Flour’s Famous Banana Bread

September 2, 2010 · 23 comments · Print This Post

in Bread / Rolls, Breakfast


A troupe of old gnarly bananas have commandeered my freezer. The bundles of blackened fruit take up a rather large amount of valuable real estate and the peas and chicken breasts are not impressed at all. Even though a minor war has errupted, I still buy more. These new shiny yellow recruits, currently calmly perched on the kitchen counter, will ultimately be neglected by me in favor of yogurt or Grape Nuts and then they too will turn dark and ugly and join their brothers-in-rot wrapped in frozen storage bags. Poor bananas. It’s not a pretty way to go.

But like the duckling who turns into a swan, grungy bananas too have a second chance at the beautiful life in the form of baked goods. Banana bread is, of course, the most common use for this orphaned fruit. I’ve used many banana bread recipes over the years and each one always seems to be almost exactly right but still something continues to be missing. The search for this elusive outcome caused me to attempt different variations on the banana bread theme including using brown sugar, or adding more cinnamon, and then a few dashes of nutmeg, but the results still left me feeling rather lackluster about the loaf that emerged from the oven.

Then, last Sunday I woke up at 6:30 AM (in my defense I thought the alarm clock read 8:30 AM), and padded down the stairs in my bare feet with Dexter and Watson hot on my heels, determined to reduce my banana stockpile. With my iPad safely propped up for guidance I began to search for a new recipe to create.

When I eventually stumbled upon Flour’s Famous Banana Bread I decided that 199 reviews and a 5-star rating on the Food Network site was more than enough incentive for me to give it a go. Of course the Boston connection didn’t hurt. In the end I made two loaves which reduced my mountain of bananas to the size of a large sledding hill. The most rewarding result of this early morning baking session was that I finally found a recipe that truly yielded a slice that satisfied exactly the way I expect banana bread to look, taste, and smell.

All I ever wanted in this type of bread was a soft texture with a robust banana flavor lightly scented with cinnamon and a good ratio of crunchy walnuts. That wasn’t too mush to ask, right?! If that’s what you aspire to eat as well then I think you should start neglecting your bananas as soon as possible. You might even be able to whip up your own loaf by this Sunday if the forces of nature cooperate with you.

Flour’s Famous Banana Bread
Originally published by Chef Joanne Chang of Flour Bakery in Boston

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil
3 1/2 bananas, very ripe, mashed
2 tablespoons creme fraiche or sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped

Set oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of a loaf pan with parchment paper.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Beat sugar and eggs with a whisk until light and fluffy, about 10 minutes. Drizzle in oil. Add mashed bananas, creme fraiche, and vanilla. Fold in dry ingredients and nuts. Pour into a lined loaf pan and bake for about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kelly September 2, 2010 at 4:56 pm

I imagine this is one amazing loaf of bread. I’ve made her sticky buns before and they are oh so heavenly. Even though the last thing I need is one more cookbook, I cannot wait for hers to come out this fall.

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2 Erin September 3, 2010 at 8:46 am

Hi Kelly!

I’ll have to check out the sticky bun recipe. I’m also very excited about the upcoming book. I’ve actually already requested a review copy from the publisher. I can’t wait to see what delicious treats are included.

PS: You asked about my move last week. We’re pretty much all unpacked. Really the only thing left are a few pictures that need to be hung. Hopefully soon I’ll be able to snap some images of the new apartment and post them on my personal blog.

Happy long weekend!

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3 Lauren September 2, 2010 at 5:48 pm

That looks like a phenomenal loaf of banana bread! I haven’t tried Flour’s banana bread, but it’s great to know that I can make it at home. Thanks for posting this recipe!

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4 jodye @ 'scend food September 2, 2010 at 8:44 pm

What a beautiful banana bread! The color is wonderful, and I’m sure it tastes even better than it looks!

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5 Julie September 2, 2010 at 8:51 pm

We always have bananas in the freezer. I have a favorite banana bread recipe but am always looking for new versions. Love the addition of the sour cream.

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6 A Plum By Any Other Name September 2, 2010 at 9:26 pm

Oh boy, just had an article in the South End News about her today: she makes wonderful treats. Just wonderful. Here is her impeccable muffin recipe: http://www.mysouthend.com/index.php?ch=columnists&sc=the_savored_end&sc2=&sc3=&id=109809

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7 Erin September 3, 2010 at 8:47 am

Thank you so much for sharing this recipe with me. I can’t wait to try the muffins!

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8 Sues September 2, 2010 at 10:43 pm

This looks pretty perfect!! I keep wanting to make banana bread, but then I keep letting my bananas go 1 step too far. To the point of no return. And I ned up trashing them. It’s all or nothing with me, I guess!

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9 Elina September 3, 2010 at 1:17 pm

I have like half a drawer’s worth of frozen bananas at this point. Must.make.this.banana bread asap. 🙂

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10 Shannon September 3, 2010 at 9:19 pm

Umm, all my bananas have been going into soft serve… crap. Must get some at costco 😉

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11 Blanc-manger September 3, 2010 at 9:37 pm

Your banana bread looks very good!
I don’t have over-ripe bananas in my freezer but I keep this recipe for next time.
Thank you so much!

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12 Cara September 4, 2010 at 9:54 am

Every gal needs a go-to banana bread recipe, glad you found yours! It looks and sounds delicious and from Flour bakery, how could you go wrong?

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13 Tia @ ButtercreamBarbie September 4, 2010 at 7:40 pm

aww I swore to myself that I had found my last ever banana bread recipe, but I wanna try this one now. 🙂

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14 Lisa September 5, 2010 at 2:17 pm

I don’t think I’ve ever made the same banana bread twice. And I’m okay with that. My main concern is that it tastes good slathered with butter, and not surprisingly, most do! Maybe I’ll try this one next go-round 😉

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15 newlywed September 8, 2010 at 6:57 am

I had no idea we could find Flour recipes online…so exciting! I also can’t wait for Joanne’s cookbook. I love the meringue clouds…really hoping they’ll be in there.

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16 Caitlin September 9, 2010 at 4:44 pm

I made this recipe and it really is the best banana bread I have ever made/tasted. The only changes I made were omitting nuts and I used plain, Balkan yogurt instead of sour cream.

Delicious, thank you!

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17 alutzu @ CornerParadise September 14, 2010 at 7:05 pm

I have not yet heard of banana bread…very nice…congratulions from Romania:))

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18 Courtney October 5, 2010 at 11:24 am

Looks like I’ll be making banana bread pretty soon! It’s finally chilly in Southern CA so I’m in the mood. Hope that you are doing well 🙂

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19 mistymcgrew November 14, 2010 at 3:18 am

I made this bread tonight b/c I had a bunch of overripe bananas. I also used 4 bananas instead of 3 1/2 and drizzled a peanut butter glaze over the top of mine (2 cups of confectioners sugar, a tablespoon of peanut butter, 1/3 a cup of softened margarine/butter and 2 tblspns of water beat with a whisk and drizzled over the top once cooled-you can substitute 1 tsp and a 1/2 of vanilla for the peanut butter if you’d rather). It is absolutely delicious. The bread is sooo moist and divine. Love this recipe & definitely will be making again!

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20 Julia Barrett November 20, 2010 at 6:31 am

I made this bread last week and I have to tell you, it was AMAZING. I’m making it again for Thanksgiving morning. I doubled the recipe and it made 3 huge loaves. YUM and thanks!

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21 UrMomCooks March 1, 2011 at 9:41 pm

Going to make this immediately! Thanks for posting the recipe — your pictures look delicious and I can’t wait to make this!!!

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