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Banana bread is one of the other things I reinvented pretty early on–there are always a few bananas that no one wants to eat that you have to do something with! In addition, Sean really likes to eat it for breakfast :-). Unfortunately, though Sean liked some of the versions I produced from recipes found on the internet, I didn’t. My tongue was accustomed to something sweeter and lighter. This isn’t quite identical to the “add two cups of sugar” version from my childhood, but I find it a very good compromise, since the whole wheat flour and natural sugars are much better for me! It is still moist, bouncy and banana-y, and really, what more could you ask for?

Just remember, banana bread recipes of all kinds really should be made with very ripe bananas. You know, the ones that smell sweet, are turning very dark brown, have spots and/or bruises…in short, the ones no one in the house wants to eat anymore. You can fake it with ripe bananas (pure yellow ones–still edible by themselves and no browning), but it won’t work well with bananas that are still a little green–they don’t mash up well at all. Besides, the slightly green ones are still good for eating!

In addition, this recipe will turn out without the nuts in it; I just really prefer the added texture and flavor of some nuts. I’ve been known to substitute pecans when I’m out of walnuts, but walnuts are my favorite in this bread. Of course, if you have a nut allergy you’ll certainly want to omit them! Some people also just don’t like nuts–I know this recipe works without them because one of my brothers-in-law is such a person and I make it nut-free if he’s going to eat it.

No matter which way you like it, try this out. I think you’ll enjoy it!

Ingredients:

  • 4.5 Tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup mashed banana (about two biggish ones), preferable very ripe (riper than you want to eat, turning dark)
  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup fine powdered dry milk (doesn’t matter if it is instant or non-instant)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup unbleached white flour
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large bowl beat together butter and honey until smooth and light, almost kinda fluffy. Add the eggs and beat. Add juice or water, mashed banana, and vanilla and beat again until well combined.

In a separate bowl combine the powdered dry milk, baking powder, baking soda and both kinds of flour. Mix until well combined.

Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture (the first bowl of stuff :D) and mix to combine.

Add the nuts if you are using them. Mix in until they are well distributed. This shouldn’t take more than a few strokes.

Grease a bread pan (I use a stoneware pan that is about 9×5). ¬†Put the batter into the greased pan and smooth the top. Bake in the preheated oven for 50-70 minutes (though mine really does usually take about an hour) until golden and a wooden skewer or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (no doughyness on it). Remove bread from oven. Place it on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. At the end of 10 minutes run a butter knife all the way around the edge of the pan, between the bread and the wall of the pan. Tip the loaf onto the cooling rack and set it right side up. Let sit until completely cool (or mostly so…) and then enjoy!

You can freeze this bread, but do so unsliced and let thaw on the counter for 3-5 hours (until completely thawed) before attempting to slice!