This is absolutely the best banana bread recipe around. I grew up on banana bread made with butter, but I believe this version made with oil is better. And banana bread is perfect for using up those bananas that are too ripe to eat. So, don’t discard them! And, for when you don’t have fresh buttermilk in the fridge, keep a container of buttermilk powder on hand; use one tablespoon of powder and three tablespoons of water in place of three tablespoons of fresh buttermilk.
Yield: Makes one 9 by 5-inch loaf
Vegetable oil spray, for misting the loaf pan
1½ cups all-purpose flour, plus flour for dusting the loaf pan
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
¾ cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons buttermilk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup mashed bananas (from 2 large or 3 small bananas)
1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly mist a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan with vegetable oil spray and dust it with flour. Shake out the excess flour. Set the pan aside.
2. Place the flour, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl and stir with a fork to combine. Add the sugar and stir to combine. Add the oil, buttermilk, eggs, and mashed banana and stir until the mixture is smooth but just blended, 50 to 60 strokes. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan.
3. Bake the bread until it is golden brown and the top springs back when gently pressed with a finger, 1 hour and 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the loaf pan to a wire rack and let the bread cool for about 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the bread and give the pan a few good shakes to loosen the bread. Invert the bread onto a wire rack, then invert it again onto another wire rack, so that it cools right side up. Let the loaf continue to cool for about 1 hour.
WANT SOME MUFFIN MAGIC? Turn this recipe into a dozen muffins by dividing the batter into twelve muffin cups that have been lined with paper liners or lightly greased and floured. Bake the muffins at 350°F until they are lightly browned around the edges and spring back when you gently press on one, 20 to 25 minutes.
BIG BATCH: The banana bread recipe doubles well to make two loaves. You can freeze one; it will keep for up to three months.
TOTE NOTES: Wrap the banana bread in plastic wrap and you can slice it when you arrive. Or, you can slice it and arrange the slices on an attractive plate before you leave. Covered with plastic wrap, it’s ready for traveling.
FOR GIFT GIVING: Wrap the bread first in plastic wrap then overwrap it with colorful cellophane and tie it with a bow Or, for a more rustic look, wrap the loaf in parchment paper and tie a raffia bow around it.