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
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.