Bon Appetit Best Ever Banana Bread

I almost feel like I’m starting to have a normal life again. The boxes are unpacked, most of the pictures are up on the wall, and I’ve finished my online classes. That means free time for baking and the return of my sanity. My hubby brought home a bunch of bananas from a coworker that were about to go bad, apparently assuming I would do something with them. I did, of course, and made banana bread.

I could not find my go-to banana bread recipe. Thankfully I have a bookshelf full of cookbooks. My latest addition is Bon Appetit Fast, Fresh, and Easy. It’s not just desserts, but a little bit of everything.That’s where I found “Best Ever Banana Bread.” A bit big headed of them, don’t you think? Well, they are right. This is indeed the best banana bread I’ve had.

But wait, there’s more! I did a little science experiment with this bread. It says not to double the recipe, but to make two separate batches. In one batch I used high quality ingredients: King Arthur Flour, turbinado sugar, and Madagascar vanilla. The second batch I used “bargain” flour from Costco, basic sugar, and “bargain” vanilla, also from Costco. Don’t get me wrong, I love Costco, but they don’t have high quality baking ingredients.

The difference was, well, see for yourself.

The batch on the right is good ingredients, the batch on the left is bargain ingredients. Amazing, right? You can’t really tell in the picture but the left was much runnier than the right.

Now, let’s look at the after pictures….

Can you guess which one is which? Yep, the left is good, the right is bargain. Amazing, right?? The left definitely tasted moister and more flavorful. The right was by no means bad, just not as good.

Let’s take one more look.

See how the lower quality sunk in the middle? I really don’t know why. They baked at the exact same time, exact same kind of pans, exact same temperature.

We ate the good one, and gave away the bargain. Hey, sometimes you just don’t feel like sharing the good stuff.

Here’s the recipe. The biggest suggestion I can make is not to over bake! The recipe says 1 hour, 20 minutes. Start checking at 1 hour. I took mine out at 1 hour 10 minutes. Another 10 minutes and I would have had a very dry bread.


Bon Appetit Best Ever Banana Bread

  • 2 ripe medium bananas, mashed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups AP Flour (recommend KAF)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (I was running low, so each bread had 1/4 cup olive oil and 1/4 cup veggie oil)
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 TB buttermilk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

1. Preheat oven to 325F. Butter and flour a 9x5x3 loaf pan. The recipe says metal, I used stone.

2. Whisk bananas and eggs in large bowl to blend. Add remaining ingredients and stir to blend well.

3. Transfer to pan. Bake until top is golden brown and tester comes out mostly clean (a few crumbs is good). This will take anywhere from 1 hour to 1 hour and 20 minutes.

4. Cool in pan for 20 minutes, then finish cooling on rack. Bread is best the next day, with a big slab of butter.



Filed under quick bread

5 responses to “Bon Appetit Best Ever Banana Bread

  1. I am so surprised to see the difference stuff can make to the end product. I usually pick any flour or any sugar thinking they all are same. Thanks for such useful information.

  2. Lucinda Huben

    I’ve been making banana bread for over 3o years, using the recipe from Better Homes and Gardens cookbook as that was my very first cookbook purchase, and the bread always turned out yummy. I add a sugar/cinnamon/nut topping, too. I became gluten free about 15 years ago, and started experimenting w/other banana bread recipes w/varying results. I was in Colorado a few weeks ago and made Bon Apppetit’s banana bread, as my daughter has their cookbook, substituting the buttermilk w/plain yogurt and adding blueberries to the mix. Oh, used gluten free all purpose flour, too. It was by far, the BEST banana bread I have ever made! My daughter and husband agreed.

  3. Nets

    Thanks for the posting, Tara! I’m gonna try it out this weekend in itty bitty mini loaves! 🙂

    I recently read somewhere about heat conduction during baking. Did you happen to bake both loaves — one on a rack right above the other — at the same time? If you did, that explains why the “inferior” loaf sunk. We’re supposed to bake side by side, not above and below, to get even heat throughout both products. I’m trying to remember where I found out about this… It might be from Cook’s “The Science of Good Cooking” book.

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