I’m always on the search for a good banana bread recipe. Almost 3 years ago, I embarked on a banana bread baking project to find the best tasting recipe.
3 years later, I’ve found it. This is the best tasting banana bread I’ve ever baked. All who tasted it agreed. I present to you, the King of banana bread (at least in my book)!
Fermented Banana Bread (adapted from Nigella Lawson)
- 100 grams sultanas
- 75 ml dark rum
- 175 grams all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 125 grams unsalted butter, melted
- 60 grams castor sugar
- 60 grams brown sugar
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 330 grams fermented bananas
- 60 grams chopped walnuts, lightly toasted
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 days before you want to make this banana bread, start fermenting the bananas. Mash bananas in a large bowl, but not too finely, and leave at room temperature, covered with a cling wrap, for 48 hours. After that, put into the fridge and leave for another 32 hours before using.
- Place sultanas and dark rum in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover and leave for at least an hour. I left mine for 2 hours. Drain and set aside.
- Lightly grease a loaf pan (9 x 5 x 3 inches). Preheat oven to 170 C.
- Place flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Using a spoon or your fingers, sift through and mix thoroughly. If you’re not as lazy as I am, sift everything.
- In a medium bowl, add butter and sugar and whisk until sugar is dissolved.
- Add in eggs, fermented bananas and vanilla extract and mix until combined.
- Add in flour in a few additions. I added mine all at once. Whisk/mix until combined. Batter should be lumpy. Just make sure there are no large pockets of flour.
- Add in walnuts and sultanas and fold in.
- Bake for 1 – 1 1/4 hours until a skewer in the middle of the cake comes out clean. I baked mine for 1 hour 10 minutes. I was using a dark pan, hence I baked at 160 C for 30 minutes and 150 C for 40 minutes, and covered the top with with aluminum foil about 40 minutes into baking.
I agree this takes some planning because of the fermentation time. But seriously, it is worth it. So so so worth it.
The end result is a moist, fragrant banana bread that has a fabulous taste I am unable to fully describe. Part of the fragrance is from the rum soaked raisins, but as mentioned on Nigella Lawson’s website, there is no need to worry about children eating this banana bread since the alcohol is likely evaporated during baking. The swollen juicy raisins and crunchy nutty goodness from walnuts brings this banana bread to a whole new level.
As for fermented bananas, if you’re worried about it being sour and all that, it is not. Instead, after all that fermenting, what you get is a pile of ‘black on the surface’ bananas that have a strong banana fragrance and is slightly fizzy. I admit the utter blackness when I looked into the bowl shocked me. But I gave it a sniff and it smelt good. I’ve read a few other recipes on fermented banana bread and noted if you see white mold on the bananas, that is too far gone to use.
Some of those recipes fermented the bananas for at least 4 days at room temperature. Since I stay in hot humid Singapore, I decided just 48 hours outside and 32 hours in the fridge should be enough.
Note: A week after I made this, my dad gleefully bought a huge bunch of bananas for prayers. 2 days after that, he said: ” The bananas are too ripe to eat. You take it and bake.” A day after he said that, he went: ” That banana bread you made the other day was very good. Even after 2 days still so nice.” Subtle hint on what he expects me to make with the over-ripe bananas! This banana bread is confirmed king! Why? Because this is the only thing my dad has asked me to make again.