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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.