Ultimate Banana Bread

Ultimate Banana Bread

Banana Bread has been a recipe I have made for over 20 years. Not only is it a perfect way to use up any too-ripe bananas, but it can be a great add-on for breakfast or an afternoon snack. This recipe for Ultimate Banana Bread came out of the America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook.

Ultimate Banana Bread in loaf pan just out of oven on wood cutting board

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Published May 24, 2022
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Why this recipe works

The first and most important part of this recipe is to microwave the bananas. This step helps to release the liquid from the bananas. Doing so, not only helps increase the banana flavor. Additionally the moisture and texture which has been unlike any other banana bread recipe I have ever tried.

A few weeks ago, Tyler, Samuel and I were watching the 20th anniversary of the America’s Test Kitchen series. This show is on PBS and has amazing recipes, food and equipment reviews, and great tips on how to become a better cook and baker. In the special episode, the crew highlighted the top 20 recipes with this Ultimate Banana Bread recipe being in the top 5. It only took an hour to eat the entire loaf. As a result, the whole family agrees that this recipe is a winner. We give it 10 stars and will for sure make it again.

Ultimate Banana Bread sliced with butter

Make a meal out of it

Additionally, you can use Banana Bread is to make it into French Toast at dinner. For that recipe, click the link for my blog recipe below. Using banana bread and making it into French Toast was not that difficult and resulted in an amazing dinner that our kids really enjoyed. By using a loaf of banana bread, instead of regular bread, you can then change up a recipe and make something completely new and fun. However, if you do choose to use banana bread for French Toast, make sure the loaf has cooled before cooking.

Where to find this recipe

The recipe for Ultimate Banana Bread can be found on page 654 in the America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook. This recipe book is a comprehensive list of recipes from the popular TV show on PBS and contains hundreds of recipes and product reviews and has been on for twenty years.

recipebook

Ultimate Banana Bread Recipe

Ingredients

1 3/4 cups unbleached flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
6 very ripe bananas
8 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted, cooled
2 eggs
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped (optional)
2 tsp sugar

all the ingredients on countertop to make Ultimate Banana Bread

Directions for Ultimate Banana Bread

1. Place 5 bananas into a large microwave safe bowl, cover with plastic wrap and then poke three or four holes in the plastic with a knife. Microwave the bananas in the bowl for 5 minutes so the bananas are soft and release their liquid.

I cannot believe that a bigger bowl was not needed as half of the liquid boiled out of the bowl. Hindsight is a terrible thing, especially when the banana liquid was super needed for this recipe. Make sure, if you do make this recipe, that a larger bowl is used than you think necessary.

microwaved bananas in bowl

2. Transfer the bananas to a strainer over a bowl and allow the liquid to drain, stirring occasionally with a spoon for 15 minutes. While the bananas drain, place the butter into a microwave safe bowl and melt for 1 minute, then let it rest to cool down until needed.

3. Transfer the banana liquid, 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup, to a medium saucepan and cook on medium-high heat until the liquid is reduced to 1/4 cup, around 5 minutes. Return the liquid to the bananas in a bowl and stir to combine, then use a potato masher to make sure the bananas are mashed. By adding the condensed banana liquid back to the bananas, you allow the flavors to become so strong and bold.

4. To the bananas, whisk in butter, eggs, brown sugar and vanilla, then set aside.

5. To the bowl of a KitchenAid mixer, add flour, baking soda and salt and then whisk to combine.

6. Pour the banana mixture into the KitchenAid bowl with the flour mixture and using the paddle attachment, mix the ingredients together until just combined. Make sure to not over mix the batter.

7. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and spray a 5 X 9 loaf pan with non-stick spray, then set aside.

8 X 4 loaf pan sprayed with non-stick spray for Ultimate Banana Bread

8. Gently fold the walnuts into the batter if using.
9. Then, using a spatula, scrape the banana bread mixture into the prepared loaf pan.

pouring batter into loaf pan before baking ultimate banana bread

10. Peel and then thinly slice the remaining banana and shingle the banana slices on top of either side of the loaf, leaving a 1 1/2- inch-wide space down the center for the bread to rise.

11. Sprinkle the top of the Ultimate Banana Bread with the 2 tsp sugar and finally bake the bread for 55-75 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean.

sprinkle sugar on top of loaf before baking

Remove the loaf from the oven and let it rest to cool for 15 minutes in the pan before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Then, slice and serve!
~Monica

Ultimate Banana Bread cooked and cooling

Recipe for Ultimate Banana Bread

Ingredients for Ultimate Banana Bread

1 3/4 cups unbleached flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
6 very ripe bananas
8 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted, cooled
2 eggs
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped (optional)
2 tsp sugar

Directions for Ultimate Banana Bread

1. Place 5 bananas into a large microwave save bowl, cover with plastic wrap and then poke three or four holes in the plastic with a knife. Microwave the bananas in the bowl for 5 minutes so the bananas are soft and release their liquid.
2. Transfer the bananas to a strainer over a bowl and allow the liquid to drain, stirring occasionally with a spoon for 15 minutes. While the bananas drain, place the butter into a microwave safe bowl and melt for 1 minute, then let it rest to cool down until needed.
3. Transfer the banana liquid, 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup, to a medium saucepan and cook on medium-high heat until the liquid is reduced to 1/4 cup, around 5 minutes. Return the liquid to the bananas in a bowl and stir to combine, then use a potato masher to make sure the bananas are mashed. By adding the condensed banana liquid back to the bananas, you allow the flavors to become so strong and bold.
4. To the bananas, whisk in butter, eggs, brown sugar and vanilla, then set aside.
5. To the bowl of a KitchenAid mixer, add flour, baking soda and salt and then whisk to combine.
6. Pour the banana mixture into the KitchenAid bowl with the flour mixture and using the paddle attachment, mix the ingredients together until just combined. Make sure to not over mix the batter.
7. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and spray a 5 X 9 loaf pan with non-stick spray, then set aside.
8. Gently fold the walnuts into the batter if using.
9. Then, using a spatula, scrape the banana bread mixture into the prepared loaf pan.
10. Peel and then thinly slice the remaining banana and shingle the banana slices on top of either side of the loaf, leaving a 1 1/2- inch-wide space down the center for the bread to rise.
11. Sprinkle the top of the Ultimate Banana Bread with the 2 tsp sugar and finally bake the bread for 55-75 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean.
Remove the loaf from the oven and let it rest to cool for 15 minutes in the pan before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Then, slice and serve!
~Monica

Published by Monica's Scratch Kitchen

I have not always had the skills to cook and bake from scratch. As a young wife, I bought every meal frozen or boxed and presented it to my husband with a flourish, believing myself a decadent cook. As our budget shrunk, and our family grew, I looked for ways to stretch our money to nourish our kids with the best for their hungry appetites. Hoping to find recipes and meals that they would love to eat. Through the last 5 years, I have learned so many cooking and baking lessons, and experienced many wins and failures. Come along with me on this journey as I share my recipes that work, how to make them on the cheap, and my tips and tricks to get my kids to eat homemade deliciousness! I will also share updates to our house that we have done in the last year since our move. With one income, we do most of the work ourselves and with amazing family and friends to help out, cutting costs but keeping style and money in the bank! I am a wife and mother of 3 boys and 1 princess. When I was a kid, I remember being asked what I wanted to be or do when I grew up. My response was, "a mom", and I am proud to grow up and be a mom to 4 amazing kids! Samuel is 11, Matthew is 8, Levi is 4, and Elliana is almost 2. We have been blessed to have kids who love to explore foods, to try new recipes, and enjoy helping us around the house. With 4 kids, you better believe they help clean! My husband Tyler and I have been married almost 13 years. We love our kids, we love outdoors, camping, canoeing, grilling, watching movies, and just hanging out making memories. A few years ago I gifted Tyler with his own "menu" book, where we write meals and foods we have loved to eat. Weekly our family decides what our meals will be and I make up a grocery list with what we need. It literally is my favorite chore! I love to shop, so shopping for food on a budget is my biggest win! Thank you for taking the time and visiting my site, Subscribe so you do not miss a post! Keep coming back to hear about new recipes, updates on our home, fun times with our kids, and how to make homemade deliciousness! ~Monica

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