Best Banana Bread Season 1 Round 1
Nothing welcomes a new neighbor better than banana bread. If you want to make a good first impression with your neighbors, follow along with this tournament to find out the best banana bread recipe.
There are lots of add ins for banana bread: chocolate chips, nuts, poppy seeds, but I omitted any add ins the recipes might have called for so all breads had a fair shot. It’s easy enough to add your favorite add ins to the best bread batter.
Meet the contenders
Alexandra Cooks adapted her recipe from Mrs. Myers’ recipe and provides both directions in the recipe card. I followed Alexandra’s adaptations for the taste testing. The recipe calls for 8 ripe mashed bananas or 1 quart, I counted out the 8 bananas. This is a large recipe of banana bread, plenty to take around to neighbors, or freeze for another day. Buttermilk is another ingredient in this recipe that I don’t normally use, but I loved the layer of flavor it added. Buy a quart at the store and use the leftovers to make some fantastic pancakes! The recipe provides instructions for using frozen bananas, I used fresh, but have used both interchangeably, use what is on hand.
Oh Sweet Basil recipe is just enough for one loaf, feel free to double for more. Recognize that the ratios listed on the recipe card are for one loaf and plan accordingly. I’ve been known to triple a recipe to use up all the bananas I have. This is a two-bowl recipe, no mixer required, but if you want to use a mixer keep it on a low speed. I used the canola oil called for, feel free to replace the oil with melted butter if that’s what floats your boat.
My Frugal Adventures includes optional directions. I followed the original recipe by using buttermilk and skipping the walnuts. Oil is the fat recommended, and I used canola, again, melted butter is an option. Directions for this recipe include mixing by hand, this just keeps the bread from becoming chewy if the flour is stirred too much. A mixer is fine as long as it is a slow speed and not left running too long. For the taste test I mixed by hand.
Finally the Reluctant Entertainer recipe with sour cream (as the title implies). I don’t often have sour cream on hand because my husband is lactose intolerant, and even including lactose products in cooked products can make his tummy uncomfortable. Sour cream is in the recipe, so I used sour cream. If you have an issue with lactose products there are lactose-free options for sour cream, or our favorite substitution is plain greek yogurt. The cultures in the yogurt help my husband digest the lactose better without the discomfort. And that’s my two-cents on that topic. I measured out the mashed bananas because the measurement was provided.
Any basic kitchen equipment will work just fine here, but in case you are just starting out or looking to upgrade, here’s some of my favorite equipment for making banana bread.
A nice set of mixing bowls. I love stainless mixing bowls because they clean up easily and the oils or fragrances don’t stick. I still have plastic mixing bowls but those usually get absconded as popcorn bowls (we eat a lot of popcorn and everyone needs their own bowl).
Some of the recipes say to mix with a wooden spoon, that’s not my thing. I’ll always go for a silicone spatula over a wooden spoon. Maybe I’m crazy. I love spatulas with a strong handle from top to bottom. Look for a spatula that is stiff so it can handle mixing thick batters.
Of course a bread pan is necessary. I have several different sizes. For these taste tests I made itty bitty loaves in this awesome pan. These pans are available at lots of craft stores, and generally you can use a coupon to get them at a discounted price. If I’m making bread just for my family I use a regular loaf pan.
To test doneness I always use my finger and press gently in the middle of the loaf. If the bread bounces back it’s done. If it stays sunken it needs a few more minutes. Toothpicks are a popular tool, or a reusable option is a cake pick.
First Round Banana Bread Winner
The sour cream, butter, and lower flour ratio in the Reluctant Entertainer recipe provided an excellent crumb and rich flavor. Banana flavor was strong and the bread was fabulously moist (ah, that word). It wasn’t a unanimous vote, but this recipe decidedly came out on top.
What is your favorite add-in, tell me in the comments below. My friend’s kids won’t even eat banana bread unless it has chocolate chips in it. Other taste testers wanted a glaze over the top of the loaf. This recipe can stand on its own, but those additions would escalate the taste!
Check out the other rounds of competition, 2, 3, and final. Share what recipe was your favorite with other readers on social media using #whopinneditbest. Follow all the other tournaments and get access to exclusive recipes by signing up for the email list.