How many ways can there be to make banana bread? I have a few excellent but completely different takes on this quick bread on Good Dinner Mom, namely Hawaiian Banana Bread and Carrot Zucchini Banana Bread. I even tried and failed (for now) at PB & J Banana bread the other day. Those are each amazing in their own way but there is really nothing like perfect Classic Banana Bread.
What makes a banana bread perfect and classic? It needs to be moist on the inside with full-on banana flavor, walnuts are a must for me, though the walnuts can be left out if that’s your preference. The outside crust needs to be tender yet golden brown. This recipe is all those things. The bananas remain kind of chunky so you get good bits of it in your bite. You can see some of the chunky banana smearing throughout the slice shown above.
Ripe bananas are crucial in any banana bread, and you don’t need to wait for your stash to get blackened and soft on their own. Ripening bananas in the oven is a breeze. Just place on parchment or foil lined sheet in a 350F degree oven for 20-25 degrees until fully blackened. Let them cool before handling. The parchment or foil is necessary because the bananas will leak a little sweet juice as the they bake.
See here how I’ve left my bananas pretty chunky as I mix them with the plain yogurt. Yogurt increases the moist texture and adds a perfect zing to the bread.
Let’s talk about your baking pan for a moment. Nonstick bakeware is everywhere and seems to be the end all, only option these days. But the slickness of dark cookware can prevent a bread from rising nice and high before it starts to finish through. To combat the sometimes too-smooth sides of your pan, be sure to grease AND flour before baking. The flour will give your bread something to hold onto as it raises in the oven.
To help minimize the crack in the top of the bread, this recipe is thick enough that I create a little cavern in my batter before baking. Not critical to the recipe and if you truly want no cracking but a baked through bread… it is kind of difficult to achieve and I don’t care all that much. Or maybe more like, I’ve tried to get rid of the crack enough times without success that I’m embracing it. I’ve tried placing a bowl of water next to the bread during baking as advised by other bakers, and that doesn’t work for me either.
See how this bread is baked through just right! And look at that barely crisp edge that helps to prevent butter from oozing over the edge, because it’s gonna melt on your first warm, beautiful slice.
There you have it. Perfect Classic Banana Bread; nothing fancy or crazy added in- which is not to say I don’t like all the fun different renditions of this wonderful best of the best quick breads. Because I’m trying and loving those too. But this just satisfies simply. I hope you enjoy it, let me know what you think and thanks, as always, for stopping by.
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon table salt
- 1 ¼ cups toasted walnuts chopped coarse (about 1 cup)
- 3 very ripe bananas soft, darkly speckled, mashed (about 1 1/2 cups)
- ¼ cup plain yogurt
- 2 large eggs beaten lightly
- 6 tablespoons butter melted and cooled
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom only of regular loaf pan, or grease and flour bottom and sides of nonstick 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan; set aside.
- Combine first five ingredients together in large bowl; set aside.
- Mix mashed bananas, yogurt, eggs, butter, and vanilla with wooden spoon in medium bowl.
- Lightly fold banana mixture into dry ingredients with rubber spatula until just combined and batter looks thick and chunky. Scrape batter into prepared loaf pan. To help minimize a crack that can result in the bread, using a rubber spatula, create a line or well that runs the length of the pan.
- Bake until loaf is golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 50-55 minutes. Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Recipe slightly adapted from America’s Test Kitchen.
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