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Best and Easiest Guide to Banana Bread

One of the things we love about banana bread is how generally forgiving it is to make for beginners. This beginner's guide is perfect! The ratios in the recipe are not as precise as they are in many other baked goods. This makes it a very non-threatening and approachable baked good to make.
Banana bread on cutting board with knife

Ask any pastry chef, and they will tell you that Banana bread is one of the easiest recipes you can learn. It is categorized as “quick bread. “That means it is leavened with chemical leavening instead of yeast. The chemicals are nothing to fear since they are natural baking soda or baking powder, depending on the recipe. You should know that yeast usually takes a long time to raise. Chemical quick bread is rapid and easy to make.

A few Things to Know

How Ripe Should Bananas Be for Banana Bread?

Ripe. Really Ripe. Brown is beautiful. Black is better. You heard us. To make the best banana bread, you want to start with ripe bananas. Those overly ripe bananas on the kitchen counter that look like they should probably depart might be good for something. If they’re not moldy, then you’re in luck. The bananas shouldn’t be thrown out! Instead, save them in the freezer to make bread! These bananas will have the most concentrated banana flavor and the best natural sweetness.

How to make moist banana bread

Admit it. We’ve all had that banana bread that is so dry that it has to be choked down with a half-inch of butter smeared on top of it. Someone well-intentioned probably made it for a holiday or a get-well goodie. Flashbacks to dry banana bread haunt us all. Don’t be that person who brings the dry loaf. There are secrets to making moist banana bread. Well-guarded and yet well-tested by pastry nerds. Here are the best ones.

  • The Fat and Banana Ratio: Use a high proportion of bananas and fat in the recipe. Some chefs prefer to use melted butter or butter-flavored shortening as the fat because of the flavor it adds. The bread is still moist this way. However, one can use oil instead of butter to make banana bread even more moist. Oil does not solidify at room temperature and keeps the bread extra moist.
  • Don’t overmix. The batter will toughen and dry if the gluten is too overdeveloped. Mix just until combined.
  • Add defatted wheat germ*.  Wheat germ absorbs moisture, which sounds counterintuitive to moist bread, but this helps keep the bread moist for several days because of the added fiber in the wheat germ that holds the moisture in the bread like a sponge. It also adds a mild nutty flavor that is wholesome and satisfying. Defatted wheat germ is added at a ratio of 10% to the flour in this banana bread recipe. We experiment with that ratio and share our results at the end of this post.

What is the Method for Making Banana Bread?

The method used for making banana bread is called the muffin mixing method. The method involves mixing all the dry ingredients in one bowl, mixing all the wet ingredients in a separate bowl, and then combining the wet and dry ingredients.

Gather ingredients.

The classic banana bread lineup is simple: ripe bananas, melted butter (or oil), eggs, sugar, flour, defatted wheat germ, salt, and baking powder. We also add ground cinnamon and vanilla extract to flavor the bread.

Mix all the dry ingredients.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients. We recommend using a whisk to incorporate all components evenly and remove any lumps. This also aerates the mixture a bit.

Mix the wet ingredients.

In a separate medium bowl, peel and mash the banana. Then, add the eggs, melted butter, oil, and vanilla extract. Whisk until well combined.

Combine the wet and dry ingredients.

Pour all of the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Use a spoon or a rubber spatula to combine the two parts gently. Less is more with the stirring here. It will be lumpy and should only take about 20-30 seconds of mixing. Avoiding over-mixing will keep your bread moist and tender.

Bake the banana bread.

Pour the batter into a loaf pan greased or lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350° F (180° C) until a tester comes out of the bread with moist crumbs.

BANANA BREAD FAQ

Does banana bread freeze well?

Yes! Banana bread freezes exceptionally well. To freeze, allow the bread to cool completely. You can then wrap the entire loaf or individual slices in plastic wrap. Freeze for up to 3 months and allow to thaw at room temperature.

Can I make this banana bread with pecans, macadamia, walnuts, or chocolate chips?

Yes! You can use this recipe as a base to make banana walnut bread, banana pecan bread, banana macadamia bread, or even chocolate chip banana bread. Add 3/4 cup- 1 cup add-ins during the last step of mixing.

YIELD: 1 loaf

World’s Best and Easiest Banana Bread

prep time: 10 min

cook time: Hour

total time: 1 Hour 10 minutes

This easy banana bread recipe is simple to put together with very few ingredients. This recipe strips banana bread down to its classic flavor.

Ingredients 

1 ¾ cup (210g) Panhandle Milling Kamut® all-purpose flour or Organic All-purpose flour 

3 Tbsp. (21g) Viobin® Defatted Wheat Germ* (optional)

¾ cup (150 gr) granulated sugar

½ tsp salt

2 tsp baking powder

1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon (optional for additional flavor)

4 medium or 3 large very ripe bananas (you need about 1 1/2 cups mashed banana)

2 large eggs

½ cup melted unsalted butter cooled slightly

¼ cup olive oil or coconut oil

1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

Directions 

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180° C). Grease or line with parchment paper a 9×5-inch loaf pan.
  • In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients (flour, defatted wheat germ, sugar, salt, baking powder, and ground cinnamon). Whisk together until well combined.
  • In a separate bowl, peel and mash the bananas. Then, add the eggs, oil, melted butter, and vanilla extract. Whisk until well combined.
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and use a rubber spatula or a spoon to stir the two parts together. This should not take very long, about 20 seconds. Do not over-mix the batter.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake at 350° F (180 C) for 55-65 minutes until a tester comes out with moist crumbs.
  • Remove the baked loaf from the pan and transfer it to a cooling rack.
  • To store: allow the loaf to cool completely, wrap in foil or plastic wrap, and keep at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
*Defatted Wheat germ is added at a 10% ratio to the flour in this recipe. This is our chef’s standard when adding defatted wheat germ to a quick bread or cookie recipe. Because banana bread has so much moisture, defatted wheat germ would is beneficial to increase the shelf life and the flavor and nutrition.