Ultimate Banana Bread

Makes one 9-inch loaf. Be sure to use very ripe, heavily speckled (or even black) bananas in this recipe. This recipe can be made using 5 thawed frozen bananas; since they release a lot liquid naturally they can bypass the microwaving in step 2 and go directly into the fine mesh strainer. The texture is best when the loaf is eaten fresh, but it can be stored (cool completely first), covered tightly with plastic wrap, for up to 3 days.
Ultimate Banana Bread
Ultimate Banana Bread

PREP TIME

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minutes

TOTAL TIME

--

minutes

SERVINGS

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servings

PREP TIME

--

minutes

TOTAL TIME

--

minutes

SERVINGS

--

servings

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4

    cups (8 3/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour

  • 1

    teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2

    teaspoon table salt

  • 5

    large, very ripe bananas, peeled

  • 8

    tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

  • 2

    large eggs

  • 3/4

    cup (5 1/4 ounces) packed light brown sugar

  • 1

    teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/2

    cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped (optional)

Directions

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 - inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. Whisk flour, baking soda and salt together in large bowl. 2. Place 5 bananas in microwave-safe bowl; cover with plastic wrap and cut several steam vents in plastic with paring knife. Microwave on high power until bananas are soft and have released liquid, about 5 minutes. Transfer bananas to fine-mesh strainer placed over medium bowl and allow to drain, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes (you should have 1/2 to 3/4 cup liquid). 3. Transfer liquid to medium saucepan and cook over medium-high heat until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat, stir reduced liquid into bananas, and mash with potato masher until fairly smooth. Whisk in butter, eggs, brown sugar and vanilla. 4. Pour banana mixture into flour mixture and stir until just combined with some streaks of flour remaining. Gently fold in walnuts, if using. Scrape batter into prepared pan. (Slice additional banana diagonally into 1/4 - inch slices. Shingle banana slices on top of either side of loaf, leaving 1 1/2 inch-wide space down center to ensure even rise.) 5. Bake until toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean, 55 to 75 minutes. Cool bread in pan on wire rack 15 minutes, then remove loaf from pan and continue to cool on wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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