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Why was my bnana bread rubbery?

I followed this recipe exactly

The only variable was the bananas. I used 3 large bananas.

Not only was it rubbery, it didn't have much banana flavor.

What's wrong? WHAT?????

Too long in the oven? Wrong temperature? Too little time? Too much banana? Too little? Bad recipe?

This is why I hate cooking ... hate it. You can follow something exactly and wind up with something exactly and it comes out like a Firestone tire.

Unfortunately I have about 20 lbs (probably more) of bananas going bad and I hate waste. So HELP!!! Even the dog didn't want this. I can't seem making this over and over

BTW< I'm in Guatemala and pretty much limited to basics like flour white, eggs, milk and white sugar,. So if offering alternate recipes that have exotic ingredients like sour cream or brown sugar ... it isn't going to happen. We do have some margarine, so I could replace the oil with that.

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  1. This may not be relevant, but could altitude be affecting it? Don't know where you are in Guatemala, or how this type of recipe would respond to it, but I ask only b/c I just had a long talk with friends from Mexico about how they had to adjust to flatlander cooking.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Cachetes

      I'm on the coast, pretty much at sea level ... we were preparing to evaculate had the tsunami hit Also, babana bread is the thing that Gautemala excels at. Evvery corner panaderia makes them, so it has to be me.

      There's a topic on the new Modernist Cuisine book that has a link to the New Yorker story with really great info about the difference of cooking in Mexico City and NY and the reason why

      1. re: rworange

        Thanks for the great recommendation for reading!!!

    2. This blogger did not like the Cook's Illustrated BB recipe, partially because of the butter they used instead of oil, but that would be an easy swap for you. I am supplying the link because of the technique for intensifying the banana flavor. I remember seeing this on ATK - although the blogger wasn't impressed with this, either. Who knows, her bananas may have lacked flavor to begin with, as might be the case with yours. I have no ideas for fixing the texture.

      1. Two thoughts:
        1. Over mixing, though i doubt it since you know quite a bit about food and cooking.
        2. Banana variety, There are so many different varieties of bananas all with there own starch, fiber and sugar ratios. I know that almost all our (USA) recipes are based on the Cavendish.

        5 Replies
        1. re: chefj

          Over mixing could be it. I used a beater and beat the heck out of it.

          They were Chiquita Cavendish bananas ... though that could explain why the banana bread in general in Guatemala is superior ... they would be using local, native bananas and not Cavendish. However, these were a gift from a friend and the type that goes to the US.

          I know a little about food, but cooking eludes me. It took me five years to get the Thanksgiving turkey right. Every Easter I need to pull out the cookbook and look up how to boil eggs. I just don't have the patience for cooking, the results always come out bad.

          1. re: rworange

            If it was after you added the flour I would say that was it.

            1. re: chefj

              Yep ... used the beater on high through the whole process. Thanks.

            2. re: rworange

              Over mixing could be it. I used a beater and beat the heck out of it.
              oh yeah, that'll definitely give you a loaf you can bounce off the floor. and regarding the flavor, did you taste the bananas before adding them? sometimes the flavor of the fruit itself just isn't very assertive, and cooking/baking it mellows it even more, you need extremely ripe, very flavorful bananas...particularly since i'm guessing you don't have access to banana extract or flavoring, which would be a way to cheat/enhance the banana-ness ;)

              1. re: rworange

                Banana bread is a quick bread - should be mixed like muffins. That is, barely mix the flour into the wet ingredients and get it into the oven asap. It's okay if not all the flour is completely mixed in, preferable in fact than mixing the batter completely smooth. A few lumps are ok!

            3. You may have developed the gluten too much. The recipe calls for mixing the dry with the wet 'well'.

              The recipe is a variant on the muffin method - mix the wet and dry separately, the combine. The way I've been making pumpkin bread is:
              combine eggs, oil, milk, fruit puree (fork mashing of ripe bananas should be sufficient)
              combine flour, salt, bp, sugar (yes,some treat sugar as a wet)
              add dry to wet in a couple of stages, stirring just enough to combine, but not over mix.

              1. I would add another banana. Also, when I make banana bread I mash the bananas with the sugar, then mix in all of the wet ingredients before adding the dry. Once you add the dry ingredients, fold it together until moistened, then bake.

                1 Reply
                1. re: LoBrauHouseFrau

                  I agree on the overmixing. I'd also make sure the bananas were very ripe, even black. That way they would be the most sweet. Also keep in mind that banana bread is very fragrant while baking, but a lot of the flavor seems to leave once it cools. I know there is a technical reason for it, I just don't remember it. Banana bread is never banana-ee enough for me.

                  Maybe make banana cream pie or banana pudding with all those extra bananas!

                2. I also think you overmixed it and you could probably add another (black) banana. I would also up the amount of vanilla extract. The banana bread recipe that I loosely follow makes two loaves and that has more flour and the same amount of bananas.

                  Also, try this combo for the recipe.

                  1. Whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt.

                  2. Beat eggs, oil and sugar until combined.

                  3. Beat in flour mixture until just combined. There are usually some flour bits still visible here.

                  4. Fold in the rest of the ingredients until they are just combined.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: beetlebug

                    Vanilla extract ... ha,ha,ha,ha, ha ... or to translate that to Spanish ... ja, ja, ja, ja, ja (j pronouched like "h').

                    You would think in the tropics one could get vanilla extract easily. Nope.

                    Well, I gave it another shot and it is in the oven. Will let everybody know how it turnded out. I certainly have enough bananas to practice. Thanks for all the tips.

                    1. re: rworange

                      Use rum instead of vanilla. Mix less as everyone said, by hand when you add dry ingredients. If you can't get sour cream, you can sometimes substitute buttermilk (milk and either vinegar or lemon juice). Brown sugar=sugar + molasses.

                      You can also freeze bananas, in the skin. It works great for banana bread/pancakes.

                  2. Danm ... no ... I HATE cooking.

                    Still not fluffy, in a banana bread way. Fearing that I might have undercooked last time, I tried leaving it in a little longer ... which burnt the outside.The dog once agajn shunned it, looking at me like "what's wrong with you, trying to feed me something like this?"

                    Here's the recipe I based it on this time incorporating lots of the above suggestions. I had yogurt.

                    My version which halved it because I wasn't going to waste all that butter.

                    1 1/2 cups Gold Medal flour
                    1 teaspoon of baking soda
                    1/4 teaspoon of salt
                    1 stick of butter
                    1 cup of sugar
                    1 egg
                    2 1/2 large bananas
                    1/2 cup yogurt

                    I gave using sugar as a dry ingredient a try.

                    Mix flour, sugar, baking soda and salt together.

                    Cream butter with the blender. Add yogurt, Add egg, Add bananas.

                    Put the mixer down and step away from it.

                    Add 1/3 of the dry mixture at a time and only gently mixing in until flour disappears.

                    Put in a bundt pan ... I've read about bundt bread banana bread ... less cooking time because of the middle.

                    Bake in a pre-heated 350 (175 c) oven until burnt ... ooops, make that 45 minutes.

                    I mean just WHAT does insert toothpick until it comes out clean mean in terms of banana bread. Even burnt, the toothpick didn't come out clean. It's banana bread.

                    Taste. Attempt to feed it to dog. Throw in trash. The rubbery bread bounced out ... ok, I'm just kidding about that last part ... but it was possible

                    Did I mention I hate cooking?

                    14 Replies
                    1. re: rworange

                      I'm sorry you're having a difficult time with this. It took me a while to turn out a decent loaf of banana bread, but if you're really frustrated, now may be the time to come up with alternative ways to use up your bananas.


                      1. re: LoBrauHouseFrau

                        Well, banana booze certainly has a peal ... especially right now However, having tried liquors in the past, it would be a waste of vodka. Maybe I should just start with a few shots of vodka and then tackle the bread.

                      2. re: rworange

                        hold on....you said you used *just* baking soda and not any baking powder, correct? i think that's part of the problem. powder will give the batter more of a lift.

                        1. re: rworange

                          Baking is a science so I'd try a recipe and follow it exactly. You want to beat the butter w/ the sugar, add the bananas, mixer is fine for this. Whisk together the dry (meaning the "dry" in baking, not including the sugar). Add 1/3 dry mix, fold until it's uniform. Add 1/2 sour cream/yogurt, fold. Continue, finishing with dry. It's tempting to fool around w/ the directions and it can work but only if you know what you're looking for at each stage for the results. If I were going to do it your way, and consider the sugar as part of the dry ingredients, I'd beat the butter (cut into chunks) into that first until I got coarse crumbs. Then slowly add the sour cream and bananas mixed together. Once liquid and flour mix and you stir, you start developing gluten.

                          Maybe you could dip the bananas in chocolate, roll in nuts and then freeze?

                          1. re: chowser

                            This is a good visual--they added the bananas in parts w/ the dry, and added the sour cream to the wet instead.


                          2. re: rworange

                            If you didn't overmix, it's the yogurt. I have never successfully made a bread or cake with yogurt in it. Many tasted fine, but they were all rubbery.

                            Here's my family's tried and true banana bread.

                            Oven to 325, lightly greased loaf pan. (I use silicone so I don't grease.)

                            Mash: 3 large bananas
                            Add: 1 cup sugar (or less if bananas are supersweet.)
                            Beat in 1 egg, and 4 Tbsp butter (yes, you really need this), melted and cooled

                            In separate bowl:
                            Whisk 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp baking soda

                            Add the wet to the dry and just mix until everything is wet. Bake for about 55 minutes.

                            I have made many banana bread recipes, but always come back to this one. It tastes like sweet bananas and nothing else. When it first comes out of the oven, it has a fantastic crisp top that will stay until it cools and you cover it to store it.

                            1. re: Isolda

                              Well, I'll give that a shot next. I tried this recipe this time following it to the letter ... almost.

                              I suspect that the oven temperature is wrong, and I'm dealing with celcius. Its about 100 degrees outside ... I probalby just could leave the pan in the sun and it would bake.

                              So I reduced the oven temperature and cooking time to 30 mintues and the spot on the dial mid-way between 130 and 200. I baked it till the top just turned golden and started to crack

                              Still on the spongy side to the touch .... I'm with the dog here ... I seriously can not eat another piece of banana bread. I'm freezing the 25 other bananas and trying to talk people into smoothies. If not, then future banana bread ... way in the future.

                              This thread has one major usefulness for me ... to link to the next time some cooking nymph blithely chirps how easy it is to make pie crust. If I can't make stupid banana bread, who in their right mind would tell me to make pie crust.

                              I appreciate all the tips. Thanks again. There just are some people who can't be helped.

                              If anyone buys Moderinst Cuisine and there's a sous vide banana bread ... or some such thing ... let me know. Supposedly the whole point of that book is if you follow instructions to the letter, things come out fool-proof.

                              1. re: rworange

                                I'm sorry you are having such a hard time with the banana bread. Can you also make smoothies with the frozen bananas?

                                Anyway, maybe when you're in the mood again, post the recipe first and then we can give you hints. Your earlier recipe with the butter, I would have approached the prep a different way.

                                But, generally speaking, when you are creaming butter and sugar together, you can do that for about 5 minutes. The creamed butter makes everything a bit lighter. Then, add the eggs, one a time, beating each egg with the butter for about a minute, for full incorporation.

                                It's only when you add the flour mixture is when you underbeat. usually, it's 1/2 the flour mixture, liquid then the other half of the flour mixture. If you add all the flour at once, then you really make sure to beat slowly to incorporate. Some flour left is ok, I just fold that in.

                                Lastly, do you have nuts? I like to put in a cup of chopped nuts into my banana bread. Well, I also like unsweetened coconut with it as well (a cup) and it gives it a great textural contrast.

                                1. re: beetlebug

                                  I'll use isolda's recipe next. I like the thought of the butter/oil combo.

                                  One of the suggestions above was to use sugar as a dry ingredient, and that seemed to make some sense to me so I gave that a try. For the third try, I was also thinking maybe there needed to be more flour, so the 2 cups seemed logical

                                  You would think banana bread would be fool-proof and forgiving.

                                  Hmmm ... coconut. Certainly have enough of that around here.

                                  I thought I'd go to the source ... Chiquita bananas for the recipe ... obviously the recipe department has never been in Guatemala ... wheat bran ... ja, ja, ja, ja, ja

                                2. re: rworange

                                  LOL! After all of your attempts, you honestly deserve to make and eat the World's Greatest Banana Bread, maybe one that cures cancer, prevents malaria, and brings world peace.

                                  In the meantime, try mine. Sorry about the non-metric measures.

                                  1. re: Isolda

                                    I also was very disappointed with the CI best banana bread recipe. Mine was rubbery and the taste of butter drowned out the banana flavor. I really don't think I overbeat it.

                                    1. re: laredo

                                      I love the original Best Recipe banana bread, if made with whole milk yogurt. Over a decade later, it's still my main go-to recipe.

                                      1. re: chowser

                                        i just made my first rubbery loaf. modified recipe, lower sugar, apple sauce instead of egg and oil, baking powder and baking soda, whole milk and a little yogurt, mixed lightly. just noticed i used bread flour instead of ap. i think that is main reason rubbery.

                                        1. re: divadmas

                                          I'm glad you resurrected this thread. My daughter called me a few weeks ago from Boston asking for my banana bread recipe (which is actually banana cake but is also my go to recipe for banana bread) for a special brunch.

                                          Well, she made it and gave it a special name - Banana Brick. We went over everything afterwards, she said she used ingredients called for (sour cream is the secret). I have made this so many times with great success. I suspect pan size is to blame and she didn't put enough batter in the pan. She told me she had a lot leftover and she shouldn't have. She's a new cook, this is how we learn.

                                          1. "Proud" chef and her Banana Brick
                                          2. Close up

                            2. Hahahahaha....love the firestone tire analogy...I just baked one of those meself...Mine is an expensive organic carrot/rubber tire cake made without sugar so naturally I used up 2 cups of honey! Maybe the organic flour isnt self rising!