Banana’s are very common fruits, and it’s not just because they are delicious to consume, but because they are also the key ingredient in making Banana bread, a very popular snack that almost everyone I know likes.
Whilst some try to over-complicate the process, banana bread is easy to make. You can make it anytime and anywhere with just a mixer/fork and a loaf pan or muffin tin.
If you have some freckly and soft bananas lying around, here’s a simple recipe that won’t take more than 10 minutes of your time to put together. But before that, here are some tips to help you make the most of this recipe.
Banana Bread Recipe Tips
1. Use only ripe bananas: In fact, you should use the ripest bananas you can find. The most glaring sign that a piece of banana is ripe enough for this recipe is freckles on its skin.
When your bananas have ripened to the point where they are too soft to enjoy eating, that’s when they’ll give your bread a rich and strong flavor. The browner the skin, the better your banana bread.
2. Mashing bananas can be done in two ways: Most people would prefer to mash their bananas in either of two ways – completely smooth or chunky. If you want them smooth, mash them in a separate bowl and mix into the batter.
If you want to have chunks of banana in your bread, you may prefer the simplicity of using one bowl and mashing the bananas into the batter directly.
Why This Recipe Is So Simple
The recipe below is consistent with that found in most cookbooks published in the last few years save for a few differences, so you can absolutely trust that you’ll have the perfect banana bread after following the instructions in this recipe.
That said, this recipe is so simple because the ingredients it requires are ingredients available in most pantries. These ingredients are all-purpose white flour, butter, baking soda, milk, eggs, and granulated sugar.
Also, this is a forgiving recipe you can divide the amount of flour you need into two parts, take out one part, and replace it with whole wheat or any whole grain flour you prefer.
Other ingredients you can use in place of the recommended ones are: oil or margarine instead of butter and brown sugar in place of white. If you do decide to use brown sugar, bear in mind that your bread will be more moist and denser as a result of your choice.
The liquid can be water, buttermilk, almond milk, or kefir. You may choose to leave out the eggs as well. I don’t think that would have much of an impact on how your bread turns out, but I’ve never omitted the eggs.
The only ingredient that is absolutely necessary while making banana bread with this recipe is baking soda. Any other ingredient might be missing and you’d still have a tasty snackable loaf so long as only one ingredient is unavailable.
Choosing Between a Mixer and a Fork
You probably already know that this recipe is designed to provide you with a no-fuss cooking experience. So when it comes to choosing between a mixer and a fork, your preference is all that matters.
If you prefer hand mixers, use one. If you prefer stand mixers, use one. Also, if you prefer using your hand and mixing the ingredients in a bowl, then you should use a fork. Regardless of the method you choose, you won’t be saving any clean bowls. You’ll still have one bowl to wash after you’re done cooking.
If using a mixer, there are two ways you can go about preparing the butter. You can leave it softened and cream it with the sugar or melt it and follow the rest of the instructions in the recipe. The former makes lighter banana bread that looks more like a cake, while following the latter method will result in less crumbly and denser banana bread.
Making Banana Bread: The Recipe
This recipe produces 1 (8-inch) loaf, easily multiplied
Unsalted butter (8 tablespoons)
1/4 cup milk
3 very ripe bananas (medium)
Baking soda (1 teaspoon)
Optional ingredient: chocolate chips or 1/2 cup chopped nuts
Granulated sugar (1 cup)
2 large eggs
Vanilla extract (1 teaspoon)
All-purpose flour (2 cups)
Salt (1/4 teaspoon)
Loaf pan (8×5-inch)
Fork or whisk for hand mixing
Hand or stand mixer if you prefer not to use your hand
1. Oven heating and pan preparation: The first step is to get your oven’s temperature to 350°F by arranging a rack in the bottom third of the oven and heating it to the desired temperature. This is also the right time to toast your nuts if you’re going to use nuts. Toast them for 10 minutes.
Then prepare the pan by lining it with parchment paper. The paper is purposely large so the rest of it can hang over the long sides of the loaf pan and form slings.
After lining the parchment paper, take the cooking spray and spray the inside of the loaf pan.
2. Melt the butter: The next step is to melt the butter. You can either use a stovetop or a microwave to melt it. It’s crucial to melt it with low heat if using a stovetop. As explained earlier, you can soften the butter and cream it with sugar instead if you want that cake look.
3. Mix the butter with sugar: If using softened butter, cream it with the sugar in a stand or hand mixer until it becomes fluffy. If using melted butter, grab your fork and mix the melted butter and sugar thoroughly in a large bowl.
4. Beat the eggsand add the milk and vanilla: Crack the two large eggs and empty the contents into the bowl, then beat the raw egg until it’s completely smooth. Add the milk and vanilla extract to the smooth egg mixture and whisk them together.
5. Mash the bananas: Mash the bananas into the batter using a dinner fork or whisk after peeling them. There’s no specific smoothness level to aim for. You can mash them smoothly or leave chunks of banana in the batter.
If you’re aiming for completely smooth banana bread, you should get an extra bowl and mash the bananas in it until it’s as smooth as possible. Then add it to the batter and whisk.
6. Flour, baking soda, and salt time: Add the specified amount of each of these ingredients as stated above to the batter. Then grab a spatula and stir the mixture until there’s no speck of dry flour left in the batter.
7. Add the nuts and chocolates: These are optional, but if you’ve opted to use them, now is the time to scatter them over the batter. Once that’s done, fold them in gently.
8. Put the batter in the pan: Transfer the batter from the bowl to the pan using a spatula. The spatula can be used to remove any batter stuck to the bowl to ensure nothing is left over. As soon as this is done, smoothen the batter at the top using the spatula.
9. Bake for up to 65 minutes: All the hard work is done. Now you just need to bake the batter and wait for at least 50 minutes. The amount of sugar and moisture in your batter will affect your baking time, but 50 minutes is the minimum amount of time to wait before you begin checking to see if it’s ready.
The sign you should look for is light brown color, like that of caramel, at the top of the banana bread. When the top turns brown, do a little test by inserting a cake tester or toothpick in the middle of the bread. If it comes out clean, then go to the next step. Otherwise, keep checking in 5-minute intervals.
10. Let it cool: Give the loaf ten minutes of cooling time on a wire cooling rack after retrieving it from the oven. If you skip this step, you’ll find it hard to remove the loaf from the pan and you might break it in the process because it hasn’t solidified yet.
11. Remove the loaf from the pan: You’ll need to let it cool for another 10 minutes after removing it from the pan. Remember the slings formed from the excess parchment paper hanging over the sides? Hold the slings and take the loaf out of the pan, then place it on a cooling rack and let it sit for 10 minutes.
12. There really is no 12th step. Just slice, serve, and eat! If there are any leftovers, you can store them in a freezer for up to 3 months, otherwise they’ll only last several days at room temperature.
For both options, use a plastic wrap for storage, and use an additional aluminium foil if you’re going to store leftovers in a freezer.
Per serving, based on 12 servings. (% daily value)