Banana bread is a delicious treat and a great way to use overripe bananas. Blackening bananas aren’t very appealing, but the fruit inside is still good. Baking a loaf of bread with them is the perfect way to enjoy bananas you wouldn’t otherwise eat. Also, it can be changed to suit any taste, making it the perfect dessert for every occasion. In addition, it’s cheap to make and easy, too.
Begin your banana bread by choosing three ripe bananas. Look for ones with blackening skins because they are soft and loaded with flavor. You can use the ones on your counter that no one wants to eat anymore because they are getting black, or you can ripen some you just bought. To do that, put them in the freezer overnight, and in the morning, they will be black and perfectly ripe.
Put the bananas into a bowl. Mash them until they are smooth. A potato masher works perfectly, but you can also use the back of a spoon or a fork. Just make sure there are no big lumps of banana, so everything cooks evenly. Put the bowl aside for now.
Put 1 1/4 cups of sugar, one stick (1/2 cup) of softened butter, and two eggs into another bowl. Use a whisk to make sure all of the ingredients are mixed together. Add the bananas you mashed, along with 1/2 cup of buttermilk to get all of the ingredients moist. You can also use regular milk or cream, but buttermilk adds a richer flavor than those. Also, add one teaspoon of vanilla extract and stir everything together until it is smooth. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together 2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour, one teaspoon of baking soda, and one teaspoon of salt. A great part of banana bread is being able to change some of the ingredients to suit any taste. Here is one of those times. One teaspoon of cinnamon is usually stirred in with the dry ingredients at this point, but you can also put in nutmeg, cloves, allspice, or any other spices you like.
Add the dry ingredients to the banana mixture. Gently stir until all ingredients are mixed together and moist. Do not stir any more than you have to, though. The bread batter will get chewy if you stir it too much because mixing flour with liquids activates the gluten proteins that give the bread its structure. The more you mix, the more structure you get, which can make the bread too dense.
Here is another chance to customize your banana bread to suit your tastes. Some people like nuts in theirs, but others do not. If you would like to add them, now is the time. Chop one cup of whichever kind of nuts you prefer, whether it be walnuts, pecans, almonds, peanuts, or any combination of those, and gently stir them into the banana mixture. Again, be careful not to stir too much.
Divide the batter evenly into two parts because this recipe is enough for two loaves of banana bread. Perfect if you want to give one away and keep one for yourself. Now grease the bottom of two 8” loaf pans with non-stick spray or vegetable oil. Do not grease the sides of the pans, though, just the bottoms. Otherwise, the grease will dissolve and leave a ring around the top of the bread. The bread batter will separate from the sides as it’s cooking, anyway.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Preheating the oven is an important step when cooking and baking. The oven needs to be the same temperature throughout in order to cook what’s inside evenly. There is a risk of burning the top of your dish before the inside is done if you put in what you’re cooking before that happens.
Pour the batter into each loaf pan and bake for one hour. Stick a toothpick into the loaves to see if the bread is done baking. You will know it is if you pull out the toothpick and it is clean. Leave the loaves in the oven for another 10 - 15 minutes if you pull out the toothpick and batter is stuck to it.
Take your banana bread loaves out of the oven and put them onto a cooling rack. Cool the loaves completely. If you cut into a loaf while it is still hot, it will crumble. The bread actually continues to set while it cools, so give the loaves about 1 1/2 hours to do so. Once they have cooled entirely, cut a slice, and enjoy your delicious banana bread.