Cindy’s tips for making the BEST banana bread at home.
While I cannot reveal our top secret banana bread recipe, I am happy to share my tips for making the best banana bread at home!
Most people typically eat bananas that are perfectly yellow with no brown spots. These bananas, however, have more starch and are not actually ripe! As brown spots begin to appear, they are ripening, sweetening up and losing their starch. The peel will be a little softer, and it will smell quite like a banana. Your banana will open more easily, and you won’t have to “crack” it open.
Anyway, back to banana bread! We only bake when we have nicely spotted bananas, brown spotted bananas. If the bananas are not spotted, we do not bake (yes, we are at the mercy of the bananas)! I know a lot of people think they should use old, black bananas when making banana bread, but try and refrain from this practice…bananas that are all black have broken down to alcohol and you will be disappointed with the taste.
Another secret to our moist cakes is buttermilk, that’s right, we use buttermilk in all of our cake and bread recipes! Buttermilk will make any cake you bake more tender. Search for recipes that include buttermilk. We always use low-fat buttermilk, but either will do.
Our last secret for making the best banana bread is to fully mash your bananas. If you like chunks, certainly you can leave some in your batter. But we prefer to completely mash them until they are almost completely smooth so the banana flavor distributes evenly throughout the bread. You can use your KitchenAid or hand mixer to do this. When I first started making this recipe, before food processors and before I had a KitchenAid, I put my bananas in a plastic bag and schmushed them (yes, it’s a technical term :)
Fun fact: Did you know that it’s easier to open a banana from the “bottom” (the bottom is actually the top of the banana, and the stem is actually at what we think is the bottom! If you peel it this way it will also take off those annoying threads that aren’t very tasty. This is also how monkeys open bananas, too?
Bottom Banana: starting to ripen
Middle Banana: medium ripe
Top Banana: ripe enough to make a tasty smoothie or snack
So that, my friend is how you tell if a banana is ripe!