Banana bread has been one of the most searched for recipes during the lockdown and with good reason.
It’s as rewarding as it is ridiculously easy to whip up, requiring a few pantry staples that everyone’s bound to have knocking around their larder, even in quarantine. The starring ingredient is of course the humble banana, which has always been a survival fruit.
Yet if I’m being honest, I stayed clear of baking banana bread for the longest time. I suppose I’d had my fill of it on Instagram with everyone (and their neighbour!) baking Pinterest-approved loaves, decorated with even more sliced bananas.
But then, spurred by Chef Alex Sanchez’ picks for stocking the perfect pantry, I had my first brush with brown butter. Gloriously-golden, addictively-aromatic and notoriously nutty, swirling with a seductive promise to make everything better – everything.
In this case, it inspired test-driving a new recipe for a brown butter banana bread, manifesting in a rustic loaf rich in flavours. It’s toasty from the brown butter; subtly-caramelised from the molasses of brown sugar; healthful and hearty from wholewheat flour; yet delightfully-light in texture with a gentle crumb.
Truly, this banana bread has everything going for it. Have a gander yourself for a taste!
The Best Brown Butter Bread
- 10 tbsp (1 stick + 2 tbsp) butter
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar
- 3 medium ripe bananas
- 1 cup all-purpose flour (maida)
- 1 cup wholewheat flour
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt (I love to use sea salt)
- Melt your butter in a wide, heavy-bottomed (and preferably light-coloured) pan over medium-low heat. Stir the butter around the pan to ensure that it melts evenly, following which you will start to see it foaming and sizzling around the edges.
- Keep a close eye as the melted butter shifts hues from a lemony-yellow to a golden tannish-brown, before finally getting to the toasty-brown we want. You’ll know you’re there once the kitchen starts filling with a deliciously-nutty and intensely-rich aroma!
- Remember, we want to brown the butter, not burn it. There’s a fine line between the two, given that butter burns at a lower smoke-point than other oils. Use a spoon or rubber spatula to clear away the foam and check on how far the butter has browned. Once some foam starts to subside and you can see dark brown specks at the bottom of the pan, remove the butter from heat and pour out into into a heat-proof bowl to cool.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C and prepare your loaf tin, by greasing and lining it with parchment paper.
- Start by whisking the melted brown butter and sugar until combined.
- Next crack the eggs directly into the bowl, whisking completely until combined into a smooth mixture.
- Then, whisk in the milk and vanilla extract.
- Mash the bananas in a separate bowl. If you’d like a smooth banana bread, mash until there are no lumps left. Personally, I prefer to leave a few lumps to add a chunkier texture to my final loaf! Whisk the mashed bananas into the batter.
- Finally add the flour, salt and baking soda; and use a rubber spatula to gently fold into the batter, until the ingredients are just about combined (no dry flour should be visible).
- Pour the batter into the loaf tin and smoothen the top of the batter. The baking time will vary depending on the sugar content and moisture of your bananas. It’s time to check after around 50 minutes or so (and every five minutes thereafter). You’ll know your bread is ready when the top of the loaf is a beautifully-caramelised dark brown, with hints of golden-yellow shining through. A toothpick inserted in the middle should come out clean.
- As tempting as it is to tuck in straight away (the aroma!), cool the loaf tin on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Not only does this help the loaf firm up, it also makes it easier to remove later! After about 10 minutes, you can can lift out the loaf from the tin and cool for another 10 minutes on the rack before digging into a hefty slice!
Pro Tip: Slather any leftover melted brown butter on your sliced banana bread for an even richer treat!
I’d love to hear from you! Do let me know if you try this recipe – leave a comment below; and tag me in your delicious creations on Instagram @the_foodiediaries.
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