How to make Yeasted Banana Bread

How to make banana yeast bread

Banana bread is no stranger to most of us, but somewhere around 99.99% of banana bread recipes turn out quick breads (breads leavened with baking powder or baking soda rather than yeast).

I love banana quick breads and muffins, to be sure, but sometimes it’s a little fun to shake things up and make a yeast bread with overripe bananas.

Plus, this bread is kind of a looker.

yeasted banana bread

Aaand if you prefer a lighter, less-sweet banana bread, this will be right up your alley…it’s more like bread and less like cake.

I used to make this when I was a teenager, and the recipe comes from my beloved 1970s Better Homes and Gardens bread cookbook.  I’d sort of forgotten about it until I ended up with 10 super ripe bananas recently, so I decided this was a good time to dust off the recipe!

To start, you’ll need to mash some overly ripe bananas.

You can do this in a food processor, but because I am too lazy to get it out and wash it, I just use a potato masher.

mashed bananas

I never get the bananas as fine as the food processor does, but this seems to have no ill effect on the end product.

Easy for the win!

You’ll also need to combine the milk, sugar, butter, and salt and heat it to around 120° F.  The microwave is super convenient for this and I do it right in the measuring cup.

hot milk for bread dough

Combine 2 cups of the flour with the dry yeast.

active dry yeast with flour

Mix the yeast and flour together.  Then you’ll pour in the milk mixture and add the bananas, an egg, and an egg yolk.

(We’re reserving one white for glazing the loaves later.)

eggs for banana bread

At this point, the dough will be a lot more like batter and you’ll beat it on medium speed for about 3 minutes.

banana bread batter

Now you’re going to add in as much of the remaining flour as necessary to make a kneadable dough.

I like my dough to be fairly soft when I start to knead it, but you can make yours a little stiffer than mine if you like.

bread dough ready to knead

Here’s what it’ll look like when you dump it out.

bread dough before kneading

And once you knead it, it should look more like this.  See how it’s still soft enough to sort of flatten out a bit on the counter?

kneaded bread dough

That’s good because when dough is very stiff, the yeast bubbles have a hard time lifting it, and the result is heavy bread.

Softer dough will rise up beautifully, though.

Place the dough in a bowl, cover it with a wet tea towel, and leave it to rise for an hour.

Once it’s done rising, turn it out onto a lightly floured counter and divide it in half.

divide bread dough

Then you’ll want to make each half into a round loaf.  I do this by pulling the outer edges around so that there’s a smooth surface on the top and sort of an ugly mess on the bottom, like so.

bottom of banana bread loaf

It takes a little bit of practice to do this easily, especially with a ball of dough this size, but it’s the best way I’ve found to make nice smooth yeast dough balls for loaves, buns, or rolls.

Place each loaf onto a greased baking sheet.  You could try to fit two on one sheet, but I think it’s too crowded that way.

Cover each loaf with a wet tea towel and let the loaves rise until doubled, about 30-45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°F about ten minutes before the rising time is up so the oven is nice and hot when your bread is ready to bake.

Then whisk an egg white together with a teaspoon of water.  Brushing this over the unbaked loaves will help them develop a beautiful sheen while they bake.

egg white wash for bread

Brush over the whole loaf, and then use a knife to make slashes on the loaf, like so:

slash risen bread dough

I find that a knife with really shallow serrations works great for a task like this.

Pop your loaf into the oven and bake for 30-45 minutes, then remove loaf to a wire rack to cool.

(And put your other loaf in the oven to bake!)

yeasted round banana bread

Then slice, butter, and enjoy.

banana yeast bread

Since the recipe makes two loaves, and since it has no preservatives, you’ll probably want to freeze one so that it doesn’t dry out before you get to it.

If you have a small family, try cutting the loaves in half and freezing each half separately.  That way you can defrost just one half at a time.

Yeasted Banana Bread

Printable Yeasted Banana Bread Recipe
makes 2 round loaves

5.5-6 cups all purpose flour (Gold Medal Unbleached is the BEST)
2 pkg. active dry yeast
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, cut into pieces
2 ripe bananas, mashed (1 cup)
2 eggs

In a large mixer bowl, combine yeast with 2 cups of the flour.

In a measuring cup, combine the milk, sugar, butter, and salt, and heat to 115°F.

With the mixer running, add the milk mixture to the flour mixture. Then add mashed bananas, 1 egg, and 1 egg yolk (reserve the white for brushing over the loaves.)

Beat at low speed until combined, then beat at medium speed for 3 minutes. Stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft, but kneadable dough.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead 3-5 minutes, adding flour as necessary, until dough is smooth and elastic.

Place dough in bowl, cover with wet tea towel, place in a warm spot and let rise for 1 hour.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface, divide in half, and shape each half into a round loaf. Place each loaf on a greased baking sheet. Cover with a damp tea towel and let rise til double (30-45 minutes).

Use a knife with shallow serrations to make slashes around the loaf as shown in the photos. Beat egg white with 1 teaspoon water; brush over loaves.

Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 30 minutes. Remove from baking sheet to cool on a wire rack, and place second loaf in oven to bake.

Reindeer and Snowmen (well, cupcake versions, anyway.)

Sometimes the best-laid plans get derailed.  And boy, a lot of things have gotten derailed this last week at my house!

holiday cupcake ideas

Here was the plan: Aldi had a holiday blogger program this month that didn’t work out for me for a number of reasons, so as an alternative, I suggested that I use the gift certificates they sent me to have a cupcake decorating party with my kids and some friends.

cupcake party

Except that when said decorating party falls on the week when plague is at your house, you might decide that your friends would be more blessed by NOT decorating cupcakes in your germy abode.

I kept thinking we’d all be better before Christmas, but that clearly is not gonna happen. So yesterday, my kids and I made cupcakes (fortunately, they were all feeling well enough to participate.)

cupcake party

And hey, there are four kids that live here, so, you know, it’s sort of like a small (ok, very small) party.

But!

If your house isn’t infected with noxious germs, you could obviously make this idea into a party.

And of course, if you live in the Land of No Aldi (I’m so sorry for you!!), you can buy all your ingredients at a regular grocery store.

I made the chocolate cupcakes that Lisey and I always make for our cute cupcake adventures.

chocolate cupcakes

Aldi doesn’t carry cupcake liners year round but they do around most major holidays.

aldi cupcake liners

Keep an eye out for clearanced liners after the holidays, by the way! My Aldi is pretty much sold out of them at this point, but your Aldi might have some left to mark down after Christmas.

aldi baking cups

The good thing about chocolate cupcakes is that they obscure the liner almost entirely (the chocolate is so dark, the liner appears dark on the sides), so you can use liners from the wrong holiday with no problems.

cook's illustrated chocolate cupcakes

Though obviously I had seasonally appropriate liners this go-round.  ;)

Initially, we had plans to make three different kinds of cupcakes: Santas, reindeer, and snowmen.

Since it ended up being a small shindig, though, we opted for just two kinds.

However!

You can read all about how to make adorable Santa cupcakes over on Lisey’s blog, since she and I made those last Christmas.

ow to make santa cupcakes

Of course, you need some reindeer cupcakes to go with the Santa cupcakes.  You’ll use these three things:

reindeer cupcake ingredients

plus chocolate frosting, mini chocolate chips, and mini marshmallows.

Incidentally, am I the only one who thinks Nilla wafers are ridiculously expensive?  Every now and then I notice them in a regular grocery store and they’re sometimes pushing $5 a box.

Save your dollars and buy ‘em at Aldi, I say! The pretzels and M&Ms are from Aldi as well.

(Do you know why Aldi carries brand name M&Ms?  It’s because they haven’t been able to find a supplier who can make a good generic version, so they opt for the brand name rather than sacrifice quality.  Same is true for Pringles and Twizzlers. #AldiNerd)

Ok!

So, you’ll frost a cupcake with chocolate buttercream, add a Nilla wafer for a nose, and use a bit of frosting to secure an M&M to the wafer.  We used red, but your reindeer can have brown noses too, of course.  Then add mini pretzels for antlers.

reindeer cupcakes from Aldi

For the eyes, we had to do a bit of figuring.

The original recipe suggested mint M&Ms with a dot of chocolate frosting, but I couldn’t find white M&Ms anywhere.

So, we cut mini marshmallows in half, cut a hole in the middle of the marshmallow, and inserted an upside-down mini chocolate chip.

reindeer

Aldi used to carry mini chocolate chips only around the holidays, but they are a year-round item at my store now. This makes my kids very happy because they love to mix in mini chocolate chips to whatever they happen to be baking.

Brownies, muffins, pancakes…it doesn’t matter.  They all get chocolate-chipped!

And Lisey and I have found that mini chocolate chips are very very handy when you need eyes on various cupcakes.

(See the Santas above!)

So, snowmen.

how to make snowman cupcakes

These are really simple to make….white buttercream frosting, chocolate chips, M&Ms and Twizzlers.

If you want your white frosting to be super white, leave out the vanilla.  If you’re more concerned about flavor, add the vanilla, and your snowmen will be a slightly warmer shade of white.

You can buy clear vanilla for this purpose, but I never think of it in time!

The snowman inspiration I found online used black licorice, so I bought Aldi’s variety.

Aldi black licorice

But the pieces are short and round, so we did not have success turning these into hats.  Fortunately, I’d bought Twizzlers when I was at Aldi as well, so our snowmen just ended up having red hats. ;)

80s snowman

(When Zoe started decorating this one, I thought the single band of red looked like an 80’s sweatband.)

snowmen cupcakes

Mini chocolate chips served as eyes and mouths, and for the noses, I chopped orange M&Ms in half.  The original recipe called for candy-coated sunflower seeds, but this is a much cheaper (and more delicious!) option.

IMG_6538

My kids were split about which cupcakes were more fun to decorate, so Zoe helpfully suggests that you just make both kinds.  ;)

kids cupcakes

And you could certainly throw in the Santas as well.

holiday cupcake ideas

Have a lovely Christmas Eve, everyone. I’ll be over here, trying to stay well (not sick yet!!) and trying to get my kiddos back to health, and hopefully we’ll all feel good enough to enjoy the day tomorrow.

Large thanks to Aldi for the gift certificates and for making food so delightfully affordable.