Thom's bangin' banana bread
Anyone else have an overabundance of ripe bananas when they don’t need them and exactly zero ripe bananas when they do? I seem to be finding myself in this situation a lot lately (pro tip: mash them and throw them in the freezer when you’re running a surplus), but it turned out to be seriously problematic, early last week, when I had an itch to finally share Thom’s bangin’ banana bread recipe with you guys but didn’t have any ripe bananas on hand. Neither on the counter or in the freezer.
So what did I do? I crowdsourced them via the ‘gram - which is definitely one of the weirder things I’ve done in my life. Within a few hours I had dozens of messages from folks in/around Denver offering me their ripe bananas (and even a few offering to ship them) (!). And by the end of the day I had enough ripe bananas on hand to make more than a few batches of Thom’s bangin’ banana bread. Which is equal parts hilarious and awesome. Hilarious because you have to be a special kind of desperate to ask strangers for their ripe bananas. But awesome because those strangers came through. <3
On my quest for super ripe bananas, I also had a number of people suggest I throw my unripe bananas in the oven and roast them until the peels turn black. So this is where I want to make it very clear that “ripening” your bananas in the oven is not the same as (slow) ripening them on the countertop. I repeat: “RIPENING” YOUR BANANAS IN THE OVEN IS NOT THE SAME AS (SLOW) RIPENING THEM ON THE COUNTERTOP. There are a number of places on the WWW that claim it’s a hack but I can attest to the fact that it is not. Because if you’ve ever had banana bread made with spoiled bananas you know that the flavor is unmatched by that shit bread people make using bananas they roasted in their oven.
But let’s talk about spoiled bananas for a hot minute, shall we? I consider bananas spoiled when the peel is dark brown and shriveled. When opened, the insides will be mostly puréed and the flesh will have a very sweet scent with a slight hint of ethanol (YAY FERMENTATION). In Denver (we’re a mile high and the air is very dry), it takes about four weeks for my bananas to spoil on my countertop. I don’t have any problems with fruit flies but, if you do, you can chuck brown bananas (like the bunch pictured in the bottom left portion of the tray, below) in the fridge - they’ll take about two weeks longer to spoil, though. So why spoiled bananas, specifically? Because, over time, the starch is converted to sugar and makes for a truly unparalleled banana flavor. And yes, before you ask, spoiled bananas are 100% safe to use in baking.
I would probably avoid eating one straight, though. But that’s just me. ;)
Notes: Because I know some of you won’t have read the post, YOUR BANANAS NEED TO BE SPOILED TO UNLEASH ALL THE GREATNESS THIS BREAD HAS TO OFFER. If they’re not spoiled, your banana bread will taste like shit because there’s not much added sugar in this loaf. The original recipe calls for 1/2 cup of sugar and only two spoiled bananas. If that’s what you have on hand, substitute those quantities for both the sugar and the bananas. Speaking of sugar, coconut sugar would be delicious in this recipe. Also, this bread is subtly sweet (how I prefer breads for breakfast) so if you want something sweeter, increase the sugar to 1/2 or 3/4 cup. I haven’t tried using alternative flours but suspect you could substitute up to half the flour with whole wheat flour. Or use 1-to-1 gluten free baking flour if you’re doing the gluten free thing. To veganize this recipe, replace the brown eggs with two flax eggs and increase the milk to 1/4 cup (55g). Rumor has it you can also use Bob’s Red Mill egg replacer in place of the eggs.
THOM’S BANGIN’ BANANA BREAD
3 (180g) bananas, spoiled
2 (100g) large brown eggs (see notes for vegan option)
1/2 cup (106g) grapeseed oil (or any neutral oil)
1/3 cup (80g) cane sugar
2 tablespoons (28g) non-dairy milk
2 cups (280g) all-purpose unbleached flour
1/4 teaspoon (1g) baking soda
2 teaspoons (8g) baking powder
1 teaspoon (6g) fine sea salt
You’ll also need
Sea salt flakes
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line a 1 1/2 pound loaf pan with parchment paper then set aside. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the bananas until they’re smooth-ish (if they’re truly spoiled this won’t take long) (if they’re not spoiled WHY ARE YOU MAKING THIS RECIPE?) then add the eggs, oil, sugar, and milk; mix with a whisk until well combined and slightly foamy. Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; whisk until about half of the flour is incorporated then switch to a spatula to fold in the rest. This batter is easily overworked and overworked batter will result in tough, chewy bread. Tough, chewy banana bread = gross.
Pour batter into the prepared pan then top with walnuts, turbinado sugar (I use 2-3 tablespoons), and sea salt flakes, if desired. Bake at 350˚F for 40-55 minutes or until the top is golden and a toothpick comes out clean (ultimately, the measurements of your loaf pan will determine baking time). Allow the loaf to cool in the pan for five minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Bread will keep loosely covered, at room temperature, for up to three days.
Yield: 8 slices