Saturday, April 17, 2010

Banana Bread (traditional)

I think of this as my traditional banana bread recipe, but it’s actually quite atypical in its way. It’s loosely adapted from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, but we’re talking about a pretty aggressive adaptation. Mostly, I just really like his suggestion of adding dried coconut to the batter.

Before I started making this, banana bread was near the bottom of my list of favorite things. This is what I always wanted banana bread to taste like.

Once I started making it, the sight of over-ripe bananas was no longer a dismaying reminder of my inability to estimate how much food I would need. Over-ripe bananas are now a perfect excuse to whip a loaf of this together. The caveat I have is that it’s quite fussy as quickbread recipes go, though not at all difficult – it just has a longer ingredients list.

I strongly recommend including the wheat flour instead of substituting all all-purpose. It doesn’t really add a wheatiness to the final loaf; rather, it adds a density and almost caramelized flavor that, with the maple syrup and malted milk powder, makes this so much more than a run-of-the-mill banana bread.

Banana Bread
Adapted from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian

4 tablespoons butter, plus some for greasing the pan (I use unsalted) room temp or melted
3 very ripe bananas, mashed with a fork until smooth
1 5-oz container vanilla yoghurt (low-fat or fat-free is fine)
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons malted milk powder
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (plus another tablespoon or so if the dough is too moist)
1/2 cup wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (I prefer toasted pecans)
1/2 grated dried coconut (he says to use unsweet, but I use sweet)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.

Mash the bananas, then add the butter, yoghurt, sugar, syrup, and malted milk powder. Add the vanilla and eggs; stir well.

Stir together dry ingredients separately in a medium bowl. I usually add the nuts and coconut to the dry ingredients. Stir into wet ingredients.

Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake for 45 to 60 minutes, until nicely browned. A toothpick inserted in the center of the bread will come out fairly clean. Cool on a rack for a few minutes before turning out of the pan. Makes 1 loaf.

Printable recipe here.
This was a tiny piece from the end.


  1. I really like the idea that this doesn't have too much fat and the maple syrup really makes it special..I've never tried malted milk powder before... what does it taste like, I wonder???

  2. The original recipe called for a whole stick of butter. I made it that way a few times (without the yoghurt), and it was fabulous, but ... rather too much!

    Have you ever had a malted flavor milkshake? The powder tastes like that, concentrated. They also make a drink called Malta that's malt flavored, but it's got a much stronger taste. It's good stuff!

  3. yum! i love the idea of adding dried coconut. i bake banana bread often and have gone through so many variations. I discovered your blog when searching for banana bread and so happy i did. can't wait to try banana bread with coconut!