Thursday, November 5, 2009

Banana Bread

Hot loaf of banana bread, fresh from the oven, cooling on the stovetop.

I used to prepare banana bread from my older copy of Better Homes and Gardens cookbook every once in a while. One day I couldn't find that cookbook and turned to my later edition. I've been preparing banana bread from that recipe ever since. Last winter, I was cranking out 2-3 loaves a week and Rodney ate nearly every bite from each one by himself

This is a recipe I don't deviate from and since I've made it so often, have perfected the baking time right down to the half-minute. I've learned a couple things about the recipe which makes it simpler. Those are included in my adaptation below.

A struesel topping is optional, but I've never tried that part. Rodney putting away 3 loaves a week means he doesn't need it. Click the link and you'll go to the original BH&G recipe which includes the struesel topping.

2 c all-purpose flour
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
2 eggs
2 overly ripe, frozen, then thawed bananas
1 c sugar
1/2 c melted butter
1/4 c chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Grease bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of one 9x5x3-inch or two 7-1/2x3-1/2x2-inch loaf pans; set aside.

In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg with a fork. Make a well in center of flour mixture; set aside.

In a medium bowl mix eggs, banana, sugar, and oil with a fork until eggs are beaten and bananas are well mashed. The butter may clump a little as it cools on contact with the bananas, but that is nothing to fret over.

Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir with fork just until moistened (batter should be lumpy and floury parts will be evident. Don't feel the need to continue stirring as it will only make your loaf hard as a brick. Trust me). Fold in nuts.

Spoon/pour batter into prepared pan(s).

Bake for 55 to 60 minutes for 9x5x3-inch pan or 40 to 45 minutes for 7-1/2x3-1/2x2-inch pans or until a wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean (if necessary, cover loosely with foil the last 15 minutes of baking to prevent overbrowning -- I've never done this).

  • Cool in pan on a cold stovetop burner or wire rack for 10 minutes and then cut a couple slices for immediate consumption. The top crust will be super crusty and uber-delicious while the interior is warm, butter-ready and moist! Cool completely and cover with plastic wrap.
  • Or if it's late night, cool for 10 minutes and simply place the loaf and baking dish in the microwave overnight to cool completely. It won't get dusty or funky and any fruit flies you may have won't be able to get to it. In the morning, have some for breakfast and cover what's left in the dish with plastic wrap.
  • Or you can let cool for 10 minutes, remove from pan, cool completely on wire rack, and wrap it for serving later.
Personally, I prefer the cooling methods in order they were presented.


At this time, I don't have a good cost estimate, except for what I'm willing to guess, which is $4-5 a loaf.

We never buy bananas specifically to bake bread. I get them for Rodney to eat; what he doesn't consume by the time they are partially or completely black go into the freezer. When I'm ready to bake a loaf of bread, I let two bananas thaw at room temperature about an hour while the eggs are coming to room temperature and the oven is preheating.

One thing I have learned is that the recipe cannot be doubled exactly as it's written (ie, multiplying everything by 2). The baking powder and/or soda is designed for one and would have to be adjusted. I learned that first-hand once but haven't tried it since.