Sunday, April 27, 2008

whole-wheat banana nut bread

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My refrigerator is empty. That can mean only one of two things: either I have lost my interest in cooking, or I'm so wrapped up in other things that I haven't had a chance to do anything more in my kitchen than make a bowl of cereal or heat up a can of soup. I think we all know it isn't the former. However, since most of those other things that are keeping me busy are good things, I can't really complain. (Except about that soup, which was terrible.) I really thought about cooking something a little more ambitious this weekend, but life got in the way then, too. In fact, the only reason I was able to make banana bread today is because I bought the bananas -- lime green at the time -- over a week ago. They were starting to reach the use-'em-or-lose-'em stage, so I put down the stack of resumes I was pouring over and mashed up the bananas for my favorite quick bread.

Banana Bread 20150511 05

Of the many banana breads and muffins I have made or purchased in my life, this one is the very best. Sure, every baker says that, but I really, really mean it. It's ultra-moist, full of banana flavor, and -- bonus -- not totally terrible for you, thanks to the whole-wheat flour. I usually prefer it in its unadulterated form, but occasionally I'll make a batch with toasted nuts, rum-soaked raisins, or a little bit of coconut. Yes, this recipe will let you have it your way, so go ahead and make a batch. I promise you'll think it is the very best, too.

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[This recipe was submitted for the Banana Bread Bakeoff as well as the April edition of Tasty Tools, which celebrates scoops -- excellent tools for making sure your batter is evenly divided between pans.]

Whole-Wheat Banana Nut Bread
A recipe from Williams-Sonoma: Baking
Makes two 8 1/2 by 4 1/2-inch loaves

2 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 cups mashed ripe bananas (4 large bananas)
4 eggs
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 8 1/2 by 4 1/2-inch loaf pans.

In a bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In another bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until blended. Beat in the banana and then beat in the eggs until completely mixed; don't worry if the mixture looks lumpy and curdled. Stir in the nuts. Fold in the combined dry ingredients until just incorporated.

Divide the batter equally among the prepared pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Allow to cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.


  1. Oh good! I was just hoping to make banana bread in the next few days with Kennedy (daughter). We will definitely use this recipe - as I can't find my grama's anywhere.

    I'll post a pic when we make it.

  2. I LOVE that she bakes with you! (The picture of Kennedy with the olive oil is priceless.) I hope she likes the banana bread better than the doggie treats she has been nibbling on lately!

  3. looks hearty and moist and delicious, three things all banana bread should be. nicely done!

  4. Even though I already have a favorite recipe for banana bread, I will certainly give this recipe a try. Who knows it may be my new favorite too! :)

  5. Grace -- Yes, it's definitely all three of those. I'm especially fond of the distinct banana flavor it has, since some recipes can be a little lackluster in that respect.

    Mandy -- At the very least, perhaps it can be your favorite whole-wheat banana bread recipe!

  6. Have had some issues with this recipe. It worked great for years. Lately, it's cooked on the edges and loaves fall in the middle. When this recipe turns out, it is far and away the best banana bread I have tasted.

  7. Hands down - this is THE BEST banana bread recipe ever! (White or whole wheat). This has become a family favorite since I discovered your blog 2 yrs back. (Even my French cousin loves it - and those Frenchies are picky!) Help! - my sister is allergic to egg there any way to make this recipe just as yummy without the yolks?

  8. Great recipe... I had some overripe bananas and found your recipe among others but I chose yours as it had wholewheat flour. Thanks!

  9. thank you SO much for posting this!

    I hung on to that WS baking cook book for years for this recipe alone. I *thought* I had scanned it to save so I could give the book away (cleaning out) and then I could not find it for the life of me - and my oven is preheating RIGHT NOW. So, praise the Lord in heaven you posted it on line. God bless you!!

    Hands down, no competition, THE most delicious banana bread on planet earth.

    Donna in KC

  10. If you're having some trouble with it sinking a bit in the middle, try using an oven thermometer to check that your oven temperature is accurate. Also, if you're using 4 mashed bananas instead of measuring out 2 cups of mashed bananas, that might be the issue. Most of the time I take the risk and just mash up 4 big bananas and mix without measuring first. But you can see in the pictures above that my loaves sank a little in the center. I call it "rustic" and move on, but it can be corrected. The mashed banana in excess of 2 cups decreases the stability of the loaf -- thus, the sinking.

  11. Sounds delish! i love to add chopped walnuts to my bread, as well as the occasional handful of toffee chips. ;-)