National Banana Bread Day
According to National Day Calendar, today is National Banana Bread Day! I’ve been making banana bread since I was in high school. My mother had a set of cookbooks that were like encyclopedia volumes, and they were filled with some fabulous recipes, the banana bread recipe was my favorite. Those cookbooks sadly disappeared in a move when she downsized, and I wish I had them today. I tried unsuccessfully to replicate the recipe from memory and by trying and adjusting other recipes, but none of them lived up to banana bread I remembered from my youth.
While on our honeymoon almost 17 years ago, my husband and I found a cookbook in a winery gift shop that just called to us. The book was titled Bride and Groom First and Forever Cookbook. As newlyweds how could we pass that up? It was meant to be because not only was there a banana bread recipe in this book, but it was almost identical in taste and texture to the one all other recipes were being measured against. I made a couple modifications, and we had a winner!
First, I toast my pecans. Could you skip this step? Absolutely! And sometimes I don’t bother. However, the flavor develops a little more depth when you take the time to toast them. This can be done in an oven at 350°F for a few minutes or in a pan on the stove over medium heat. Stir them a few times, and you’ll know they are done when you can smell the nuts and they darken a little. You could also use walnuts if you prefer, but I’m from Texas so…pecans. I mash my bananas at this time too.
Now I get all my ingredients measured. We mix all the dry ingredients together, then mix sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer in a separate bowl.
Next, we alternate adding the dry ingredients with the milk and beating until just incorporated. Don’t overmix – the gluten in the wheat flour will overdevelop resulting in an overly chewy bread (not in a good way). I never have buttermilk on hand, and we only need half a cup, so I make sour milk as shown in the recipe. You could replace the milk and vinegar with buttermilk if you prefer or have some in the fridge. We’re really looking for the chemical reaction between the acid in the milk and the baking soda, and the taste is not affected regardless of which you use.
Finally, we mix in the mashed bananas and pecans. Again, just until they are incorporated – don’t overmix. Pour into two prepared pans and bake at 350°F for about an hour. The banana bread is done when a toothpick inserted in the bread comes out mostly clean.
My daughter and I enjoy our banana bread without anything added to it, but my husband and son prefer to slather their slices with butter. It also makes a decadent French toast.
You can make muffins with this recipe, but you need to crank up the oven to get the right rise. The tops of the muffins bake in concentric circles. The outside circle sets, then the next circle rises and sets, then a little closer to the center rises and sets…this is what gives muffins their dome or top. Bake at 400°F for 17-19 minutes for regular size muffins or 12-15 minutes for minis.
Yield - two 9x3 inch loaves
Prep time - 10 minutes
Bake time - 1 hour
1 ½ Cups Pecans, toasted and chopped
2 Cups very ripe bananas (about 5 – 6 small bananas), mashed
2 ¼ Cups All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
¾ teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
2 ¼ Cups Sugar
3 Eggs, lightly beaten
1 ½ teaspoon Vanilla
½ Cup Milk
½ teaspoon White Vinegar
1 ½ teaspoons Baking Soda
Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare two loaf pans with baking spray.
In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, salt, and cinnamon.
In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a bowl with a hand mixer, beat the oil and sugar on low until combined. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until incorporated, about 1 minute.
Stir vinegar into milk to make sour milk – it will start to thicken after a minute or two.
Stir the baking soda into the sour milk. Add one third of the dry ingredients to the sugar and egg mixture followed by half of the milk and mix until incorporated. Repeat and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Mix in the final dry ingredients and scrape the bowl again.
Add the mashed banana and nuts and mix until just incorporated.
Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaves comes out clean, about 1 hour.
Remove from oven and cool on wire rack for 15 minutes before serving.
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Hi! I'm Melisa.
Yep, only one 's' in my name!
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