way too much like “do away with In God We Trust” in case someONE doesn’t like it! Sorry, had to go there.
    I Love Nuts!

  6. Kristin @ Going Country says:

    There were some different ingredients, like she adds part whole wheat flour to it for a bit more flavor, and there’s less sugar than most recipes, I think. I don’t know if the blender adds a lot other than it gets the wet stuff really smooth, really fast.

  7. CraftyMamaMia says:

    Oh YUMMY! I will definitely be making this after I buy walnuts.

    • ohhhh,,, believe in me, i will be too….i love banana bread and i have bananas ready to be cooked crafty

  8. Last time I made banana bread, i had some leftover sugared pecans. Oh. my. goodness. CRAZYGOOD! (I used those along with the walnuts because as far as I’m concerned, one can never be too nutty.)

  9. Mmmm, banana bread. That’s the only thing my girlfriend knows how to bake. Good times.

  10. onlinepastrychef says:

    I REALLY wish I liked banana bread, but unfortunately, I’m just not a fan of the banana. Having said that, I’m pretty sure I would be able to force myself to eat a piece of this smeared with a Very Lot of cream cheese! This looks fantastic, Drew:) I love how you finished it w/the raw sugar and nuts–bet it made the top seriously crunchy/caramelly good!

    Have you ever tried to make this w/roasted bananas. Just throw whole, unpeeled bananas in the oven on a tray with a lip (sometimes they leak) at 350F until dark brown all over, about 30 minutes. Let cool, slice them open and squeeze out the roasted banana like you would a tube of toothpaste. The roasting brings out the sweetness, and it’s a nice trick to use if your bananas aren’t at prime banana bread stage, yet.

    Those pretentious menus cracked me up–loved the “fake” one on eGullet especially!

  11. Stephanie says:

    The "classic" grandma recipe. My grandma also made zucchini bread, due to having way too much zucchini & walnuts (my family owns a ranch that grows walnuts). When I was in college she would send me loaves of her bread all of the time. And I would hide it from my roommate. :)

  12. Jenni, there was a fake one?

    Stephanie, my mother grew zucchini, so I had a lot of zucchini bread growing up. It’s good, but I prefer the banana.

  13. Dinneen | Eat Without Guilt says:

    I love banana bread!! When I lived in France, I used to make it all the time. I guess because it reminded me of home.

    It's a great way to use up old bananas and I love having something tasty in the morning and a change from cereal or whole wheat toast & peanut butter (my usual). But the thing about banana bread is it can be eaten anytime: morning, as a snack, or even for dessert!

    Though I'm not at all against using regular flour, I'd be curious to see if using even partially whole wheat flour would work. Just a way to keep me fuller, longer.

    I am going to make some this weekend. Thank you (and hubby will thank you too…he loves banana bread!)

  14. Kristin, a few comments back, said her mother-in-law used to use part wheat flour. Sounds reasonable to me.

  15. Mmm. Banana bread. I have a loaf chilling in the freezer at the moment, I think it is time to pull it out and thaw it! I hate to be that guy, but I’m the ONE that you leave the nuts out for. Sorry.

    However, I forgive you for your nutty transgression, and would like to share the banana bread recipe that I use…it is similar to yours, except it also has a cream cheese and coconut concoction in it….sooooooo yummy. You should definitely try it: http://www.razzledazzlerecipes.com/quick-bread-recipes/island-banana-bread.htm

    And I am definitely going to try roasting bananas; I’m an instant gratification kind of girl, I don’t want to wait for my bananas to get gooey before I can make my bread!

    PS-that’s not my recipe, and I’m not claiming it or anything, it’s just the one I use :)

  16. Well, I’m the one you have to leave out the coconut for, so I guess we’re even.

  17. I love banana bread, and to me part of the fun of making it is to squish the bananas in my bare hands. I like to get my hands into my cooking whenever I can. =)

  18. Amy, maybe I’ll let the girls do that next time. In fact yes, that’s exactly what I’m going to do.

  19. StefRobrts says:

    I’m so glad I found your blog, I love the commonsense, down to earth recipes!

    I made the banana bread this morning. I liked using the mixer, but the dough hook didn’t work well for me, at the end there was a lot in the bottom of the bowl I had to mix in by hand. I think I’ll go with the regular paddle next time. Other than that, it came out wonderful! So delicious! Thanks!

  20. Stef, I’ll probably do the paddle next time, too. The hook is really only good for thick bread dough, not thin batters like this.

  21. Well, Drew, I finally got around to making the banana bread! It is quite good, thank you. However, to reiterate what's already been said, the paddle is definitely a must on your mixer. Also, the only nut I had in the house was some chopped pecans left over from my German Chocolate cake last week, so I used them. Very good! I'm emailing you a picture so that you can see my loaf plus what I do with your recipes! (:D

  22. Barb, hold off on the pictures for a day or two. My web host broke my email account, and I haven't been getting mail for two days.

  23. Daisy Blue says:

    Hey, I'm an Indian who loves experimenting the American baking.
    Your banana bread recipe was a very easy step by step one that I got a wonderful one in the 1st attempt :)

  24. Daisy, I love hearing when things work the first time.

  25. triple thick Fresh Cream sounds so good right now, but with no walnuts in the bread.

  26. Candy Clarke says:

    GREAT recipe! Was actualy trying to locate another friend’s recipe online and stumbled on yours. Really good I must say. My Grandy always used buttermilk in her banana bread, it was a leap to do it without but it was worth it. I added a peanutbutter chip crumble to my bread instead of the nuts. Delish!

    Post making this I was still in the mood to bake so I substituted the banana’s for applesauce and a grated apple with a dash of cinnamon. I added a crumble to the top and WOW!! A keeper!

    Thank you for posting this recipe; it is in my favorites and will be used again for sure!

Trackbacks

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  3. […] had plenty of banana bread in my day. But it always seems like more of a cold weather food. Go figure, a tropical fruit that […]

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