This recipe for Ultimate Banana Bread fascinated me, as it takes 6 bananas in the recipe. Also the bananas are heated, juiced, and the juice reduced! I had never heard of this technique before, so I just had to give it a try.
Read my additional comments at the end of the recipe on making this banana bread.
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon table salt (fine salt not coarse) 6 large (about 2 1/4 pounds) very ripe bananas, (preferably overripe)* 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly 2 large eggs, slightly beaten 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped 2 teaspoons granulated sugar (to top the unbaked loaf)
* To ripen bananas, allow green or yellow bananas to ripen at room temperature until the skin is covered with brown spots. Do not even think of making banana bread with anything less than very ripe, heavily speckled fruit - unless you are fine with a bland loaf.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Adjust oven rack to lower middle position. Spray one (1) 9x5-inch loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
Place five (5) peeled bananas in a microwave-safe bowl; cover with plastic wrap and cut several steam vents in the plastic wrap with a paring knife. Microwave on high power until the bananas are soft and have released liquid, approximately 5 minutes.
Remove from microwave and transfer the bananas to a fine-mesh strainer placed over a medium-size bowl. Allow to drain, stirring occasionally, for 15 minute. You should have 1/2 to 3/4 cup liquid after straining. NOTE: I had a total 1 cup of banana liquid after straining. Set aside the remaining banana mixture in the strainer.
Transfer the banana liquid to a medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Let simmer until the banana liquid is reduced to 1/4 cup, approximately 5 minutes. NOTE: Since I had 1 cup of banana liquid to reduce, it took me 15 minutes to reduce the liquid to 1/4 cup.
Remove pan from heat and and stir the reduced banana liquid into the set aside banana mixture; mash with a potato masher until fairly smooth. NOTE: I put the banana mixture into my blender for a few seconds. Whisk in the melted butter, eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla extract.
Pour the banana mixture into the flour mixture and stir until just combined with some streaks of flour remaining. Gently fold in the walnuts or pecans.
Pour the batter into the prepared bread pan. Slice the remaining peeled banana diagonally into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Shingle the banana sliced on top of both sides of the loaf, leaving 1 1/2-inc-wide space down the center to ensure even rising. Sprinkle the 2 teaspoon sugar evenly over the top of the loaf.
Bake 50 to to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. NOTE: Be sure and poke the toothpick already to the center of the loaf. A good check is to use an instant digital thermometer to test your bread. The internal temperature of the bread should be at 200 degrees F. when done.
This is the type of cooking and meat thermometer that I prefer and use in my cooking. I get many readers asking what cooking/meat thermometer that I prefer and use in my cooking and baking. I, personally, use the Thermapen Thermometer shown in the photo on the right. To learn more about this excellent thermometer and to also purchase one (if you desire), just click on the underlined: Thermapen Thermometer.
Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack 10 minutes; remove from pan. Cool completely before slicing.
Makes one (1) loaf.
While the banana bread was good, I didn't think it was any better than other banana bread recipes that I have on my web site. The texture was more like a cake than bread. I, personally, would increase the amount of nuts to 1 cup. This bread is more labor intensive because of making juice with the bananas. The banana slices on top of the loaf looked pretty before cutting the bread, but dropped off when cutting the bread into slices. Would I make this recipe again? Maybe as it made an interesting experiment with my husband eagerly waiting the tasting results. But - maybe not!
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Source: I very slightly adapted a few instructions in the recipe from the Cooks Illustrated Magazine, America’s Test Kitchen, Season 11.