Since the pandemic started, I have been reading a lot of snark about the rising popularity of banana bread. To these poeple, I say: relax. Let people bake what they want. Banana bread is a great thing to make and eat. It’s easy; it’s quick; it’s delicious; and there are so many variations of it. It’s good for breakfast, as dessert; toasted, not toasted. And it keeps well in an air-tight container so will last a few days.

The best bananas to make bread with are the overripe ones. I make my banana bread with black bananas. I smell them just to make sure they still smell like banana. If they do, great! If not, I err on the side of caution and throw them away. (Overripe does not mean rotting, mouldy, or a fruit-fly attraction.)

So, new bakers of the pandemic — this is a simple, forgiving recipe that yields one hearty loaf of banana bread. I did not have many of the original recipe ingredients at hand, but banana bread is quite flexible — so I substituted. For example, the original calls for all-purpose flour, but I replaced it with wheat flour (and a couple of teaspoons of water) for a denser loaf. We did not have any baking soda in the pantry, so I used baking powder instead, doubling the amount. Instead of vegetable oil, I used coconut oil instead.

This recipe comes from Drew’s mom. It was adapted from a March 2013 issue of Bon Appetit. My recipe is adapted from hers. Thanks, Drew’s mom!

Ingredients

If you opt to add the optional items below, slightly adjust the amount of flour you add. Not by much; but you definitely don’t want to add any more.

  • 200 grams (1.75 cups) of wheat flour
  • 1,5 tsp baking soda (or 3 tsp of baking powder)
  • 0,75 tsp of kosher salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 250 grams (1,25 cups) of sugar (I know! It’s a lot!) — brown is better than white
  • about two large (1 cup) mashed bananas — the more overripe, the better
  • 150 grams (3/4 cup) of coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • a dollop of honey
  • (optional) 3 tbsp of dessicated coconut flakes
  • (optional) 50 grams (1/2 cup) of chopped walnuts
  • (optional) a small handful of walnuts for decoration

Method

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Coat a loaf pan with baking spray (or butter/oil). I prefer lining the pan with baking paper instead for easier removal later. It doesn’t really matter.

Step 2

Whisk the flour, baking soda and salt together.

Step 2

In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, mashed bananas, oil, and vanilla extract until it’s smooth.

Step 3

Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir it until it’s all just combined. Overmixing encourages gluten to develop and the result is a rubbery, not-so-great banana bread.

Step 3a

If you have them, add the optional coconut flakes and chopped walnuts to the mix.

Step 4

Pour the batter into the loaf pan, and add the handful of walnuts on top for decoration.

Step 5

Bake in the oven for around 45-60 minutes — when the top starts to get a little too brown, maybe around the 20 minute mark, cover the top with foil to protect it from burning — until the centre of the bread comes out clean with a toothpick/knife.

Funny story: Our oven is very badly designed so we don’t actually have an accurate temperature gauge! I know right! What are we doing baking in a faulty oven?! I don’t know but it just means we go through a lot of toothpick testers.

Step 6

Let the bread cool in the pan for around fifteen minutes.

The bread can be stored airtight at room temperature for a 2-3 days. It’s delicious sliced and toasted before serving.