Happy National Good Neighbor Day! And of course you know what that means — an excuse to bake something for the neighbors. If you’re looking for ideas, here’s one of my favorite recipes for banana bread. We’ll call it “Good Neighbor Day Banana Bread” for now, but in the past I’ve called it “the best” banana bread.
I like this recipe because it always rises nicely, the flavors are balanced and the bread is moist and slices neatly without crumbling. This banana bread is always a success, but it’s not always the same. Changing little things like coconut oil for canola or using various brands/types of yogurt affects the final outcome. For instance, the loaf below came out with kind of a squared off top. For that loaf I followed the directions as written, but used an 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch pan, a butter and canola oil combo and coconut flavored full fat yogurt.
Despite the weird squared off top, that loaf was very good! This bread always works out, but I’ll share a few tips anyway.
Tips for the Very Best Banana Bread
- Mash the bananas with a fork, leaving them a little lumpy. Also, use exactly 12 oz (weight) and don’t throw in extras or you’ll risk making the batter too heavy to rise.
- Grease only around the bottom of half inch of the pan so that the batter will cling to the sides. To ensure release, line the pan lengthwise with a sling of parchment, but leave the long sides ungreased and parchment free.
- Stir the melted butter/oil in at the end. Maybe it’s a coincidence, but when I add the melted fat last, banana breads and even pound cakes seem to rise higher. The only problem with adding it last is you may forget it, so put it where you can see it.
- Use a mixture of melted butter and oil. Coconut oil is great, but so is canola.
- Incorporate some whole wheat flour in with the all-purpose flour. It absorbs more liquid resulting in a somewhat lighter, higher rising batter. If you don’t have whole wheat flour, don’t worry about it.
- 1 1/2 cups (200 grams) all-purpose unbleached flour
- 1/2 cup (70 grams) whole wheat flour
- 3/4 cup (150 grams) of sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
- 3 large ripe bananas (12 oz)
- 1/3 cup yogurt -- plain, vanilla, coconut any fat level okay
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted or canola oil
- ½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease the bottom and short sides of an 8 ½ by 4 ½ or a 9x5 inch loaf pan and line with a strip of parchment. Grease again, only going up about ¼ inch up the sides, then dust with flour.
- Whisk together both of the flours, sugar, baking soda, salt, and salt. Add cinnamon (if using). When you whisk, do it very thoroughly so that all dry ingredients are evenly distributed.
- In a large bowl, mash the bananas with a fork, then stir in the yogurt, eggs, and vanilla.
- With a heavy duty scraper, stir the dry ingredients into the banana mixture.
- Pour the melted butter and coconut oil over the batter and stir with a heavy scraper until well blended – do not overbeat, just gently fold.
- Transfer batter to the pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle nuts over the top.
- Bake for 60-70 minutes or until it appears cracked on top and a toothpick inserted comes out clean
- Let cool for about half an hour, then loosen from pan. Let cool for another half hour, then remove from pan and let cool completely.