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Making banana bread less moist without reducing # bananas

I have been using the following recipe to make banana bread (I got it somewhere on this board and modified it slightly although I don't remember exactly what I changed) and it's been coming out a little on the moist side.

We love moist banana bread but it's a little too gooey even though fully cooked and cooled (a tester comes out clean). What can I do without reducing the number of bananas, to dry up the next batch a bit? I thought adding more flour might do it but I was worried about upsetting the balance of leavening agents.

2 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar (a mixture of white and brown)
4 medium smashed bananas
1/3 cup of milk, poured over lemon juice
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg
Chopped walnuts/chocolate

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  1. Most simply, maybe lower the cooking temp toward the end and cook for longer to dry the bread more.

    More nit-picky: Moisture in your banana bread comes from the eggs + bananas + milk + butter + walnuts/chocolate (minimally). You could try reducing the butter or use a low-fat milk? Fat content helps keep the bread moist.

    1 Reply
    1. re: youngmodernist

      I actually did lower the temp from 350 to 320 about 20 minutes in since the top had started to brown, and I'm using 1% milk.

    2. no milk..substitue yougurt...or maybe even cream cheese....and cut back to one egg. I use 3 bananas, 1 egg, cream cheese or yogurt, and a different spice combo.along with blueberries...............it gets raves

      1. I'd reduce the milk - I don't use any milk or other liquids at all in my banana bread. Or in any of my quick breads that include fresh fruit, come to think of it.

        Just eggs, and the fruit, and sometimes some honey.

        1. try cooking out some of the moisture from the bananas first. i use "banana butter" in my BB recipe. for me, banana butter means cooking the pureed banana down with some brown sugar, then adding a little vanilla and spices if needed. you can do it on the stovetop or in the microwave. concentrate flavor, decrease moisture...

          1 Reply
          1. re: Emme

            That sounds like a good idea. I'll give it a try, thanks.

          2. America's Test Kitchen uses 4 very over ripe bananas. They smash the bananas and drain the liquid through a sieve then reduce the liquid to 1/4 cup. This eliminates the excess moisture and intensifies the banana flavor.

            BTW, they still use the smashed bananas.. just in case I wasn't clear about that.

            5 Replies
            1. re: Hank Hanover

              You've omitted a vital step. ATK recipe - the most recent one - nukes very ripe bananas first, then mashes and drains before reducing the liquid volume by about half. And if memory serves, it's 5 bananas, plus a 6th that is untouched until it is sliced and shingled over the top of the batter in the loaf pan before baking.

                1. re: Hank Hanover

                  You're incorrect, Hank. Even without paid membership, you can see the "why this recipe works" paragraph on the CI website. It specifically says that the SIXTH banana is the one topping the loaf. http://www.cooksillustrated.com/recip...

              1. re: Hank Hanover

                That's really interesting; I don't think my bananas *have* any liquid. Unless they puree them?

                1. re: tinnywatty

                  Oh, yes they do! If you freeze a whole banana in its peel, then thaw it, it will leak copious amounts of fluid. Draining and reducing that accomplishes the same thing as nuking. ATK came up with the nuking idea because freeze/thaw requires planning ahead and is not practical if you want to bake right away.

                1. re: magiesmom

                  Yes, the recipe is out of balance because of the addition of the milk. Really, there's no need to overbake the batter trying to dry it out, or to go to great lengths trying to dry out the bananas.

                  Bananas are 75% water - no additional liquid is needed. It's the milk that's putting it over the top.

                  Try it without the milk - if it's still too moist, THEN the OP might move towards something like pureeing the bananas and cooking the moisture out. The milk is serving no purpose here.

                  There's about the equivalent of one extra banana in this compared to my recipe, and a little less flour, so it may still end up being a bit too moist even after you exclude the milk. So the idea about dehydrating the banana pulp a bit may still come in handy. But the milk is the real culprit at this point.

                  1. re: KitchenBarbarian

                    this isn't a bad idea, but if OP decides to omit the milk entirely (which is made into a buttermilk), i suggest cutting the baking soda to 1/4 tsp and increasing the baking powder by 1/4 - 1/2 tsp. otherwise, the idea to sub in some yogurt is a good one, and this will react with the baking soda, in place of the buttermilk.

                  1. Must have oatmeal in my banana bread. Since I will never buy the instant, I process rolled oats briefly before adding to batter. Why not add 1/2 c oats to your recipe?

                    1. I would try to use 1 egg. You certainly have enough leavening agents, for the bread to rise. You have very little fat in your recipe so the two eggs are probably part of the fat makeup of the bread which affects the moisture. You also have milk which has butterfat in it so reducing one egg might not be a bad idea, or use 1 extra large egg instead of 2 large eggs. Also you might want to try reducing your white flour and replace 1/4 cup of white flour with wholewheat. And you might want to try my recipe as follows:

                      2 to 3 large overripe bananas

                      1/2 cup of white sugar

                      1 egg

                      1/3 cup of oil

                      Sift 1 1/2 cup of unbleached flour with 1 teaspoon of baking powder, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, 1 teaspoon of salt and add to the above. Blend all together just until flour disappears and at the very last moment add a tablespoon of water to the mixture. Put in a loaf pan and cook at 350 for 40-60 minutes. You can also add chocolate chips, crystalized ginger, blueberries to mixture. I do not put nuts in my banana bread. My recipe comes from an old church cookbook...