A delicious snack you can whip up in a pinch with just a few household staples, banana bread is a sweet, moist treat that’s enjoyed by all ages.
It can be more like cake than bread in consistency, so it has universal appeal, especially with chocolate.
Next time you spot that sunshine yellow skin turning brown, don’t despair about another wasted bunch.
The riper a banana is, the more delightful the bread will turn out, although there is a limit. Don’t go baking with totally rotten fruit, please.
This recipe doesn’t call for baking soda because the self raising flour takes its place and elicits the necessary rising. Needless to say, you’re never going to throw away your so-called overripe bananas again.
Not only will you get a recipe for a simply delightful baking soda free banana bread, but I’ll also impart some wisdom on how best to store it, variations on the recipe and a bunch of tips and tricks to guarantee your success.
- 3-4 medium bananas, the riper the better (don’t worry if they’re brown, or even a little mushy, it’ll still make for a delicious banana bread. It’s what I do every time I neglect mine!)
- 1 egg (you can leave this out if you don’t eat eggs, as it won’t make a huge difference, it just adds to the moistness)
- 60g of butter or margarine (vegan spreads are fine!)
- 215g of sugar (either white, brown, caster, or granulated - this recipe is very forgiving!)
- 250g of self raising flour
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- Cinnamon and nutmeg to taste (I’d recommend a good pinch of each)
You will need
- One large mixing bowl
- A wooden spoon or electric mixer
- (8x4 inch loaf tin)
Possible Add Ins
Depending on your personal preference, or if this is a gift, thinking about what the recipient would like, you might want to consider tossing in some extras to spice things up a bit.
Walnuts, chopped finely, is always a hit among those who like a bit of crunch, provided they aren’t allergic, whilst anyone with a sweet tooth might appreciate a good handful of chocolate chips.
Don’t have chocolate chips in your pantry? What about cocoa powder! Turn the whole batter into a chocolatey treat, and for a doubly indulgent experience, why not do both?!
If you’re feeling decadent, why not incorporate a swirl of salted caramel (store bought is absolutely fine, unless you’re already well versed in heating sugar at home) as this can cut through the sweetness to enhance the flavor.
Those on the keto diet or looking to incorporate more protein in their life, especially if you’re treating yourself to a helping for breakfast, might benefit from adding in some vanilla protein powder to encourage bulking up.
Step By Step Instructions
- Preheat your oven to 180 degrees - wait until things are nice and toasty in there or you won’t get the lovely crisp top you deserve!
- Prepare your loaf tin (preferably 8x4 inches) by lightly greasing, or use greaseproof paper to line.
- Take a large mixing bowl and blend your butter and sugar together, either by hand or with an electric mixer if you want to speed things up a bit.
- Add your egg and beat it in thoroughly, then toss in those bananas and mix until you can’t see any large lumps remaining.
- Sieve in your flour and add the salt, mixing until everything is just about combined and no more!
- If you’re going to add in extras, this is the time. Put in HALF of your intended walnuts/chocolate chips/raisins/hazelnuts etcetera now, and then mix, again, until just combined.
- Pour into your loaf tin, then add in the other half of your extra ingredients. Trust me, this will ensure a good distribution throughout the whole loaf, so every bite is filled with bonus deliciousness!
- Bake for around 45 minutes to an hour, being sure to keep a close eye on it - should you notice any early browning, turn the heat down a little. When ready, the exterior should be crisp and solid to the touch, with a perfectly soft and chewy center.
- Leave to cool completely and then slice and serve it up! Either warmed in the microwave for 30 seconds or as is, this tastes absolutely delicious.
Whilst you might be tempted to pop your load in the fridge, if it’s not going in your mouth straight away, the ideal storage location for your banana bread is out on the counter, on a plate and covered in plastic wrap or in a sealed container.
It’ll be safe there for around four days, at which point the texture might begin to change a bit, drying out a little, though it’s fine to eat for up to a week. Blast it in the microwave for a few seconds and some of that original moistness may return.
However, if at any point you begin to notice any discoloration or mould, it’s evident that it’s no longer appropriate for consumption and you ought to say your final farewell to those bananas you saved from the brink of death.
Should you wish to have banana bread on hand indefinitely, pop it in an airtight container and store it in your freezer, where it will basically keep forever. I’d suggest enjoying it within three months though, after which point it succumbs to freezer burn.
If you only have a couple of slices left, the best way to freeze successfully is by wrapping them individually in aluminum foil before popping them in a container, so they don’t stick together and will be somewhat protected from the dreaded burn.
For added retention of that deliciously moist center, I’d advise also placing the wrapped slices or remaining loaf in a sandwich bag and squeezing as much air as you can out of it, before popping it into your chosen container
Defrosting is easy - just pop it on the counter for a few hours, come back and you’ll be good to go, though if it’s only a couple of slices it might take less time, if you’re lucky. Single slices can be encouraged with a zap in the microwave or toaster!
Variations, Tips, and Tricks
If you’re a banana bread veteran, bored of the standard recipes in your arsenal, or you’d like advice on how to perfect your recipe, why not consider some of the following adaptations to customize your experience.
Sweeten The Deal
A lot of recipes for banana bread floating around the net or in classic cookbooks will call for white sugar, or possibly a blend with dark or light brown sugar. Choosing to go full brown sugar will lead to a darker loaf, exuding some molasses flavor.
Alternatively, you could choose to get your sweetness from other substances, for instance maple syrup or honey, which also serve to increase the moistness of the bread. For every one cup of brown sugar, take a half cup of these luscious liquids.
If you find that your nuts or chocolate chips seem to drift towards the bottom of the loaf, even if you follow our top tip for distribution, try coating them in a tiny pinch of flour before you pop them into your mixture, and it might solve your problem.
We’ve already established that the key to a super-tasty loaf is super-ripe bananas, but how else can you ensure this is the case?
Well, the key ingredient in a moist banana bread is fat, which can come from several sources.
Most recipes will suggest butter, and maybe an egg, but you could also use…
- Olive oil
- Vegetable oil
- Coconut oil
- Sour cream
Other tips for a decadent banana bread include being sure not to overmix the batter or overbake the loaf, measuring your ingredients as accurately as possible and sieving your flour to prevent lumps.
Emergency Ripening Methods
Sometimes, out of nowhere, a sudden craving for banana bread urges.
But alas, all of your bananas are far from ripe, and there’s no way to get what you want. Unless…
Solution One: Oven
If absolutely nothing is going to stand between you and the loaf of your life, the answer lies in your trusty oven. Simply preheat that bad boy to 148 degrees and cook your bananas, skins and all, on a baking sheet, until they’ve gone black.
It should take around 10 to 15 minutes to achieve full darkness - leave them to cool, peel them open (it might be a bit mushy and warm, so be careful!) and they’re ready to toss in with your dry ingredients.
Solution Two: Paper Bag
If you’re capable of being more patient, or want to give future you a nice surprise, just pop your ‘nanas in a classic brown paper bag with an apple.
Our crunchy friend will emit extra ethylene gas alongside them, and they’ll be ripe in a couple of days.
Keep an eye on them though, as if they’re riper than you anticipated, they might go all mushy unexpectedly quickly, and you’ll have a soggy situation on your hands, eating disappointment instead of delicious, delicious banana bread.