A trend during last year’s lockdown was the rush to try out a whole variety of new skills, baking prime among them. Social media was awash with people’s attempts – successful and otherwise – at sourdough and any number of artisanal breads. But while they’re somewhat complicated, a far easier – yet equally satisfying – recipe is banana bread. Moist and moreish, banana bread is super simple to bake, and makes use of a number of pantry staples.
To begin with, you’ll need bananas, the riper the better. Two to three is fine for one loaf, but if you prefer a more intense flavour, use four. The yellow peels should be at least half browned, and the fruit inside all squishy and browning (which makes mashing them easier). You’ll also need, for one loaf, 1/3 cup of melted butter, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, ¾ cup of brown sugar, 1 egg, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, a pinch of salt, and 1 ½ cups of all-purpose white flour (organic of course!).
For a loaf that’s extra moist, add half a cup of plain yogurt, and banana bread also works well with nuts – try adding some pecans or walnuts. Chocoholics can add half a cup of cocoa powder or some chocolate chips for a truly decadent loaf, while the health conscious can swap the white flour for whole wheat. Cinnamon and maple syrup also work well with banana bread, but go easy on the latter – it shouldn’t be super sweet.
The process couldn’t be easier. In a large bowl, mash the ripe bananas with a fork until completely smooth, then stir in the melted butter. Add the salt and baking soda, then gently and slowly stir in the in the sugar, beaten egg, vanilla extract, and flour. Aim for a smooth, lump free consistency.
Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C), butter a medium sized loaf pan, and pour the batter in. Bake until the top of the cake is caramelized dark brown with some yellow interior peeking through (a cake tester inserted into the middle should come out clean). Baking time will vary slightly depending on the moisture and sugar content of your bananas — start checking around 50 minutes and then every 5 minutes after – and once done, set the loaf, still in the pan, on a wire cooling rack. Let it cool for 10 minutes — this helps the loaf solidify and makes it easier to remove from the pan.
Remove from pan and cool another 10 minutes before slicing…and eating! Banana bread is amazing when fresh from the oven and still warm, but it’ll keep on the countertop for up to four days. It can also be frozen – just tightly wrap the loaf or slices in a few layers of plastic wrap or aluminum foil, then put in freezer bags or Tupperware. They’ll be good for four months. And for a twist, use the same mixture above to make banana muffins – just fill each fill each muffin cup to roughly 3/4 full, and check for doneness after 20 minutes (you’ll get 8 to 10 muffins).
We’ve always got great organic bananas, and we have just about everything else you’ll need too. There’s nothing quite like the aroma of freshly baked banana bread, and it tastes just as good! Stick some bananas in your cart today, and get baking.