Banana bread

There is, of course, a right brain and a left brain to the culinary arts. Left brainers are your cooks. A dash of this, a pinch of that. It’s intuitive. Most famous chefs are, at the heart of it, cooks. Then there are your right brainers. The former nerds from high school who actually enjoyed calculus. They understand precision and measurements and science. They are the bakers and pastry chefs. They delight in weighing flour on scales and grams are just an everyday part of their vocabulary.

I am a cook, a left brainer of the first order. I cried all the way through algebra two in high school and never looked back once I took my one and only science requirement in college. So baking has been a steep learning curve for me.

I have mastered the pie crust, but only because I spent an entire summer of trial and error, mostly error. I make a mean blackberry cobbler, but most bakers will tell you that any fool can make a cobbler crust and they are right. And my rum cake is first rate, but that’s only because I get a hefty assist from Mr. Duncan Hines.

So you can imagine my absolute horror when I discovered the last two bananas of a bunch I had bought sitting in the fruit bowl turning black. I immediately knew that neither of the boys were going to touch them and that there were really only two alternatives: Throw them out or make banana bread. I am far too cheap to throw out anything. So I made banana bread.

Banana bread is part of the quick breads family. There is not that pesky thing called yeast to contend with. And measurements should be as precise as possible, but if you goof up a bit you can still get tasty results.

If I ever attempt to give you an original recipe for a baked good you will know that I am just flat out lying. I can make original pan sauces all day long, but if you throw in words like baking powder and flour I am clueless about constructing anything all my own. So I turned to Miss Paula Deen, who can bake anything in her sleep with her massive wedding ring still perched on her finger.

This is her banana bread. I did cut the recipe in half because I only had two near-to-rotting bananas and her recipe calls for four. I will give you this tip, and I am sure Miss Paula Deen also knows this given her adoration of butter. Banana bread is best served with slices amply buttered and run under the broiler until the edges start to crisp.

Here’s the recipe and here’s the link to Miss Deen’s original.

Paula Deen’s Banana Bread

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 very ripe bananas

1/4 cup softened butter

1 egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix dry ingredients. Mix butter and banana. Mix dry ingredients into banana mixture. Pour into loaf pan and bake for 40-45 minutes.


Filed under breads, sweets, Uncategorized

4 responses to “Banana bread

  1. Dee

    Yes, Miss Paula’s recipes are always winners. You know, we’re related. My second cousin’s wife is Paula’s third cousin. I’m not kidding. I expect to be invited to family shindigs any day now.

    My aunt makes the best banana bread in the universe, and her secret is to add about 1/4 teaspoon of lemon extract.

  2. Leslie Fraser

    I stole my best banana bread recipe from Wanda when I first got married– and it’s a Bisquick recipe. Foolproof and wonderful. And yes, best buttered and run under the broiler!

    • How does anyone get along without Bisquick? I have a zucchini pie recipe that calls for Bisquick and it’s fabulous. And let’s not even talk about how we would survive without Sausage Balls!

  3. Hi Catherine, a bit behind on reading your posts. Just read the banana bread recipe this morning. In case you find yourself with a couple of over-ripe bananas on hand again and decide to make bread here is a really easy recipe to try. I can’t take credit for originating the recipe, but it did come from another South Carolinian, Mrs. J. L. Kelley, Charleston, SC; and was published in a Southern Living/Progressive Farmer cookbook in 1972. My gosh, that means I’ve been using the recipe for 39 years! Oh, well, try it sometime:


    1 cup sugar
    1/4 cup shortening
    2 eggs, slightly beaten
    1 cup crushed ripe bananas
    2 cups packaged biscuit mix
    1/4 cup chopped nuts

    Cream the sugar and shortening in a bowl. Add the eggs, bananas, biscuit mix and nuts and beat until well mixed. Pour into a well-greased loaf pan. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 1 (one) hour. Remove from pan and cool on rack before slicing.

    (I always use more nuts since Leon likes them. Otherwise, why would he have stayed married to me for so long?!?!?)

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