That There Banana Bread

I was asked recently at an event for the recipe for the banana bread that I brought, and I thought I might as well put it here, in case anyone else is interested. Of course, the “recipe” for the bread I brought and the actual recipe differ somewhat, less due to improvements or modifications and more due to lack of ingredients and improvisation. I’ll give you the actual recipe first and then note my amendments to the most recent batch. Both are equally good.

This is not my recipe; it comes from a Pillsbury cookbook that belonged to my mother, and it was transcribed by me into my cookbook on March 7, 1986.

Banana Bread

makes one loaf

1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 mashed bananas (overripe)
1/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons orange juice
1/4 teaspoon lemon juice (optional)
1 egg
1/4 to 1/2 cup raisins

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour the bottom of a 9″x5″ or 8″x4″ pan. In a large bowl, blend all ingredients. Beat 3 minutes at medium speed. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes. Toothpick check.

Four miniature loaves can be made by using 5″ x 1 1/2″ pans or soup cans. Bake 35 to 40 minutes.

I have never made miniature loaves. Also, I usually use less salt, and I never, ever (unless I’m making it for my mom) add raisins. No no no.

As for the version I made on Sunday:

I used very, very overripe bananas, as I usually do. In fact, they were bananas I had put in the fridge thinking I’d make banana bread really soon and thus chose the fridge over the freezer. I did not make banana bread soon, so these were the ultimate in slimey and unappetizing. It is fine. You can use the worst bananas in the world.

In this case, I actually only had 2 bananas, so I threw in some unsweetened applesauce that I happened to have in order to add the extra moisture. I also did not have orange juice, so I threw in a little lemon juice (I didn’t measure) and added some more sweetener. I was just going to add more sugar, but I’d put the sugar away, and the maple syrup was right there, so I added maybe a teaspoon of that. Again, I didn’t measure.

I usually use my handmixer, but I don’t bother to time things. When I lived with my mother, I used her KitchenAid mixer. I’ve also made it entirely by beating by hand, with a spoon or an egg beater. This works better if your bananas are, as above, seriously soft, and if you melt the butter first, or at least soften it quite a bit. I have never noticed any great difference resulting from softening or melting the butter, if that is your concern. This is a forgiving sort of recipe. I have been making it now for almost 25 years, which is rather astounding.


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