Sweets LOVES banana bread. If I were to add banana bread into the rotation of things that I make every week, he would be in absolute heaven. As it is, he asked me last week if I could make it and unfortunately I hadn't bought any bananas recently so I had to tell him I couldn't. I hate telling him that so the next time I was at the grocery store, I picked up a bunch of organic bananas.
If you have never made homemade banana bread, it's important to know that you can NOT use unripened bananas. In fact, the browner they are, the better they are for banana bread. You don't want them rotten but you do want them mushy. That's the reason why Sweets had to wait almost a week before the bananas were ready to be made into banana bread.
I have to constantly remind him that the laws of physics and nature do not change just because it's my kitchen. There is no way to quickly ripen bananas that I'm aware of so he had to wait. I'll give him credit though because he only asked me twice if the bananas were ready yet.
While he was off playing Army guy in Georgia, I was working on searching for, transforming and designing recipes for bringing healthier food into our lives and banana bread was close to the top of the list right next to buttermilk biscuits. I must have tried 10 different recipes and some were OK but some were just downright horrible. I can't tell you how frustrating it is to pitch a loaf of homemade banana bread because it just isn't right.
Low and behold I found a recipe that called for buttermilk. I had never heard of adding buttermilk so my curiosity was peaked with this one and I decided that it was the recipe that I was going to use to make this batch. Um... I'm glad I did because the bread is absolutely fantastic. Crunchy on the outside and moist on the inside. The banana flavor is perfect. I used freshly chopped almonds for the nuts. Sweets thought that was a bit odd but he said he liked it after we devoured 1/2 of one of the loaves.
Here's the recipe. Make it non-GMO by using organic butter, organic buttermilk, either Domino sugar (made from sugar cane, NOT sugar beets) or organic sugar and organic eggs. We don't have to worry about flour, yet. The rest of the ingredients are still non-GMO so conventional is good even though, as I always say, organic is better if you can find it in your area.
Ingredients1 1/4 cups of sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) soft butter
1 1/2 cups mashed, ripened banana
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour (UNBLEACHED is better, we used white flour)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sea salt (or regular salt)
1 cup of chopped nuts, optional (I used fresh chopped almonds)
2 loaf pans, butter the bottom ONLY of the pans (if you butter the sides, the bread will not have anything to grip onto to rise)
Oven preheat is 350 degrees, 340 degrees if you are using dark pans.
Mix it UpMix your sugar and butter until it's nice and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time being sure to mix them in well. Mix in the bananas, the buttermilk and the vanilla one ingredient at a time until each one is mixed well before adding the next. You should now have a bit of banana lump but the rest should be smooth.
Stir in the salt and baking soda then add the flour and mix it until moist but blended. If you are choosing to add nuts, now is the time to do it. The mix will be thicker than what you normally would see for a banana bread, especially if you have been using the box mixes (and you'll never do that again after this!).
Divide the dough between the two buttered loaf pans and make sure it is evenly spread out in the pan.
Bake for 50 minutes. When it comes out of the oven, allow it to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes then turn it out on a cooling rack and allow it to cool for at least another 10 minutes before you cut into it.
I know how hard it is to wait because you will start to smell the banana bread baking about 25 minutes into it and it smells just as good as it tastes. Spread it liberally with butter before devouring. And you will devour, I guarantee it. :)
If you decide to make this, please let me know what you thought of it!