Sunday, March 15, 2009

Banana Nut Bread

This is my favorite recipe for Banana Bread.  Lucky for me, it was time to use up those over-ripe bananas. Over the years, I've adapted the recipe by adding a couple of  tablespoons of poppy seeds along with chopped walnuts.  If you can't eat seeds or nuts the bread is delicious on it's own. 

I tried to find some information on the web for the origin of banana bread and this is what I found:

Quick breads (chemically leavened) which most banana bread recipes are, were not developed until the end of the 18th century. This took place in America, where pearlash was discovered. Pearlash is a refined form of potash, and it produces carbon dioxide gas in dough. In 'American Cookery' (1796 - the first American cook book) Amelia Simmons published recipes using pearlash, and we exported some 8,000 tons to Europe in 1792. (But she has no specific recipe for banana bread) Baking powder was not developed commercially until 1857 (phosphate baking powder). So the banana bread as we know it (a quick bread) could have been first made in America in the 18th century when housewives discovered pearlash as a chemical leavening agent.

The true origin is said to be a depression era housewife who just wanted some extra money. It was amazing that until then there was no banana bread. It didn't become completely popular until the 1960s. Suddenly everyone started baking banana bread!

Here is my favorite recipe for banana bread. The major change I make from the original recipe is the use of poppy seeds which I love in this bread.

Banana Nut Bread
Printable Recipe
Adapted from Noteworthy, 1986

Yields 1 large loaf, 2 small loaves or 4-5 mini loaves

¼ pound plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1-1/3 cups sugar
4 eggs, beaten
4 cups sifted flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
3 cups mashed bananas (about 7)
1 cup chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons poppy seeds (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter loaf pans or spray with nonstick cooking spray.

In large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and mix well. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add alternately with bananas to egg mixture. Fold in nuts and poppy seeds, if using. Pour into prepared loaf pans and bake in 350 degree oven for 60-70 minutes, depending on the size of the pans you are using. Cool in pans 5 minutes and then remove to a rack to cool completely.


  1. I adore banana bread, its one of my favorite things to bake with. I love how yours looks!!

  2. I can't believe banana bread is really a 60's thing!!!! But I do remember it so that must be true -- I have the Noteworthy cookbook as well -- it's a good one.

  3. Great post and history lesson - I would have thought it had been popular before the 60's.. always remember Mom making it almost every week.. best hot out of the oven!!

  4. Susan, your banana bread looks fantastic. I love the high dome on it. I would have never thought to use poppy seeds in banana bread....... I love poppy seeds. Do you soak your poppy seeds before using them?

    I also am surprised that banana bread did not become popular until the '60's. My Swedish grandmother was ahead of her time. :) I definitely have memories of her baking it in the early to mid 50's. And of course, as memories go, hers was the best I've ever had.

  5. Thank you Donna, Barb, Martha, and Cynthia!

    I'm sure it was around earlier, since the Depression I read, but it didn't become widely made or 'popular' until the 60s. I thought that was interesting too!

  6. Thank you, Kevin!

    Cynthia, I forgot to answer your question about the poppy seeds...No, I do not soak them.

  7. Love the sparkly pan too:)

    I really like banana bread..Have you tried the rolled one Susan? It's so good too!

  8. I've been experimenting with different banana breads recently, and yours looks great. I love the addition of poppy seeds. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Susan, that looks delicious!

  10. I thought I invented banana bread...LOL

    Looks delicious, and I think it tastes best the next day...but I'll eat it anytime.

  11. Susan, I would love a slice with my coffee!

  12. I love banana bread! Poppy seeds would be a new addition to me but they do sound wonderful. Your bread is picture perfect and making me hungry. Wish I had a slice this morning ;)

  13. Thanks so much, Monique, Hayley, Jayne, Kathleen and Marsha! It is yummy!


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