October 3, 2022
I have a problem: I love bananas, but only underripe bananas, but bananas go from perfect to ripe so quickly that I have no chance of eating all of them in that timeframe. I also hate wasting food, so I freeze any bananas that I can't get around to eating before they go ripe. The problem is that I now have a giant freezer bag of overripe bananas. It occurred to me recently that there's no reason that frozen bananas wouldn't work in banana bread, so I spent my Sunday evening testing this out.
This is a modified version of a recipe from King Arthur Flour.
113g unsalted butter (room temperature)
~ 340g ripe bananas, mashed (I used 3 banans)
60g maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
270g all-purpose flour
1. Preheat the oven to 350F/177C and grease a baking pan.
2. Beat the butter, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla extract, and salt until the sugar is combined with the butter.
3. Add the bananas, eggs, and syrup and beat again.
4. Add the flour and beat until the flour is just folded in with everything else.
5. Bake for about 45 minutes or until the top is set and the inside is just barely raw. Cover with parchment paper or aluminum foil to protect the top and bake until the inside is done. For me, this took about 10 more minutes. When you put a toothpick into the bread, you still want some crumbs to stick to it, or you'll have a very sad and dry loaf.
6. Allow the bread to cool before removing from the pan and serving.
On pans: I used a silicone pan with 4 rectangular wells measuring about 2x4 inches each. The bread rose a lot, so I'd expect 9x5 or 12x4 inch pans to work fine (as written in the King Arthur recipe). If you use a silicone pan, don't grease it.
On bananas: If you haven't made banana bread before, know that you need to have extremely ripe bananas. The peels should be turning black. I used one frozen banana and two fresh bananas that I had sitting on my counter. I defrosted the frozen one in the microwave and it worked great. I'd actually expect frozen bananas to work a little better than fresh bananas for mashing because they get kind of mushy after thawing.
On spices: The measurements for cinnamon and vanilla extract are suggestions. (I think it looks bad if you don't include measurements in recipes?) I definitely used more than a teaspoon of both because I eyeballed them. You can add other stuff like nutmeg if you have it.
On sugar: I used white sugar and maple syrup because I don't have brown sugar lying around, and I drastically cut the amount from the King Arthur recipe. You can use just brown sugar, or brown sugar and maple syrup, or you can replace the syrup with honey. The result was very lightly sweetened, which I thought was perfect, but you might have to adjust based on your preferences and how ripe your bananas are.
On additives: You can throw nuts in with the flour or top the loaf with nuts before baking. I've also topped the loaf with banana slices before baking, which I recommend trying if you want maximum banana.