Bananas aren’t native to most of North America, and were only sparingly available in the U.S. throughout the 1800s. Ship captains had trouble transporting a fruit that ripened (and rotted) so quickly.
The advent of refrigeration at the turn of the 20th century soon made bananas accessible to American households nationwide, where they quickly became a breakfast staple and a common addition in desserts- mostly as a garnish atop a cake or pudding, rather than as a main ingredient.
In the 1930s, two events converged to elevate the banana from bit player to a star. First, the Great Depression made every scrap of food precious. Households were unwilling to throw away anything — even a “rotten” banana. And second, baking powder/baking soda manufacturers began mass producing their products, making them widely available nationwide for the first time.
Thus the desire to use overripe bananas, paired with the ready availability of baking powder, inspired a horde of enterprising cookbook writers to come up with recipes for banana “quick bread” (as opposed to yeast bread).
This recipe for Banana Bread has been adapted from Joanne Chang of Flour Bakery in Boston.
American Banana Bread
- Stand mixer with whisk attachment
- 9x5x3-inch Loaf pan
- 3½ Bananas, overripe and mashed
- 1 tsp Baking soda
- ¼ tsp Ground cinnamon
- ⅛ tsp Powdered nutmeg
- ½ tsp Kosher salt
- 1⅛ cups Sugar
- 2 large Eggs
- 1¾ cup All-purpose flour
- ½ cup Vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp Sour cream
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract
- ⅔ cup Walnuts, chopped and lightly toasted
- Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Butter a loaf pan.
- In a bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon. In a stand mixer with whisk attachment, whisk sugar and eggs until light and fluffy, 10 minutes. Drizzle in oil and then add mashed bananas, sour cream, and vanilla. Fold in dry ingredients and nuts. Pour into a loaf pan and bake for between 45 minutes to 1 hour.