Banana bread is probably my most frequently baked recipe - it's perfect to have for breakfast, ideal for an afternoon treat, salvages the sad looking bananas that I forgot I bought a week ago and is an easy batch bake providing a couple of loaves to stockpile in the freezer for another day. It is also a versatile loaf that lends itself to various additions. In the past, I've added walnuts, coconut, chocolate, even blueberries once when I had spare needing used up. I think my favourite remains the basic plain banana bread - cut into a thick slice, it is excellent grilled and buttered. My husband, however, has a significant sweet tooth and a weakness for chocolate - which is why I now have three loaves in my freezer loaded up with an assortment of chocolate chips, waiting for his breakfasts over the coming couple of weeks.
To make banana bread, you'll first want to preheat your oven to 165C/150C Fan (325°F), grease and flour your loaf tins. This recipe easily yields three loaves if using a 900g/2lb loaf tin, but you could make this in smaller or larger tins, and it's also a handy muffin batter.
Start by peeling and mashing your bananas. This recipe calls for around 6 to 8 ripe bananas - if you're also using other add-ins such as nuts or chocolate, I find that 4 or 5 medium-sized bananas will work just fine. You can mash these up easily with a fork and then set aside.
In a separate medium bowl, sift together your dry ingredients - flour, bicarbonate soda, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg - setting aside as well.
Meanwhile, in the bowl of an electric stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, beat your softened butter and sugar. You can also do this by hand - I regularly opt for melting my butter and whisking it with the sugar rather than using the stand mixer. It just amounts to equipment access and/or personal preference as there will be little significant impact on the final product! Once your sugar and butter are creamed, add your eggs and beat until incorporated.
Then, beat in your dry ingredients, alternating with the mashed bananas (I always do three additions of the flour, interspersed with two additions of bananas) and add any extras, such as chocolate. Once mixed together, it is time to pour into prepared baking tins and pop in the oven. Baking three tins of the 900g/2lb size will take about 60 minutes in the oven. Muffins are often much quicker and you should regularly check them from about 25-30mins to see how they are progressing. In any case, as usual, the tried and true test is a skewer inserted into the centre coming out clean. Once baked, remove from the oven and let cool in the tin for a couple of minutes before flipping out onto a wire rack.
Once baked, I usually leave the loaves to cool completely before packaging to freeze. Of course, that is assuming that I don't immediately start cutting into one for a snack! I would say that, frozen, they can last for a few months, but in practice they rarely make it more than a few weeks in my house...but, the cycle of forgetting that I bought bananas will quickly come again to restock my supplies!
- 4 cups plain flour (610g)
- 2 teaspoon bicarbonate (baking) soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened (250g)
- 2 cups caster sugar (450g)
- 4 large eggs
- 6 ripe bananas mashed with a fork
- chocolate chips and/or walnuts (optional)
- Preheat oven to 165C/150C Fan (325°F). Grease and flour three loaf tins.
- In a medium bowl, sift together flour, bicarbonate soda and spices.
- In a large bowl cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs and beat until incorporated.
- Add flour mixture to butter mixture, alternating with mashed bananas, beating until smooth after each addition.
- If using any optional additions, fold these in to the batter.
- Pour into prepared loaf tins and bake for about 60 to 65 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan for a couple of minutes before flipping out onto a baking rack to cool.