So walk with me here: what’s one of the best fluffy pancakes in the world?
(We walk our behinds to the grocery store and carry everything back by foot so I am not about to start buying 3 types of milk. Correction. Upon realization we often, indeed, buy three types of milk on a regular basis: I’m not about to add 1 more litre of buttermilk on the off chance I want to bake half-rotten bananas!!! Thus.)
I simply love how the taste of balsamic vinegar compliments certain fruits.
we have collected a few different bottles of vinegar over the year and while developing this recipe I tasted each one to determine preference. I took the sweetest one (my favorites have notes of cherry & wood) and that is usually the one with more leaves.
If you don’t like the taste of balsamic vinegar, acceptable substitutes are: white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, mirin or rice vinegar. Get creative. Taste test before adding eggs.
How to Make Banana Bread
Making banana bread is so easy – all you need are the right ingredients and patience for your bananas to be ripe enough.
Start by preheating your oven to 350F and get your ingredients and tools out. Once you’re ready, start mixing the oil and sugar together in a large bowl — whisk violently until combined and you notice the texture of the mixture change (maybe even the color depending on your olive oil). Next step is adding wet ingredients like the fruit & other wet ingredients. There’s no right or wrong way to mush the bananas, it’s all preference, but do add them in with the wet ingredients. Add in all the wet ingredients after you think you’ve whisked enough — there’s no right or wrong amount of time really, it’s quite a simple recipe. The wet ingredients are everything except the spices and flour. Sugar usually counts as a wet ingredient and in this case, we’ve already used it up with the oil!
Note: If you like banana bread with extra banana chunks, feel free to add an extra banana or keep some of the banana chunky. You can add the extra banana at the end once you’ve mixed wet and dry so it stays separate from the batter for that chunky vibe.
Combine the wet ingredients until it seems completely well-mixed. Then, in a separate bowl (can be smaller or of equal size) dump in your dry ingredients and mix until the cinnamon is evenly dispersed. This should hopefully be an indication of how well the rest of the ingredients are mixed in too! That way we avoid overmixing once we combine wet + dry.
Combine wet + dry by folding or stirring. Do not whisk like a maniac at this point. Gentle, avoiding to over-mix.
Now, set your mix aside and prepare your baking tin: you’re looking for a big loaf pan (or two smaller ones** adjust cooking time accordingly). Ours is 4.5″X12″ — you can use a more standard one, as long as you do not fill more than 7/8 of the tin. It’s best to make pancakes with the remaining batter if you do not have enough to fill a second smaller tin but only have smaller tins to start with. Fill the tin with parchment paper. Idriss’ favorite trick to do so easily is to crumple a piece into a ball, then straighten it out, push it in the tin, and steady it in place with clips like you see in the photo below. These can safely go in the oven, too, so no fuss at all and you can be a one-person ninja without making a mess.
If you do not have parchment paper: butter or oil your tin and then lightly flour, then proceed with the next step:
Carefully plop in your batter, and if it does not settle evenly, entice it to with the back of a spoon.
Last and optional step: split a banana in two with the careful assistance of a small knife, and lay it down as we have below. If you’re feeling extra, sprinkle the top with sugar.
There you go: it’s now ready to go in the oven. Let’s put it in.
Depending on what size tin you have at home and with our different ovens, you may end up with a different cooking times.
This is my ultimate baking advice: keep an eye like a hawk on your oven once you start to smell it.
Truly truly smell it, not just a whiff of it rising. It’s usually almost ready around this time. The top should look cooked and if you shake the tin around, it should not jiggle. The top should look and sound crispy to the touch, and a toothpick or chopstick poked in the center till about halfway in should come out clean : no wet batter and only few crumbs.
Take it out of the oven, and turn off your oven. If your stove-top is hot, move your tin to an area that isn’t (to avoid that the banana bread continue cooking).
Another trick: if a recipe says to bake one hour, I always check on it 3/4 of the way in. That way, if the recipe is horribly off for cooking times for you, you will have still caught it early.
The Very Best Banana Bread
- Preheat oven to 375 F
- Mix olive oil and white sugar together. Add in eggs. Add in bananas, Balsamic vinegar and vanilla.
- Add in spices, salt and baking powder + soda, mix and then follow with the flour, progressively.
- Mix until almost all combined then stop and fold the remainder of the mixture to avoid over mixing.
- While your oven finishes preheating, prepare your loaf pan with butter and flour. (Spread the butter thinly with your fingers in the pan all around and all the way to the top. Then add 1 tbsp flour into the pan, place yourself above the sink and tap each side of the pan while rotating it to evenly coat all sides with flour, turn over the pan to discard the rest of the flour). Alternately, use parchment paper as suggested in the post.
- Carefully pour in batter, cook in the middle of the oven for 50-60 minutes. To check if your banana bread is ready, stick a toothpick right in the middle of it. If it comes out clean, your cake is ready. If not, bake a little longer.
- Once ready, take your banana bread out of the oven and set it on a cooling rack for 10-15 minutes. Slice and serve with hot steamy cup of joe. Enjoy!