Best Banana Bread Season 1, Final Round
Well, we’ve certainly been consuming our fair share of potassium, no leg cramps around here. A little bonus find, my grocery store sells very ripe bananas at a discount! Bananas aren’t very expensive anyway, but when you are making 4 banana bread recipes every few days it can add up, and I didn’t have time to wait for green bananas to get overripe, so it was a double win. Check at your grocery store as well to see if you can buy bananas ready for these banana bread recipes.
The round 1 contender from The Reluctant Entertainer was a favorite because of the crumb texture and the amount of moisture in the slice. Sour cream provided the extra moisture and some help keeping the texture just right.
Preliminary rounds finished up with a win in round 3 by Natasha’s Kitchen. This round came down to the wire, with all contestants receiving multiple votes, so a larger sample size was required, and this recipe just beat out the others. I definitely recommend that you try all the recipes from round 3 to determine your favorite.
Just to mix things up a bit, I included my own recipe in this championship round. I’ve been playing with banana bread recipes for quite a while (even before this tournament), and wanted something with a little extra flavor. As mentioned in previous posts, I’m not crazy about banana flavor, but I do love banana and caramel together. OK, I love pretty much anything with caramel. I tweaked a few recipes and tested my own a few times and decided to test the metal against these other winning recipes.
Frozen or Fresh? And Other Tips
Some of the recipes tried throughout the tournament specifically called for fresh, overripe bananas, while others specifically called for frozen overripe bananas. What do you typically use in your banana bread recipes? I almost always use frozen, defrosted, overripe bananas. I leave bananas in the fruit basket until my kids and hubby eat them up or they go brown. Once they have more brown than yellow I throw them in my freezer. When I’m digging around the freezer for the pint of bunny track ice cream I find the 12 frozen bananas and realize it’s time to make some banana bread.
During the tournament it was apparent that the recipes that called for frozen bananas had more banana flavor. In fact, the recipe I created relies on frozen bananas to cool the butter/sugar mixture (can you guess what flavor that delicious combo creates?). But the mush of a frozen banana grosses out my husband so I didn’t tell him which recipe called for frozen or fresh, he was determined that fresh bananas would taste better than the frozen. It seemed like the frozen banana recipes also were more moist because of the extra juices from the defrosted banana.
And if that doesn’t inspire trying frozen bananas, I don’t know what will. LOL
Banana bread needs to be treated gently. The butter, sugar, eggs, and bananas can be whipped, but the dry ingredients need to be sifted and folded in. If the dry ingredients are whipped or beaten in they will cry and become tough. The bread will be really chewy and crumbly. A lot of the recipes just stated to throw everything in together in one bowl and mix with a spoon until mostly incorporated.
The loaf pan is important too. I love having my mini loaf pan, and not just for these cooking trials. A regular sized loaf pan should be non-stick, uniform thickness around the sides and bottom. I love these loaf pans for any breads I’m making. One tip for baking the bread, if the tops are getting too dark and it isn’t cooked yet, lower the temperature about 25 degrees and increase the baking time. This will make sure the crust doesn’t burn and the inside is fully cooked.
Best of the Best Banana Bread
Any of the contenders are a great choice when you have a bunch of overripe bananas in your fruit basket or freezer. The champion of season 1 Best Banana Bread was the recipe I created. The method of mixing creates a fantastic, rich caramel flavor that is a great compliment to the banana. The texture was soft and tender, and the bread was far from dry.
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What recipe or add-in did I forget? Share your thoughts in the comments, or send me an email with the recipe I need to include in Season 2.