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A student on a budget’s quick guide to baking the best banana bread ever

banana bread
Caught the banana bread fever? You may be grateful for these beginner tips. Source: Shutterstock

As far as quarantine hobbies go, few are as delightfully odd as the banana bread fever.

Banana bread has long been a staple in the home baker’s repertoire. A delicious way to use ripened bananas, it is simple, fast, and affordable to whip up in a kitchen of any size.

And it seems the world is finally realising this.

All you need are a few bananas (you can freeze them for up to a couple of months) and the basic ingredients to make a cake (flour, sugar, baking soda, butter, eggs, vanilla essence).

What’s great about this classic bread is its basic recipe can be infinitely tweaked and refined to your taste, whether you’re vegan or watching your glucose levels.

Truly, banana bread is a treat even a novice baker can make. This is great news for students on a budget with limited kitchen space and time to spare. It’s even better for international students who are stuck in their dorms with half a dozen bananas accelerating in ripeness.

So how do you make sure you nail it?

banana bread

Simple, fast, and affordable to bake. What’s not to love? Source: Shutterstock

Switch up the texture by mashing or slicing bananas

Mashing bananas into your mix creates the firm, dry texture we’ve come to associate with banana bread. But if you prefer a softer, cake-like consistency, use sliced bananas instead.

No matter which you choose, make sure the bananas are well ripened. Overripe bananas make the best banana bread.

Be generous with chocolate chips

Banana and chocolate are a match made in heaven. That’s why chocolate chips are a favourite addition to banana bread — and we can’t recommend it enough.

Though you should add enough chips to ensure cocoa goodness in every bite, remember that this bread is already sweet from banana and sugar.

Therefore, use semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips instead of white or milk chocolate. This will create an enjoyable, balanced sweetness.

Don’t be afraid to get nutty with banana bread

If you’re looking to include nuts in your banana bread, pick walnuts. Not only do they add an interesting crunch, but these nuts also elevate your bread’s flavour to bakery standard.

banana bread

Before long, you’ll be whipping up more favourites from that bakery down the street. Source: Stephanie Keith/Getty Images North America/Getty Images via AFP

Here’s a simple recipe to get you started on your journey towards mastering banana bread.

Thanks to Sara S from the University of Portsmouth for sharing this recipe on The Student Food Project.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup soft light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) softened unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup/golden syrup
  • 4 ripe bananas

Optional: 1/2 cup chocolate chips or walnuts

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Grease and line a 9×5 inch loaf pan. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and sugars.
  3. Add in the eggs, vanilla and softened butter and stir (don’t worry, it will be lumpy!) then add in the maple syrup and mashed banana and stir until combined. Be careful not to over-mix as this will toughen the batter.
  4. Pour into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 35-45 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean. If the top is getting too brown, cover with foil and place back in the oven.
  5. Leave to cool for 15 minutes and then remove from the pan. Cover in foil and store for up to 1 week.

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