Next Level Banana Bread
I don’t know about you, but every month when it’s “that time of the month,” I run to the store to stock up on dark chocolate, tea, and bananas. (Stick with me gents.) The last few months, I’ve made a point to buy a few extra bananas on my monthly supply runs. Why?
So I can make banana bread!
I buy a few too many bananas and let them ripen throughout the week until I’m ready to bake.
This has been my routine for the last 3 or 4 months because this is the best banana bread I’ve ever had.
What makes this bread so good?
- There is no egg in the recipe, so the bread is SUPER moist
- The lemon juice in the recipe enhances the banana flavor
- Buttering up the pan creates a nice crust on the bread
I’m very comfortable with this recipe now, but the first time I tried it, the pressure was on. I mentioned banana bread, and my boyfriend started raving about his mom’s banana bread. He insisted that I get her recipe and use it. So I did.
But I was stressed. I’m confident in my kitchen skills, but how do you even start to match the level of a mother’s cooking? They have 20+ years of experience on all of us twenty somethings. But by some miracle, my twenty something self managed to nail the recipe. My boyfriend loved it and said it was exactly how he remembered it.
And my banana bread has turned out perfectly every month since, so I have a few tricks for you:
The first step is softening a stick of butter. Just pull it out of the fridge, set it on the counter, and return to your Netflix binging or whatever you were doing when you got the idea to make banana bread.
Once that butter is nice and soft and room temperature, put it in a bowl with the sugar and use a fork to cream the butter and sugar together. There’s no electric mixers in this recipe! You’ll be doing all the mixing by hand.
Before you start mixing and mashing everything else, leave a tablespoon of butter sitting in your loaf pan to soften.
I like to add the flour, baking soda, and salt right into the same bowl as the flour and sugar. But if you like doing dishes and want to get another bowl dirty, go ahead and combine your dry ingredients in a separate bowl before adding them to the mix. Then use your fork to start to combine everything.
The picture above shows the butter & sugar creamed together with a fork. The picture below shows what it looks like after mixing in the dry ingredients.
In a separate bowl, mash three very ripe bananas with your handy dandy fork. If the bananas don’t mash super easily, they aren’t ripe enough. The end result will look a lot like baby food. You don’t need to get every little lump out. Any banana chunks left in the mix will just be banana bits in your bread.
Next, you need fresh squeezed lemon juice. I squeeze half of a lemon into a small storage container and then measure out a tablespoon (or 3 teaspoons) of juice from the container. The rest of the juice can be saved in the fridge for another recipe.
What you add to your bread is entirely up to you. I’m a sucker for the traditional banana walnut bread, but pecans or pistachios would be good nuts to try if you want something different. I prefer to use “chopped” nuts for this bread, but “halves & pieces” will work too. You can decide what works best for you!
Once you add the mashed banana, lemon juice, and nuts to the big bowl, use a silicone spatula to stir and fold everything together until you can see that all the components are thoroughly combined.
Now the butter in the loaf pan should be soft enough that you can easily spread it around the inside of the pan. I just use my hands to do this.
Once your pan is all buttered up, use the silicone spatula to transfer the batter into the pan and smooth out the top. Now you’re ready to put your bread in the oven.
By far the most important step is a little something I like to call quality control. Once your bread is in the oven, you have to lick the spatula to ensure your bread is delicious. It is your duty and privilege as the baker. No excuses!
Reminder: There’s no egg in this recipe, so you have nothing to fear.
The bake time and temperature will vary depending on your pan and your oven. If you’re using a glass loaf pan, set the temp to 350 F. I use a dark, coated pan, so I bake my bread at 325 F. My bread typically takes an hour, but for some ovens it could take 45 minutes or 75 minutes. If you’re making this bread for the first time, I recommend checking it at 45 minutes. You’ll know it’s done if you can put a toothpick through it and the bread doesn’t stick to the toothpick.
Once your banana bread is baked all the way though, pull it out of the oven and let it cool for 5 minutes in the loaf pan. Then transfer it to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
After the loaf has been on the cooling rack for about 50 minutes, it’s mostly cool and my will power is gone. So I cut off one of the ends and sample my work. (Again – quality control)
Once the bread is cool, I cut it in thick slices and store the bread in an air-tight container in the fridge. We typically eat the bread cold with breakfast or as a snack, but this month I used a few pieces to make some bomb french toast. Eventually I’ll share that recipe with you too.
But for now, enjoy this moist banana bread and stay riled up.
If you try this recipe, drop your thoughts in the comments!
Rile Up Your Kitchen!
- 1 Stick of butter + 1 Tbsp (softened)
- 3/4 c Sugar
- 2 c All purpose Flour
- 1 tsp Baking soda
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice (freshly squeezed)
- 3 Bananas (very ripe)
- 1 c Chopped walnuts or Nuts of your choosing
- Pre-heat your oven. Set it to 350 F if you’re baking in a glass pan or 325 if you’re using a dark, coated pan.
- Use a fork to cream a whole stick of softened butter and the sugar together.
- Add the flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix until combined.
- In a separate bowl, mash the bananas.
- Add the mashed bananas, lemon juice, and nuts to the bowl with everything else. Mix and fold just until everything is incorporated together in one smooth batter.
- Use your hand to grease up the loaf pan (9x5x3) with the extra tablespoon of softened butter.
- Transfer the batter into the greased up pan and smooth the top with your spatula.
- Bake the banana bread for about an hour. (Depending on your oven and bakeware, it might only take 45 minutes, or it might take a little longer than an hour.)