Bonus? You already have all the ingredients.
Almost exactly one year ago, I baked the five most popular banana bread recipes on Allrecipes and came away with a clear favorite. My decision was based on several criteria: how easy it was to make, how much banana flavor came through, how nicely it rose in the oven. But most important was how moist it was. In fact, if a banana bread isn’t ridiculously moist, I firmly believe none of its other qualities can save it.
Which brings us to today. With so many internet recipes boasting the “secret” to moist banana bread, I had to know which ones lived up to their bold claims. So I rounded up the most popular tricks and pitted them against each other in an even bigger taste test: seven banana breads baked in one single day.
I let all of the bananas ripen for the same amount of time, omitted any mix-ins so I could focus exclusively on moistness, and baked all the breads in the same type of loaf pan. I also let them cool overnight before slicing into them, and tasted them a second time a few days later.
Which Banana Bread Tricks Did I Test?
I tested seven of the most popular tricks on the internet, all of which claimed to be the secret to moist banana bread. These included adding sour cream, adding buttermilk, and adding mayo; swapping all-purpose flour for cake flour; using extra bananas; freezing and thawing the bananas; and mixing in rolled oats. Here’s how my ranking turned out, in order of least moist to most (say that five times fast):
7. Rolled Oats
This recipe uses rolled oats as the secret ingredient, claiming they soak up all the moisture to create a soft and moist bread. But because of their chewy texture and noticeable appearance, the oats weren’t exactly “secret.” While the bread was reasonably moist, it teetered on gummy, and I was a bit turned off by its gray-ish hue. While I’m certainly a fan of enjoying oats for breakfast, I don’t think I’ll be adding them to banana bread again.
Get the recipe: Best-Ever Banana Bread Recipe
6. Cake Flour
With its perfectly domed top and shiny, golden brown hue, this loaf was undoubtedly the prettiest of the bunch. The author explains that in Japan, where she grew up, “flour” generally refers to cake flour, which is why she uses it in her baked goods. Its lower gluten content, she says, creates a soft and moist banana bread.
While this quick bread would certainly satisfy most banana bread fans, I found the texture to be light and springy, rather than moist and tender. I did like the author’s tip to test for doneness with a piece of spaghetti, considering I don’t always have a toothpick (let alone an actual cake tester).
Get the recipe: Mom’s Banana Bread
This recipe calls on buttermilk to add both moisture and flavor, and let me tell you, this was the best-tasting loaf of the bunch. Between the vanilla and cinnamon, brown and white sugars, and the rich and tangy buttermilk, I couldn’t resist going back for more bites.
As far as its texture, the best way to describe it was tender: pleasant and soft, just not overwhelmingly moist. With that said, I’ll absolutely be baking this one again!
Get the recipe: Moist Banana Bread
Inspired by a cornbread hack that involves a full cup of mayonnaise, this recipe claims mayo belongs in banana bread, too. Unfortunately, I am really not a fan of mayo, and I swear I could taste the faintest hint of it in the bread (though the mayo flavor dissipated by day three).
On the plus side, this loaf looks super impressive: Its gorgeous dark caramel exterior would win over any recipient. Plus, it was pretty moist! If you make it, use Duke’s mayonnaise like the recipe suggests, which likely has a less pronounced flavor than the Sir Kensington’s I used.
Get the recipe: Secret Ingredient Super Moist Banana Bread
3. Sour Cream
This banana bread recipe was love at first bite. The author claims that sour cream makes it moist, tender, and tangy, and I wholeheartedly agree. It also balanced the sweetness in a really wonderful way, and kept the bread moist for several days after baking.
To be honest, I’d be happy with this recipe as my new go-to. But since we’re focusing exclusively on moistness, there were two that slightly beat it out.
Get the recipe: Moist Banana Bread with Sour Cream
2. Extra Bananas
Most of these recipes called for three overripe bananas. But this one intentionally calls for five, which you’ll reduce on the stovetop before adding the remaining ingredients. Not only does this concentrate their sweet banana flavor, but it also prevents the bread from being too wet.
Though this was an extra step, it was 1000 percent worth it: The loaf was seriously moist and packed with banana flavor. Plus, I’m a sucker for a crunchy coarse sugar topping.
Get the recipe: Five Banana Banana Bread
1. Frozen Bananas
I love this recipe for so many reasons. To state the obvious, this bread is MOIST! Not dense and marshy, not light and fluffy, but somewhere perfectly in between. The secret is freezing overripe bananas, microwaving them until thawed, and then mashing them with their juices before stirring in the remaining ingredients. Brilliant!
Because the bananas themselves are the secret ingredient, you likely have everything you need on hand to make it. But you could also use this trick with any banana bread recipe: Simply swap frozen and thawed bananas for the overripe ones it calls for.
With frozen bananas in your freezer, you can whip up bread at any time: no waiting around for the bunch on your counter to brown. I recommend peeling the bananas before freezing, which will save you a step when you’re ready to bake.
Get the recipe: Best Moist Banana Bread
Read the original article on All Recipes.