Banana bread is a delicious way to make use of slightly overripe bananas. Best when soft, tender and teeming with banana and nut flavor, nothing ruins this sweet bread quicker than an uncooked center. Get to the bottom of cooking a great banana bread by understanding the key factors that affect the finished product.
The type of pan you use when cooking a sweet bread can greatly affect the outcome. While glass and stoneware are good for some cooking projects, you should opt for darker metal loaf pans when making banana bread. Dark metal pans promote more even cooking and help to ensure a well-browned crust and a center that is fully cooked. Whatever type of pan you use, grease and flour it before pouring in your batter to prevent sticking.
Banana bread is typically cooked at 350 degrees Fahrenheit on the lower middle oven rack position. If your bread is turning out still gooey in the middle, check your oven's temperature to ensure that your oven is getting hot enough. Use an oven thermometer to check the oven temperature. If you find your oven is running cooler than expected, adjust the heat setting to compensate for the temperature discrepancy.
One 9-inch loaf of banana bread takes at least 55 minutes to cook. Set a timer for 55 minutes when you put the bread in the oven. When the timer goes off, do not immediately remove the bread and turn off the oven. Instead, insert a toothpick into the center of the bread. If the toothpick comes out clean, it is done. If it is wet with batter, give the bread five more minutes and try again until the toothpick comes out clean. Let the bread sit for five minutes in the pan before removing it.
Banana Bread Mixing
If you over-mix your batter, it can lead to problems. Banana bread rises best when the wet and dry ingredients are only lightly mixed together. When you mix the batter thoroughly, the gluten proteins form into long and orderly bundles which in turn produce a solid batter that does not rise well. When it doesn't rise as much as it should, the center of your banana bread may not cook thoroughly. Gently fold the wet and dry ingredients together only until there is no unincorporated flour.
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- The New Best Recipe; America's Test Kitchen
Based in Portland, Ore., Maxine Wallace is a writer with more than 12 years of experience. With a bachelor's degree in journalism and experience working on marketing campaigns for large media agencies, she is well-versed in multiple industries including the Internet, cooking, gardening, health, fitness, travel and holistic living.