ISO Lighter, less dense banana bread
The last few times my banana bread has been coming out of the oven like boulders: heavy and dense. I've tried a few recipes though my go-to is the America's Test Kitchen Best Banana Bread recipe. The flavor always comes out great, but I'd prefer a lighter crumb. Any hints on how I should proceed? Should I switch to cake flour? Should I separate the eggs and whip the whites? Should I increase the baking powder? Do I need to mix the batter more, or less? Or do I need to go to a brand new recipe?
I'd prefer not to go to a 'cake' recipe and stick with a quick bread. I still want a 'bread' just slightly lighter in texture.
First check the date on your baking powder and make sure the one you are using is good quality with high C02. Rumford has the highest, Clabber Girl the lowest. Try the cake flour too and don't over mix.
Just gotta mention - I adapted a banana blueberry bread recipe on allrecipes.com - I used brown rice flour and maple syrup instead of white flour/white sugar, and it came out pretty light, and tasted awesome, plus it smelled amazing when it came out of the oven because of the maple syrup (but didn't taste mapley when eaten).
Basic eggs, sugar, oil type recipe? Try whipping your eggs (w/ whisk attachment) and sugar on high until fluffy, drizzle in oil w/ mixer running, add mashed bananas, then fold in dries by hand. Whole eggs will fluff up considerably, and you don't have to get as many bowls dirty as if you whip the whites separately. It's supposed to be 'quick' after all!
I've made the banana bread from the American Test Kitchen's cookbook, The Best Recipes, and it doesn't call for baking powder, just baking soda. I find the bread fairly light and excellent. The only thing that I can think of is to substitute buttermilk for the 1/4 cup of yogurt. That might make it a bit lighter. I assume you followed their direction of not pureeing the bananas and not overmixing when incorporating the dry with wet ingredients.
I think to try to make it much lighter would not hold up in a loaf pan. The batter needs certain structure so it doesn't collapse when you take it out of the oven. Substituting cake flour gives the bread a total different texture, too fine of a crumb and I am not sure it will be able to support all the wet ingredients. If you separate the eggs and whipping egg whites separately, etc., you're getting into cakes rather than quick breads. You will not be able to bake it in a loaf pan.