Have you guys ever seen a banana tree in real life? They’re kind of freaky looking. I think I’ve seen them before when I was a kid visiting Thailand with my parents, but I must have put them out of my mind because of how strange they look. I saw a bunch of banana trees recently in Hawaii, and even here in LA and they’re just as scary as my five-year-old self thought they were.
I can’t imagine who saw bananas and thought they would be good to eat. I’m guessing we can thanks our monkey friends for figuring that one out. Speaking of monkeys, do you know that they like to peel them from the “bottom” end – opposite the stem? I forgot who taught me how to do that, but it’s the only way I open bananas now. I like the built in handle that you can hold on to and when you open them from the “bottom” end, which is actually the top, if you’ve ever seen a banana tree, the fruit inside doesn’t end up mushy or bruised.
Then again, sometimes all you want are mushy old bananas. Especially when you’re going to make banana bread. I’ve written quite a few posts about banana bread – apparently I’m pretty passionate about it – and if you’ve read any of them you know that I’m on a quest for the ultimate banana bread.
I’m forever asking people what their favorite banana breads are so I can test them out. Alana gave me a heads up for this recipe and I couldn’t wait to give it a go. I thought it would make a sweet gift for one of my close friends – she’s a banana sweets fiend (her fave is banana cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory) and she just had an adorable baby boy named Oliver.
This loaf was almost everything I dreamed. The flavor was intensely banana-y and the crumb was small, tender and moist. The only thing missing was a domed top. To me, flat top loaves just don’t have that same appeal. If I could figure a way out to dome this baby it would be the ultimate. In any case, it’s still my current top banana bread and that’s saying a lot, coming from me!
PS – Fun fact and also a little bit of insight into my crazy brain: another friend had gifted a loaf of banana bread and I couldn’t resist asking Amy which bread was better. She very sweetly said “yours, of course.” I’m not sure if I believe her though…
Flour Bakery’s Famous Banana Bread via Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston’s Flour Bakery + Cafe
makes one 9×5-inch loaf, or three 6×3-inch loaves
- 1 2/3 cups (210 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (230 grams) sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) canola or other flavorless oil
- 3 1/2 very ripe bananas, peeled and mashed (about 1 1/2 cups or 340 grams mashed bananas)
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
With the rack in the center of the oven, preheat to 325°F. Lightly butter and flour pan(s) of choice.
Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a bowl and set aside.
With a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment, beat together the sugar and eggs on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
Switch to low speed and slowly drizzle in the oil, taking your time.
Add the bananas, sour cream, and vanilla, and continue to mix on low speed just until combined.
Use a rubber spatula to fold in the flour mixture until thoroughly combined. No flour streaks should be visible.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan(s) and bake for 1 to 1 1/4 hours for a 9×5-inch loaf, and about 50 minutes for three 6×3-inch loaves. The loaves should be golden brown on top and the cake will spring back when you press it.
Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes, remove from the pan and let cool completely on the wire rack. Enjoy!