I often wonder how many recipes there are for banana bread. From the mixing methods to the variations of ingredients, there seem to be thousands. I make my share of these variations, but today I am sharing the recipe for my standard, plain ol' banana bread. My idea of a good banana bread is one with a tender cake, but not so moist that it is gummy. So, with the goal of straddling this fine line, I use butter and bit of sour cream or yogurt. I aim for a nice dome with a crunchy, sugary top. To this end, I sprinkle the top of the unbaked bread with Demerara sugar. I like for the mashed banana to be speckled throughout, not in chunks here and there. To achieve that, I press my ripe banana through a potato ricer before mixing it in with the other ingredients. My secret addition to really brighten the banana flavor is to add a splash of vinegar. The end result for me--a perfectly textured and tasty banana bread that is just the right vehicle for a slathering of butter.
makes one 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf
1 1/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons sour cream or plain yogurt
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 extra large eggs lightly beaten, at room temperature
1 cup mashed very ripe banana, 2-3 depending on size
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon vinegar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
1 tablespoon Demerara sugar (optional, but really good)
Preheat the oven to 350º F. Lightly spray an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan with baking spray. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon. In a separate medium bowl, stir together the mashed banana, sour cream, vanilla, vinegar and chopped nuts (if using). Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the flour mixture and beat until the mixture is blended and has a sandy consistency. Add the eggs and beat until combined. Fold in the banana mixture; do not over mix.
Scrape the banana into the prepared pan and sprinkle with the Demerara sugar. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Invert onto a baking rack and cool completely. Enjoy!
Source: Adapted from The Joy of Cooking, 1997