Forget about your typical, dense banana breads. This bread is moist, light, and full of banana flavor. The best I’ve ever tasted. It will make you go bananas!
When it’s time to taste a dessert I’ve made, I sit down, take a bite and concentrate. I do this as if someone covers my eyes and asks me to “feel” the flavors and texture. As if I am competing in a cooking reality show. With this bread, the first bite took me by surprise. I just liked everything about it. When Erez came back home, I asked him to do the same thing (sit down, concentrate and taste), and he mumbled “mmm… that is just like the banana bread in this bakery”. By “this bakery”, he meant the best bakery in town. And so I was pleased.
I’m always cautious when I write “the best dessert ever”. First, because I don’t know if it’s the best since I haven’t tasted all the banana breads in the world. And second, what tastes like the best to me, might not taste like the best to you. But trust me, that this bread won’t disappoint you. It is flavorful and banana-y. It is moist, fluffy and light. Not dense at all. So let’s see how we make it perfectly.
Let’s go over some of the ingredients:
– Bananas: the riper, the moister, the better. I measure mashed banana in cups rather than by the number of bananas. This is because one mashed bananas can yield anywhere between a third to a half cup. This makes a difference in a recipe with 3-4 bananas. So yes, you might have leftovers from one banana, but its healthy – just eat it 🙂 I give all the leftovers to Erez. He never says no to food. This recipe requires 1.5 cups of mashed bananas. That’s about 3-4 bananas. Don’t puree the bananas, it will make them too watery. Mash them with a fork until there are no big chunks left and the batter is smooth.
– Butter: banana bread or almost any bread goes well with oil due to their naturally dense consistency. Oil makes them fluffy and moist. Some recipes use melted butter, but the bread won’t be as fluffy as with oil. The melted butter is more for taste in this case. The third option (after oil and melted butter) is room temperature/softened butter, used with the creaming method (i.e. beat the butter and sugars first). This method makes a delicate crumb. Softened butter is what I used for this bread because it’s already moist and light, and that’s why it has cake-like texture. To soften the butter, leave it on the counter for at least an hour before you start making the bread.
– Sugar: There is 3/4 cup sugar in the recipe and 2 tablespoons of honey. While some recipes use a double this amount, I find it sweet enough just like this, since the bananas add natural sweetness as well. The honey adds taste and goes well with bananas, but you can omit it if you like. I used more brown sugar than white sugar. Brown sugar adds moisture and taste. You can even use just brown sugar.
– Yogurt: I experimented with sour cream, yogurt and buttermilk for this bread. The buttermilk and yogurt were the winners – but I prefer the yogurt a bit more. Both of them made a lighter bread than the sour cream.
How to make the bread?
Using the creaming method, start by beating the butter and sugars for 3 minutes until light and fluffy. Add honey and beat until combined. Then, add eggs one at a time on medium speed, beating well after each addition, about 20 seconds. Eggs should be room temperature. This helps them to combine better with the other ingredients. If they are cold, just put them in a bowl of warm water for 15 minutes and that will do the work. Next, add the mashed bananas and vanilla extract and beat until combined.
Mix all the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl and then add half to the batter. Mix on low speed just until combined. Add the yogurt and mix just until combined. Add the other half of the dry ingredients and beat or fold by hand until combined. Don’t overmix the batter, it can make a heavy bread rather than light and airy. Always mix just until all the ingredients are combined. Last, add nuts. I love walnuts or pecans. They make the perfect crunch for this bread.
The best or not the best – this bread is darn good!
- 1¾ cups (250 grams or 8.8 ounces) all-purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- A pinch of ground nutmeg (optional)
- ½ cup (1 stick or 115 grams) butter, softened
- ½ cup (100 grams or 3.5 ounces) brown sugar (I prefer dark)
- ¼ cup (50 grams or 1.8 ounces) granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1½ cups mashed bananas (about 3-4 bananas)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup (80 grams) yogurt
- ¾ cup (80 grams) walnuts or pecans, roughly chopped
- Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Butter a 9×5-inch loaf pan.
- In a medium bowl sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Set it aside.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and sugars for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy. Add honey and beat for one more minute. Scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl occasionally. On medium speed, beat in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add mashed bananas and vanilla extract and beat. With the mixer on low speed, add half of the dry ingredients and beat just until combined. Add the yogurt and beat until combined. Add the other half of the dry ingredients and beat slowly or fold by hand just until combined. Do not overmix – the less you mix, the lighter the bread will be. Fold in the nuts.
- Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs. Let the bread cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack, then turn it out from the pan and let it cool completely.
-The bread can be frozen for up to 2 months. Thaw it on the counter, still covered, or overnight in the fridge.