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Banana Bread Odyssey...

I'm on a quest for the BEST Banana Bread recipe there is. I'm looking for a very dense, moist bread redolent with the sweet scent of bananas & whose soft, pound cake-like texture is accented by some crunchy toasted walnuts. Most recipes I've found have resulted in a product that was too dry & cakey for my liking. Anyone have any leads?
Thank you!

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  1. The best recipe I have used is from America's Test Kitchen. I believe their recipes can be accessed on-line at Cook's Illustrated.

    4 Replies
    1. re: foleydog

      I agree. And, it makes a big difference when you use full fat yogurt. I can post the recipe if anyone is interested.

      1. re: foleydog

        I also use the CI recipe. I made it last night in fact.

        1. re: foleydog

          The banana bread recipe is only available to paid members. Any chance of a paraphrase?

          1. re: Nyleve

            I love this recipe. I've had someone chase me down the street after a potluck for it. She said she was a huge banana bread fan, always looking for more recipes and this was the best she'd had. It does make a difference, as I said above, with full fat yogurt. Let me know if my paraphrase doesn't make sense.

            2 c. all purpose flour
            3/4 c. sugar
            3/4 tsp. baking soda
            1/2 tsp. salt
            1 1/4 c. toasted walnuts; chopped coarsely--about 1 cup (I don't use nuts)
            3 very ripe, darkly speckled large bananas
            1/4 c. yogurt
            2 large eggs, lightly beaten
            6 tbsp. butter, melted and cooled
            1 tsp. vanilla extract

            1) For regular loaf pan, grease and flour bottom only; for nonstick, grease and flour bottom and sides. Preheat 350.

            2) Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, nuts.

            3) Mix mashed bananas, yogurt, eggs, butter, vanilla using wooden spoon. Using rubber spatula, fold into dry ingredients until just combined. Pour into loaf pan. Bake 55 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes, transfer to wire rack.

            Many variations, too, banana-chocolate bread, banana-coconut bread w/ macadamia nuts, orange spice banana bread if you want, I can post them but I like the plain the best. Also, I've used vanilla yogurt and it works fine though it calls for plain.

        2. At work so don't have the recipe on me but will try to post later (real midwestern deal from mom). It uses 3 bananas and the secret ingredient is sour cream with baking soda dissolved in it--this makes the sour cream fluffy and the finished product very moist.

          1. The banana bread recipe in the Silver Palate cookbook sounds like just what you are looking for -- I too went through a search for a moist and tasty banana bread recipe and this one always works for me. I don't have the book here at the office but will post a paraphrase of the recipe later if you are interested.

            2 Replies
            1. re: DanaB

              That would be great...thank you!

              1. re: sunnygordy

                Here you go!

                Banana Bread (adapted from the Silver Palate Cookbook)

                8 T. (1 stick) unsalted butter
                3/4 c. sugar
                2 eggs
                1 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
                1 c. whole wheat flour
                1 t. baking soda
                1/2 t. salt
                3 large, ripe bananas, mashed
                1 t. vanilla extract
                1/2 c. shelled walnuts (can sub any kind of nuts), roughly chopped

                Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 5 inch bread pan.
                Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.

                Sift all-purpose flour, baking soda and salt, then stir flour mixture into wheat flour. Add to butter/sugar/eggs, mixing well.

                Fold in mashed bananas, vanilla and walnuts.

                Pour into pans. Bake for 50-60 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean. Be sure to start checking at the shorter end of the cooking time to make sure it doesn't overcook and get dry. I usually start testing around 45 minutes.

            2. This is my personal favorite from CL. A friend gave it to me and it's now the only one I use. I like to add mini chocolate chips to mine.

              Classic Banana Bread
              From Cooking Light

              2 cups all-purpose flour
              3/4 teaspoon baking soda
              1/2 teaspoon salt
              1 cup sugar
              1/4 cup butter, softened
              2 large eggs
              1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 bananas)
              1/3 cup plain low-fat yogurt
              1 teaspoon vanilla extract
              Cooking spray

              Preheat oven to 350°.
              Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt, stirring with a whisk.

              Place sugar and butter in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 1 minute). Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add banana, yogurt, and vanilla; beat until blended. Add flour mixture; beat at low speed just until moist. Spoon batter into an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

              Yield: 1 loaf, 14 servings (serving size: 1 slice)

              1 Reply
              1. re: upstate girl

                This is my favorite -- it's even better when you swap out half the flour with almond meal.

              2. My only secret is to let the bananas sit on the counter until they are totally black with collapsed skins and practically oozing. You might not want to just *eat* the things, but they make the most amazing bread.

                1. One option for super moist banana bread is also to use maple syrup instead of sugar (use a little less syrup than you would dry sugar). I also add dried tart cherries to mine... The last time I made it I used the recipe from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything.

                  I'd also be careful when using sour cream in the batter, I tried it once and my bread came out dry and boring. Actually, I think I overcooked it, but flavor-wise it felt likethe sour cream had dulled the rest of the taste. I *do* however recommend getting some Mediterranean style yogurt (I think it's called Lebne, it's very thick and spreadable) and eating it on the banana bread. I get Cascade Fresh from Whole Foods/Wild Oats. MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM

                  1. I've modified a recipe from allrecipes.com that uses orange juice, by adding organic vanilla low-fat yogurt, chopped pecans, and about 1/2c chopped canned apricots. The citrus flavors really accent the banana nicely and the texture is similar to that of zucchini bread - very moist and crumbly.

                    1. The best banana bread I've ever had/made is, I'm ashamed to admit, an Emeril Lagasse recipe. It's got a ton of sour cream and butter, making it ridiculously dense and moist. Half a slice is a filling breakfast.


                      I usually make it without the walnuts, and I use bananas that have gone totally brown and mushy--they're sweeter. Just throw your bananas in the freezer after they're too brown to eat. You could also add a little nutmeg or cinnamon, but not too much.

                      1. I sometimes substitute sour cream in banana bread with apple sauce...use the same amount..delicious and moist...I also add a little cinnamon like the other posters

                        1. this is my tried and true banana bread. I got it from a cooking light type of book and have add some additional spices to improve its now wonderful taste

                          1 1/4 c flour
                          1 1/4 t baking powder
                          1/2 t baking soda
                          2 1/2 t cinnamon
                          1/8 t salt
                          2 slightly beaten egg whites
                          1 1/2 c mashed bananas
                          3/4 c sugar
                          1/4 c oil
                          3 t vanilla
                          heavy dash of nutmeg
                          non stick spray

                          in a bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. in larger bowl mix together bananas, egg whites, sugar, oil and vanilla. stir in flour mixture until moistened. SPour into sprayed 8x4x2 inch loaf pan. Bake at 350 for 45 to 50 mins until toothpick comes out clean. Cool bread in pan for 10 mins. Remove from pan and enjoy.

                          for an extra treat, i also throw in 1/2 c or so of chocolate chips. you can also add nuts if you want


                          1. The secret ingredient to our Banana Bread is buttermilk. We add an optional crunch of nuts to the top but they could just as easily be folded into the batter. One large loaf or 2 minis.

                            BANANA BREAD BY ELLIE

                            2-3 ripe bananas, mashed
                            1 1⁄2 cups sugar
                            1 3⁄4 cups flour
                            2 eggs
                            1 tsp baking soda
                            1 tsp vanilla extract
                            1⁄2 tsp salt
                            1⁄4 cup buttermilk
                            1⁄2 cup vegetable oil
                            1⁄2 cup chopped walnuts, optional

                            Combine all ingredients in medium bow. Pour into a greased loaf pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour 15 minutes and after toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

                            1. I've had good results with this one, though it doesn't have walnuts. It's dense and moist but best of all, it's really simple.


                              1. The banana bread from Nigella's Domestic Goddess book is exactly what you want. Easy and fabulous.

                                1. Sounds like you were describing the recipe I found in college - 30 yrs ago! Here it is:
                                  1 1/2 C sugar
                                  1/2 c butter cream these and add
                                  2 eggs, then 1 tsp vanilla
                                  Add these three alternately:
                                  - 2 C + 2 T flour
                                  - 1 C mashed bananas (REAL ripe, but not dripping)
                                  - 1/2 C sour cream mixed w/ 1 tsp baking soda - I put this in the dry 1 C then whip the b soda in with a fork till fluffy.
                                  Add the above gently - the less one messes with quick breads, the better. This is a very moist recipe and I stopped adding walnuts yrs ago cause of an allergic family member, but the toasted walnut addition sounds yummy! ENJOY!! OOPS, almost forgot- bake @ 350 in sprayed pans until toothpick clean. ENJOY!!

                                  1. oops! ALMOST FORGOT - BAKE @ 350 IN SPRAYED PANS until toothpick clean.

                                    1. My current favorite banana bread recipe (although I'd like to try the Cook's Illustrated) is the one in How to Cook Everything. I think it's the addition of the shredded coconut that makes it for me.