A quick break from Road Warriors to bring you this timely post:
The Best Banana Bread, otherwise known to me this week as: Hot and Humid Banana Bread.
Because if you are anywhere like Minnesota this August, you, too, have bananas rotting on your countertop.
I am going to share my favorite banana bread recipe, since I have tried many, many, many recipes. Because banana bread is an intensely personal experience, I will tell you what I want out of my banana bread in order of importance:
- Lightness (as in not heavy)
- Sweetness (must be sweet, but not too sweet. Also must not taste like “health food”)
Just so we are clear.
So, if you are looking for whole wheat, hockey puck banana bread, where the butter had been replaced with applesauce, and the all-purpose subbed out for flax seed meal, click the back arrow on your browser now.
This is also not overly fatty banana bread.
But it is also not low fat.
It is happy banana bread.
I share it with you now.
It is from one of my all-time favorite cookbooks: Cook’s Illustrated The Best Recipe. (note the messy stains on the paper.)
I omit the walnuts, but you can do whatever you want.
Here are some Jennie-ism’s:
- Because I never sift my flour, but also because I feel like a should sift my flour, I have devised a little shortcut. I whisk my flour in the container it is stored, and then I use the whisk to fill the measuring cup, then level it with a knife. Then I just bang the whisk on my leg, wipe it with my hand and put it away.
- I am *ahem* known to often be missing key ingredients when embarking on a recipe. In today’s recipe, I was lacking plain yogurt. However, I did have vanilla yogurt. I just used the vanilla and cut the vanilla extract down to 3/4 teaspoon. I also cut the sugar by about 3 tablespoons.
- When I don’t have yogurt, I sub buttermilk
- And since I rarely have buttermilk, I often use the somewhat tried and true sub of adding 1 tablespoon white vinegar to a cup of milk and letting it sit about 10 minutes. Either of which works fine with this recipe. I know, because I have done it. …several times.
- I never grease and then flour a pan. I either just use cooking spray and cross my fingers, or I use this can of… I’ve got to go see what the name of it is… Baker’s Joy. It is cooking spray with flour in it. But to be honest, I don’t really notice that big of difference.
Cook’s Illustrated Banana Bread
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 3/4 cups sugar (can be reduced to 1/2 and still taste fine if you are in to that sort of thing)
- 3/4 t baking soda
- 1/2 t salt
- 3 very ripe bananas
- 1/4 plain yogurt (or vanilla yogurt or buttermilk)
- 2 large eggs
- 6 T butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 1 t vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9 x 5 loaf pan.
Whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt together in a medium bowl.
In a large mixing bowl, mash the bananas well with a fork, then mix in yogurt, eggs, butter and vanilla and mix well with fork.
Switch to a rubber spatula and gently fold dry ingredients into banana mixuture until just combined.
Batter will be think and slightly chunky.
Pour/scrape batter into pan and bake approximately 55 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Don’t overcook! And also be aware that sometimes — just sometimes — there will be a pocket of banana in the batter that will always come out on the toothpick, so be sure to poke around in other areas.
Cool in pan 5 minutes, then remove bread to a wire rack.