New favorite banana bread

My mother-in-law’s recipe has been the go-to banana bread forever, but my daughter sent me this recipe a few weeks ago and claimed it was an improvement over Grandma’s. Never one to let a challenge like that go untested, I set about fiddling with it. And she’s right. It’s moister and uses less butter and sugar, relying on the ripe bananas for its sweetness. Plus it has buttermilk in it, one of my favorite ingredients in doughs and batters.

The first modification was converting everything to weights. It standardizes and simplifies the process, in addition to making ingredient shopping much easier. Banana bread recipes usually just say 2-3 or 3-4 or 3-6 (!) bananas, so that was the first thing to weigh. Bananas vary so much in size, quantity is not a reliable measure. Standard cup measurements are given in the recipe below too. Use only very ripe fruit. Once you’ve mashed them weigh the amount specified. Excess can be frozen. Try to have all the ingredients at room temperature by the time you start mixing.

I like to make quick breads in mini loaf pans so there are a couple of extras to share or freeze. This makes about 5½ cups of batter. That will make 4 minis or 1 regular sized loaf. Adjust baking times accordingly.

– Joan, 11 September 2020

New favorite banana bread

  • Servings: 4 minis or 1 large loaf
  • Print

  • 1½ cups (450 grams) very ripe bananas, mashed from 3 large or 5 medium bananas
  • ½ cup (96 grams) light brown sugar
  • ½ cup (96 grams) white sugar
  • ½ cup (113 grams) butter, at room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ cup (125 grams) buttermilk
  • 2 cups (260 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ teaspoons cinnamon, optional
  • 1 cup (125 grams) walnuts, toasted and chopped, optional

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Prepare pans by lining them with parchment cut to fit the bottom and up the sides, leaving an overhang to make removal easier. Grease the exposed ends of the pans.

Mash bananas with a potato masher or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle. Set aside.

Cream sugars with the butter. Beat in eggs, then add vanilla, buttermilk, and bananas, mixing on low just until blended. Stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon (if using) and add to the mixer, beating on low just until incorporated. Fold in walnuts if desired.

Divide batter into 4 equal portions (330-335 grams each) for minis, or pour all of it into a prepared large loaf pan. Bake minis at 350ºF for 30-40 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Large loaves will take 60-70 minutes.

Allow loaves to cool for 5 minutes before peeling off the parchment. Cool completely before packaging.

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