This is the banana bread recipe my family requests again and again – moist, tender, and bursting with banana flavor, thanks to the use of five (!!) entire bananas in one loaf.
As I’ve uncovered my love for cooking and baking, one of the things that brings me great joy is finding “the” recipe for standbys. Our go-to, the classic, the one my family expects and counts on and to which all others are compared.
When it comes to banana bread, no doubt about it: this is the one.
I’ve been making this recipe for at least four years now, and believe me, I’ve tried others here and there for various reasons. They all disappear eventually, but none are inhaled like this one. After one bite, any “other” banana bread is declared inferior. At this point, if I so much as imply that I might experiment with another banana bread recipe, my husband is quick to deliver the side-eye and raised eyebrow. Why bother!?
Because after all, this is the stand-by, the beloved, the don’t mess with success version. And even though it does ask me to take an extra step beyond most quick breads, I forgive it.
How could you not forgive something this moist, tender, and dense with the comforting flavor of sweet, ripened bananas?
Concentrated Banana Juice!?
I suspect I also don’t mind the extra step because it involves a bit of kitchen science, which feels somewhat like wizardry, or at least as close to wizardry as I’m going to get in my oh-so-ordinary life. Here’s the deal: did you know that bananas have juice!? Neither did I, but oh my goodness, do they ever. In fact, if you set softened bananas in a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and let them lounge for 10-15 minutes, the juice will drain out. Stir and press down on them occasionally to help the process along.
Here’s where the wizardry comes in – straining the juice allows you to reduce the juice. A couple minutes of vigorous bubbling on the stovetop leaves you with, essentially, super-concentrated banana juice. Mix that back in with the banana innards, proceed as you normally would with the rest of the ingredients, and you’re on your way to banana bread heaven.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Everyone will go crazy for this moist, tender banana bread with FIVE bananas baked into one loaf!” quote=”Everyone will go crazy for this moist, tender banana bread with FIVE bananas baked into one loaf!”]
Put Frozen Bananas To Work
This is easy enough to make with fresh bananas that are heavily speckled brown. It’s even easier to make with bananas that have been frozen and defrosted. This has saved so much food waste for me!
(As have these banana almond smoothies. 🙂 Maybe I buy too many bananas? Is that a thing?)
When two or three bananas start looking iffy, I just throw them in the freezer. No peeling, no mashing – just throw them in whole. When you have five frozen whole bananas, take them out to defrost in a bowl at room temperature, and do a happy dance – the most delicious treat is in your very near future! Once they are soft, they’ll be easy to peel – use a sharp paring knife to break the skin, then peel it back with your fingers as you normally would. Scoop the banana straight into your strainer, and you’re good to go.
From now on, a huge pile of soft, ripe bananas sitting on the counter will look more like an opportunity than a problem. 🙂 Enjoy!
Five Banana Banana Bread
- 1 3/4 cups (210 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 5 large very ripe bananas, peeled*
- 8 tablespoons (113 grams) unsalted butter melted and cooled slightly
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup (160 grams) packed brown sugar light or dark
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 C). Lightly spray a loaf pan, approximately 9x5 inches, with cooking spray; set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; whisk together and set aside. Set a fine-mesh strainer over a separate medium bowl.
- If using bananas that have been frozen and defrosted, scoop banana innards into the strainer and let drain, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes, until you have about 1/2 cup liquid in the bowl.
- If using fresh bananas, scoop innards into a microwave-safe bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and cut 3-4 slits in the wrap to act as steam vents. Microwave on high for about 5 minutes, until the bananas are soft and have released their liquid. Transfer to the fine-mesh strainer and let drain, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes, until you have about 1/2 cup liquid in the bowl.
- Transfer the 1/2 cup banana juice to a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a rapid simmer and cook for about 5 minutes, until the liquid is reduced to 1/4 cup. Meanwhile, scrape the bananas out of the strainer and into the bowl that held the juice. Pour the reduced banana juice back into the bowl; using a fork, mash it with the bananas until the mixture is mostly smooth. Whisk in the melted butter, eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla.
- Add the dry ingredients to the bowl with the banana mixture. Fold gently, just until the dry ingredients are mostly incorporated. Do not overmix!
- Scrape batter into the prepared pan, smooth with a spatula, and bake for 55-65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool for 15-20 minutes in the pan before removing. Slice and serve warm or at room temperature.
Recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated