Cookin’ with Condley
Published 4:00 pm Tuesday, March 14, 2023
By Sarah Condley
Since Brad, my husband has developed an allergy to plain flour. He wants me to find recipes that won’t make him sneeze – aka using whole wheat flour. We had five ripe bananas on the counter, and I was just about ready to make my normal banana bread (recipe courtesy of Kathy Mayfield) when Brad came into the kitchen and said why don’t you make it with whole wheat flour. I sighed and said, “Ok, but I’ll have to search the internet for a recipe.” He asked if I could substitute whole wheat flour in the recipe we love, and I told him whole wheat flour is different and recipes won’t turn out if you switch out the flour. After looking through several whole wheat banana bread recipes on the computer, I decided to use the one listed on the King Arthur website (kingarthurbaking.com). King Arthur is a well-known flour company, and I figured their recipe would likely turn out.
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After printing out the recipe, I headed to the kitchen and got started. The first thing I did was find a loaf pan that was the right size (I have several loaf pans and none of them are the same size). I greased the pan and set it aside, then turned on the oven to preheat.
Mashing the ripe bananas was a cinch; I always put them on a plate and used a fork to do the mashing – it worked like a charm every time. Next, I put the butter and sugar into my stand mixer, turned it on and blended until the two ingredients were smooth. I poured in some homemade vanilla (a Christmas gift from our grandson, Luke), the baking soda, salt, bananas and turned on the mixer to beat them into the creamed butter mixture. Once combined, I added the honey and eggs and again turned on the mixer, mixing until combined. I removed the bowl from the stand and stirred the whole wheat flour and pecans. I’d asked Brad if he wanted walnuts or pecans in the bread, and he chose pecans.
The batter was stiff, requiring spooning it into the pan instead of pouring it in. I smoothed the top of the batter, and after sitting for ten minutes, it went into the oven and baked for 50 minutes. When the timer rang out, I covered the bread with foil and let it continue baking for ten minutes. The bread came out of the oven, and a toothpick inserted came out clean. The loaf cooled for 10 minutes, and then I turned it out onto a cooling rack to finish cooling.
I was glad I’d used the 9×5 loaf pan because if I hadn’t, the bread would have come up and over the top of the baking dish.
The bread had been cooling on the rack for about 15 minutes while I was doing some other stuff around the house, and I remembered that the “best banana bread recipe” (the one from Kathy) always has melted butter poured over it as soon as it comes out of the oven. I returned to the kitchen, put the whole wheat banana bread back into the pan, melted some butter and poured it over the top. I was hoping the butter would sink in and around the bread like it does with the other banana bread, but I guess the bread had cooled a bit too much. The butter did sink in a bit, but it mostly cooled on the loaf.
Since the bread was cool enough to try, Brad was ready to dig in. I sliced off a piece, and he said he thought it was pretty good, but not as good as Kathy’s bread (I already had that feeling). I thought the whole wheat banana bread was ok; it did have a nice banana flavor, but I didn’t care for the whole wheat texture.
We sent some of the banana bread home with our son, Daniel, when he and his family visited the next day. Daniel and Katelyn agreed with Brad that the whole wheat banana bread was good, though it was a bit dry around the edges. Again, I blame that on the whole wheat flour.
Brad must have enjoyed it because he ate the rest of the loaf within a couple of days, and it didn’t make him sneeze or get stopped. I guess we conquered the allergy thing by using whole wheat flour.
According to Brad, this recipe falls into the Nailed It category, and when he wants banana bread, this is the recipe I’ll use.
100% Whole Wheat Banana Bread
• 2 cups mashed banana (about 5 medium)
• 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
• 1/2 cup light brown sugar or dark brown sugar, packed
• 1 teaspoon King Arthur Pure Vanilla Extract
• 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
• 3/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 cup honey
• 2 large eggs
• 2 cups King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour
• 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional; toasted if desired
• Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9”x5” loaf pan.
• Mash the bananas with a potato masher or fork; or puree them in a blender or food processor.
• In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until smooth. Add the vanilla, baking soda, salt, and bananas, beating until well combined. Beat in the honey and eggs.
• Add the flour, then the walnuts, stirring until smooth.
• Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top. Let it rest at room temperature for 10 minutes.
• Bake the bread for 50 minutes, then gently lay a piece of aluminum foil across the top, to prevent over-browning. Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, then remove the bread from the oven; a long toothpick or paring knife inserted into the center should come out clean.
• Allow the loaf to cool for 10 minutes; then remove it from the pan, and set it on a rack to cool completely. Store at room temperature, well wrapped in plastic, for several days; freeze for longer storage.