The Best Banana Bread

I’ve been making this classic since I was a kid. I wrote down the recipe in a childish script in a now tattered spiral notebook, along with a few others that I still cherish. I later transcribed it, again hand-written, into a three-ring binder some time around graduate school, typed it to be “official” who knows when, and then word-processed it in a couple of programs over the past few years. I need to get it out to the world so I don’t lose it!

I’ve have distant memories of raiding a file box above my mother’s kitchen desk, where she kept pamphlets like the Pillsbury Bake-off series, which is where I suspect this recipe originated. While the original recipe would have called for a full-sized loaf pan, I typically have made it in half-size pans or more recently in a pan that creates 8 mini-loaves.   Much better for individual use, and also freezing, if they last that long.

What I like about the technique is that the leavening includes both baking powder and baking soda and the batter is left to stand in the pans for 15-20 minutes before baking. By pushing the batter up into the corners and allowing it to sit, you’re pretty much guaranteed to have well-rounded loaves.

Banana Bread

2 cups sifted flour

1 tsp double-acting baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1/2 c butter, softened

1 c sugar

2 eggs

1 c mashed banana

1/2 c chopped walnuts (optional)

Sift together the dry ingredients and set aside.

Cream the butter with the sugar, then add one egg at a time, beating until smooth, Stir in the mashed bananas, mixing well.

Gently fold in the flour mixture until just incorporated. Add the nuts if using.

Pour into buttered baking pan(s), pushing the batter up into the corners.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and let the batter sit for 15-20 minutes while the oven warms up. (This last step is important to producing well-rounded loaves.)

Bake a full-sized loaf pan for about 60 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Half-loaves bake for about 40 minutes and mini-loaves (8 to a pan) about 25 minutes.

Cool thoroughly before slicing.

Categories: Quick breads and muffinsTags:

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