Flour’s Famous Banana Bread. Hands down the best Banana bread recipe ever.
When it comes to banana bread, there is only one recipe I have come across that beats all. Flour bakery’s famous banana bread. I had made a version of this banana bread before way back in the day (hence the not so great photos) and decided it was time to make it again. The first time I posted this recipe I made a slightly healthier version with applesauce, but this time I stuck to the original recipe and used oil.
Before we talk about this bread, let’s first talk about Flour. No not the all purpose kind the bakery in Boston where this recipe originated from. I swear I’m not promoting this recipe simply because it’s Boston based, it’s just seriously that good. I have had the Flour cookbook now for a few years, and have made quite a few recipes out of it, including these homemade Oreos. Everything in the book is just out of this world. Joanne seriously knows what she is doing. I used to live around the corner from this bakery in Cambridge, which was dangerous. One shouldn’t be able to go for a run and on the way home be tempted by amazing baked goods and crazy delicious breakfast sandwiches. So if you don’t get the luxury of stopping in at the bakery in Boston on your way home, then definitely pick up a copy of the cookbook so you can whip up all of her tasty treats. You won’t be disappointed.
Like this banana bread for instance. This bread is moist, light, and full of banana flavor. It has toasted walnuts throughout, which you could leave out but I love the toasty nutty crunch. The texture of this bread also just gets better a day or two later. The original recipe calls for creme fraiche, but I always use sour cream in this recipe. Sour cream is something always I have on hand, and um like way friggin’ cheaper friends! Sour cream helps to make this break super moist and is a the perfect (purse friendly) alternative to using creme fraiche.
Banana bread is usually made with the muffin method– where your wet ingredients are added to the dry ingredients. This banana bread recipe throws the rule out the window. First, it starts with mixing your sugar and eggs together for five whole minutes with your stand mixer to incorporate a ton of air into them. This air will help to leaven your bread (in addition to the baking soda).
Now time for the oil! Because you went to all that effort to incorporate all that air, you want to be sure to add the oil slowly into your mixer. Don’t just go plopping it all in! Streaming in the oil should take about one whole minute, so take your time with this.
Next up is the star of the show- the bananas. Be sure to use ripe bananas for maximum flavor! Mash them first before adding them to the bowl. At this point you want to add in the rest of your wet ingredients- the sour cream and the vanilla. Be sure to use full fat sour cream (fat adds richness!) and pure vanilla extract. Don’t skimp on these two things. They really will make a difference in the final baked good.
In a separate bowl you want to combine your dry ingredients- flour, baking, soda, and cinnamon. Be sure to measure your flour correctly to ensure you do not add too much and end up with a dense banana bread. All of your dry ingredients will get stirred in. Do this by hand so you don’t over-mix! Now time to add your toasted walnuts.
Toasting your walnuts is essential. It will only take a few extra minutes, friends and it’s totally worth it. Promise. Simply measure our your walnuts and place on a cookie sheet and toast in the oven for about 8-10 minutes in a pre-heated 350 oven. I like to smell for when they are done, but if you are not confident on your nose to tell you when they are done just set your time. Don’t toast for longer than 10 minutes and you will be sure to not burn them. After toasting them, give them a chop! Toss them in your mixture and stir by hand.
Time to bake. Yessssssss…..almost there to crazy good banana bread.
This is the loaf pan I own and love. Be sure to butter or spray well with a non-stick cooking spray. I mean banana bread stuck in the pan is a definite bummer to your day.
Ok. Time. To Bake. And stare through the oven door, resisting the urge to sneak a peak. Seriously, who needs a Yankee candle in your house when this bad boy is baking up.
A couple baking tips:
- Be sure to use very RIPE bananas! No green bananas here folks. I like to use very yellow with lots of brown flecks. If your bananas are not ripe enough, you can actually ripen them in your oven in a jiffy! Heat your oven to 300F, and put your unpeeled bananas on a cookie sheet and place in the oven for 15-30 minutes. Perfectly ripe bananas for your bread!
- When you add the oil into your the sugar and eggs you want to S-L-O-W-L-Y add it in with your mixer on low. This step should take about a minute. So slow. If you add the oil in all at once you risk of deflating all that air you incorporated into the eggs and sugar in the step before.
- This recipe calls for toasted walnuts. I know it probably sounds like a tedious step, but it’s totally worth it. Toasting walnuts brings out the flavor and makes them so much better. So please toast them. If you have never toasted walnuts, you want to spread the walnuts on a cookie sheet and bake them for 8 to 10 minutes. No more. Any more and you run the risk of burning them and you don’t want that.
- When you go to add your flour and walnuts, you want to stop using your mixer at this point and fold them in with a spatula. By using a spatula you won’t over mix the bread, which could result in a tough dense bread.
Why This Recipe Works:
This bread is super moist because of the use of oil and sour cream in the recipe. And by using ripe bananas the bread has a great banana flavor that is balanced with the crunch and toastiness of the walnuts. And finishing the bread by mixing in the flour and walnuts by hand ensures that the bread is not over mixed. In the end you end up with a crazy super moist banana bread that just keeps getting better and better every day (you know if it lasts that long!)
The Science Behind The Sweets: Why Do You Toast Your Nuts Before Baking?
I mean wouldn’t it be easier to just throw them in the bowl and be done with it? Sure easier. I get it. But tastier? Absolutely not! Toasting your walnuts before adding them to the banana bread mixture accomplishes two things. By toasting your nuts in the oven before baking, helps to bring out their flavor. If the nuts are added to the mixture without toasting they are surrounded by all the other ingredients so they won’t get hot enough to toast on their own. And since they are surrounded by all that liquid, they also won’t get crispy! So extra flavor and extra crunch. Now that’s worth an extra few minutes isn’t it? (Source: The Kitchn)
Overripe bananas you have found your permanent home.
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Until next time, happy baking!
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 3 ½ very ripe medium bananas (1 1/3 cups mashed)
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
- Heat the oven to 325ºF degrees. Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whip attachment, beat the sugar and eggs on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. (Or whip by hand with an electric hand mixer until light and fluffy, about 8 minutes.)
- With the mixer on low speed, slowly drizzle in the oil. Be sure NOT to pour the oil in all at once; add it slowly so that it has time to incorporate into the eggs and doesn’t deflate the air you’ve just beaten into the batter. This took about 1 minute.
- Add the mashed bananas, sour cream, and vanilla and mix on low speed until just combined. Fold in the dry ingredients and nuts by hand until thoroughly combined, so there are no more flour streaks in the batter.
- Pour the batter into a buttered 9×5-inch loaf pan and bake for 60 to 75 minutes, until the top of the banana bread is golden brown and springs back when you poke it in the middle. If your finger sinks when you poke it, it needs to bake a little longer. Let cool for at least 30 minutes and then pop out of the pan and serve. Keeps for 2 to 3 days at room temperature, tightly wrapped. Or store in the freezer, tightly wrapped in plastic, for up to 2 weeks and defrost overnight at room temperature.
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