Banana Bread is a great choice for a beginning baker. It belongs in the category of “quick” bread and is very simple to bake. Quick bread utilizes baking powder or soda for a leavening agent instead of yeast or sourdough starter. Another perk is that it uses bananas that are overripe and otherwise might be headed for the compost pile. You need to look no further for a recipe for the ultimate recipe for banana bread. I have used this recipe for years and anyone who tastes a slice raves over its deliciousness. It’s a go-to snack and breakfast food at our house. There are four options for gluten-free diets that are tried and true making this the ultimate banana bread recipe. It is moist and flavorful…adding the spread just makes it even better!
This recipe can be made in any size loaf pan or even muffin tins for individual mini cakes. The smaller the baking pan the less baking time and the loaves generally bake through to the center in smaller loaf pans more evenly than they do if you opt for large loaf pans, eliminating a gooey or half-baked centers. This recipe will make 9 small loaves in a 5.75″ x 3″ loaf pan. Don’t worry about what you will do with 9 loaves!! They make marvelous gifts for neighbors and friends and freeze well for up to 3 months. Banana bread is also a great option for bake sales and to offer at your local Farmer’s Market. Pictured here is a batch I made in miniature pans for favors at a recent wedding of a friend.
Gluten-free all-purpose baking flour blend can be substituted cup for cup in this recipe with excellent results. I’ve substituted finely ground brown rice flour cup for cup to adapt this recipe for gluten-free diets with good results with a slightly different texture.
Using whole wheat flour will make the bread denser but also can be substituted in part or in whole with good results. If using all whole wheat flour reduce the amount by 1/4 cup. 2 cups unbleached flour and 1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour is a good proportion.
Always use over-ripe bananas in this recipe. Many times you can find them bagged at deeply discounted prices at your grocery store. When you find bargains on over-ripe bananas grab them up. Take them home and peel 6 bananas, add to a freezer bag, seal tightly, label and freeze. When you are ready to make up this recipe, simply grab your frozen bag of bananas and allow to thaw (takes about 3 hours) and use them in your recipe. This banana bread will have the sweetest flavor if VERY overripe bananas are used.
Pecans are optional. English walnuts also are a delicious substitute.
It is not necessary to refrigerate loaves that will be consumed within a few days. Refrigerating the loaves mellows and enriches the flavor and makes them extra moist. Extra loaves should be wrapped well and frozen. Cool loaves completely before wrapping and storing.
Banana Bread Quick & Easy Method
All the wet ingredients go directly into a large capacity high-speed blender for a quick and easy mix. All the dry ingredients are mixed together in a large mixing bowl with a whisk. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and proceed as directed in the recipe.
Old-Fashioned Bowl & Spoon Method
Don’t despair if you don’t have a blender or other fancy kitchen equipment–this can still be done the old-fashioned way with a mixing bowl and spoon and fork. Mash the bananas well with a potato masher or fork, beat the eggs into the mashed bananas, continue to measure and add all the other wet ingredients to the measured dry ingredients, stirring with a wooden spoon to combine thoroughly.
Now let’s start baking. Start by preheating the oven to 325 degrees.
Place these ingredients in a large mixing bowl:
- 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (like King Arthur brand)
- 3 cups organic sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
Whisk together until all ingredients are combined.
Place these ingredients in a high-speed 6 cup capacity blender:
- 1 1/3 cup sunflower oil (may substitute with any vegetable oil)
- 1 cup sour cream (may substitute with whole fat buttermilk)
- 4 large eggs
- 6 peeled bananas, over-ripe
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Mix on medium speed until all ingredients are smooth.
Pour wet ingredients from the blender into the bowl with dry ingredients. Stir with a heavy wooden spoon to combine just until all ingredients are wet and smooth. Do not overmix.
Add in (optional)
- 2 cups coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts
Prepare the pans by greasing lightly or lining all sides with parchment paper. Divide batter into loaf pans or muffin tins. Fill pans or tins only 2/3 full. Do not overfill as the bread rises and will spill over the top.
Optional Sugar Crust: After the batter is in pans, sprinkle tops with turbinado sugar. During baking, this will form a sugar crust on top of the loaf adding a sweet crunchy texture on the top.
[What is Turbinado sugar? Turbinado sugar is partially refined cane sugar that has large crystals and is light brown in color]
Bake in a preheated oven for 40 minutes or until wooden pick inserted into the center comes out clean. Shorten baking time for smaller pans or if using muffin tins. Loaves can take up to 60 minutes for larger loaf pans. Remove from the oven and cool in pans for 15 minutes before turning out onto cooling racks.
This recipe will make about 2-3 larger loaves or 9 small loaves (pan size 5.75 x 3 in.). Tiny gift size (pan size 4.25 x 2.5 in.) yields 27 loaves. These loaves bake more evenly and you will have no gooey center using the smaller loaf pans.
Honey Cream Cheese Spread
In a small bowl, beat vigorously until smooth:
- 3 Tablespoons honey
- 3 Tablespoons soft butter
- 4 Tablespoons cream cheese
Keep refrigerated and spread thickly on bread slices.