Banana Bread

We had a short visit this past week from Grace and her husband, one last visit before the baby is born. One of the reasons they are great guests is that they will enthusiastically eat whatever I cook. Jonathan once at so much potato leek soup at my house that he had to lie down on the floor for a little while afterward to recover. Come to think of it, that may have been when I decided he was probably a keeper. Since I’ve been tinkering around with a banana bread recipe for a while, I made a loaf of my latest version to see what they thought.

It’s not like there is a shortage of banana bread recipes. It’s just that a lot of them are too something (sweet, greasy, crumbly, dry, cakey, dense) or not enough something (banana-y usually) to suit me. I don’t want cake and I don’t want something that tastes too “health food-y.” I’ve had banana bread that is so buttery that it will leave a grease stain on a napkin. That’s not what I want. So I tinkered.

I kind of think of bananas you want to use to make your banana bread in terms of the story The Velveteen Rabbit, the premise being that if you love your velveteen rabbit enough (in the case of bananas, love = letting them sit on the counter), when it gets old and ugly and looks like garbage, it becomes a REAL rabbit (in the case of bananas, REAL = banana bread). The bananas in this picture are gorgeous compared to what you want. You want them to be brown and soft and ripe to the point when as many of the starches in the banana have turned into sugar and intense banana flavor and they have a face only a baker could love. That’s when a banana really shines. What I was trying to figure out was how much: you want enough of them so that you aren’t needing to add lots of extra sugar to sweeten the bread or more butter to keep it from being dry.

I think I’m going to keep this version. I may still tinker a little for fun; I’d like to try coconut oil instead of butter sometime. But this one gets the “Family Taste-tester’s Seal of Approval”; we ate the whole thing in two days.

Banana Bread

-2 or 3 large very ripe bananas, mashed (enough for 1 1/2 cup coarsely mashed)

– ¾ cup brown sugar

– ½ cup (1 stick) salted butter, melted

-1 egg

-1 teaspoon vanilla extract

-1/2- teaspoon lemon extract

-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

– 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

-1/8 teaspoon ginger

-1 ½ cups all purpose flour (or white whole wheat)

-1 teaspoon baking soda

-1/3 cup ground flax seed

Preheat oven to 350°.

Butter and dust the inside of a loaf 9×5 inch loaf pan with flour, tapping out the extra flour.

In a large mixing bowl, blend the bananas, sugar, butter, and egg until thoroughly combined. Stir in vanilla and lemon extracts. In a separate bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together thoroughly, then fold the flour mixture into the banana mixture. Spoon the batter into the loaf pan and bake until a tester comes out clean, 45- 55 minutes. Cool before removing from the pan.

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10 thoughts on “Banana Bread

  1. i was literally just searching the web for a banana bread recipe! i’m going to try this; sounds great. I’m going to try egg substitute because of S’s allergies. I’ll let you know how that works 🙂

    • If you get results you are happy with from a particular egg substitute, let me know and I’ll add an update. It’s good to have options that have worked for other people when trying to adapt a recipe around allergies or sensitivities.

  2. I have been wanting to use more flax meal in baking–this looks great! I do accumulate bananas in the freezer, so the next time I have enough…

  3. Christine I am trying this one today.. Kevin my son in law asked me to make banana bread every time we are together. I’m like you about sweetness and oil.. One of my favorite recipes is using a half a cup of cut up crystallized ginger, kind of like raisins. Use scissors and flour to cut them in tiny pieces. But I have none of these here so I’m using your idea today. Love reading your blog!! Your really creative and a natural at making the reader want to read more!!!!’. Lee P

    • I’m so glad you are going to try it! It’s a good basic recipe so if you want to add nuts or chocolate chips or coconut flakes or candied ginger, you can do so. If the bread itself is good, it can be a lot of fun to improvise with some extra flavor.

  4. You could also try olive oil. My banana bread recipe calls for 3/4 cup. I am trying your recipe right now. My husband is excited about the flax seeds. Can”t wait to try it!

    • Tell me more about why you prefer olive oil. I’d love your feedback and I’m curious about the results people get from different fats, and while I like the flavor of butter with the banana, I was also thinking about trying coconut oil as a happier option for those with cholesterol concerns, but still a banana complimentary flavor.

  5. Delicious! I used just under 1/2 cup pure maple syrup instead of sugar and a mixture of quinoa and amaranth flour and it turned out fantastic. Great recipe!

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