There are many banana bread recipes out there and a lot of them claim to produce the best loaf. But just like a brownie (cakey/ chewy/ fudgy), the banana bread has its own 'texture spectrum'. On one end is a more fluffy cake like, tender crumbed banana bread; on the other is a banana bread that is much denser, reminiscent of an Asian kueh, which is why perfection is subjective.
Over the course of a few weeks, I've baked countless banana breads, made various adjustments to the weights and have settled on a winner. This recipe is a personal favourite — a nice middle ground between fluffy and dense, with the added depth of flavour from the use of coffee and brown sugar, and reduced sugar (hence the importance of over-ripe bananas) and butter content. Having said that, personal preferences may defer from person to person. I'll also include a couple of adjustments at the end to help you achieve the banana bread texture you so desire.
(makes a 9"x4" loaf)
115g - Butter
90g - Brown sugar
25g - Caster Sugar
2 - Eggs
1 tspn - Vanilla Extract
1 tspn - Instant espresso powder
280g - Over-ripe and peeled bananas (approx. 4 medium bananas)
1 tspn - Lemon juice
A pinch of salt
1/2 tspn - Baking powder
1 tspn - Baking soda
186g - Plainflour
120ml - Buttermilk/ sour cream
1 - Medium banana
~ Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line the base of the tin with baking paper.
~ Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugars till pale and fluffy.
~ Lightly whisk the eggs, vanilla and coffee. Mix this in gradually with the butter so that the mixture doesn't split. Mash the bananas with lemon juice and fold into the batter.
~ Sift baking powder, baking soda, salt and flour. Alternate between additions of the flour mixture and buttermilk to the batter, folding till just combined.
~ Pour into the loaf tin. Slice a banana length wise and arrange on top of the batter.
~ Bake for 55-60 minutes (or until the inserted toothpick comes out clean). If the top starts browning too much at around the 30 minute mark, place a piece of foil over the top.
~ Allow to cool before running a knife along the sides to remove from tin.
For a fluffy banana bread: reduce the amount of buttermilk/ sour cream or do away with it entirely (baking time will be slightly reduced).
For a denser banana bread: add more mashed banana (you could even go up to 460g but the baking time would be longer).
Sweetness: If you do add more bananas or if the bananas are very sweet, there is no need for the caster sugar. Taste the bananas before you use them!
Ripening bananas: If the bananas aren't naturally ripe enough, place the unpeeled bananas on a tray in an oven at 150°C until the skin turns completely black and the banana is soft. Depending on the size and ripeness of the banana, it will take about 20-60 minutes. Allow to cool before use.