I am a huge fan of banana bread variations, adding a wide variety of mix-ins and other flavors to my recipes. Sometimes, however, I forget about simple changes that can make a big difference in the finished product, like switching out all purpose flour for whole wheat flour to make this Whole Wheat Banana Bread.
Switching to a whole wheat flour not only helps you get more whole grains in your diet – because I’m not going to be the one to tell you to cut back on banana bread – and eating more whole grains is always a good thing. The whole wheat flour gives it a slightly nutty flavor that makes the bread feel a bit less sweet than some traditional banana breads. The recipe starts with three medium bananas, which give the bread a great banana flavor and a very moist base. The exact quantity of banana puree can be a little bit flexible and three bananas should be plenty – unless your bananas are very tiny or very gigantic, which might put you a little under or over the idea amount. Cinnamon and vanilla are added to the dough to give it even more flavor.
The finished banana bread is tender, with a dense crumb that holds up well to slicing. It also holds up well to toasting, which is a fantastic way to enjoy this bread, by the way (especially if you spread on a little butter, cream cheese or peanut butter when it is warm). I find that it is a bit easier to over bake whole wheat baked goods, so if you want to ensure that your bread remains moist, err on the side of caution and take it out a minute or two early. You want your toothpick/tester to have a few moist crumbs attached, not be completely clean. The loaf should keep well for a couple of days after baking, provided that you keep it in an tight container after it has cooled.
If you want to sweeten up the loaf a little bit, sprinkle it generously with coarse sugar before baking or stir in 1/2 cup of chocolate chips or toffee bits. Up to 3/4 cup chopped, toasted nuts can also be added to the bread to give it a little extra texture, too.
Whole Wheat Banana Bread
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups mashed banana (approx. 3 medium)
1/3 cup butter, melted and cooled
Preheat oven 375F and lightly grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar and eggs until well combined, then whisk in the mashed banana and vanilla extract. Pour dry ingredients into wet ingredients and stir until just combined, making sure no streaks of flour remain. Pour in melted butter and whisk until completely incorporated. Pour batter out into prepared baking pan.
Bake for 50-54 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, with only a few moist crumbs attached.
Turn loaf out onto a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.
Makes 1 loaf.