Baking Better Banana Bread

As modern bakers, most of us take for granted the recipe that probably first taught us how to
bake: banana bread. Moist, cakey, and quick to make, banana bread is thought by some to have been invented by baking soda and baking powder companies in the 1930s as a way to promote their products; others believe banana bread was created by savvy housewives to make use of overripe bananas during the Great Depression. Either way, the beloved loaf endured and, today, fills homes everywhere with the cozy aromas of bananas and occasional additions like shredded coconut, chocolate chips, or pecans, as in our recipe for Banana Nut Muffins.

Banana bread is incredibly easy to make; in fact, it’s a terrific treat to bake with children, who love the fun of mashing bananas. But while baking the perfect loaf is easy, it’s not exactly simple. Here are a few tips to ensure your next batch takes the cake.

  • Use bananas that are very ripe.​ Bananas should be very spotted or even black. Don’t have ripe ones? Throw a few unpeeled, underripe bananas on a baking sheet in the oven at 250 degrees F for 15 minutes and watch them blacken as they warm.
  • Keep your dairy high­ quality.​ Using Challenge Dairy products contributes to the moist
    texture and lifted flavor in the best banana breads. For extra tang, use buttermilk like we
    do in our classic Banana Bread recipe.
  • Waste not, want not. If you have more ripe bananas than you can use at the moment, mash and save them in an airtight container like a freezer bag for future baking. Or, alternatively, if your bananas aren’t ripe enough, hasten the ripening process by mashing the underripe bananas and heating them in the microwave for a few minutes.
  • A lot of bananas means a lot of banana flavor.​ Our recipe for Cocoa Swirled Banana
    calls for a whopping five bananas, mashed. That translates to serious banana
    concentration, sweetness and an ultra­moist crumb.