Baker Sweet Maker - Shirl Gard
Banana Brown Bread
Author: Shirl Gard
When I first started making this banana bread, it always sank in the center; I had no idea why, but I kept making it anyway because I liked the way it tasted so much. Years later, as a pastry chef, I finally understood how to fix the recipe so that it wouldn't sink, by reducing the leavening. Too much baking powder or baking soda is usually a likely culprit when you have a "sinking" problem. I also cut back on the sugar because it seemed a little too sweet to me. I have found that many older baking recipes have too much sugar for today's taste. I prefer to use King Arthur for all three kinds of flour listed in this recipe, and in general. The "brown" in the name comes from the brown sugar and whole wheat flour, which together produces a great flavor when combined with bananas and walnuts. This is definitely my favorite banana bread recipe even though I've tried many others.

YIELD: NET WEIGHT OF BATTER = 975g (2# 2 oz)
- 3 MINI LOAF PANS SCALED @ 325g (11½ oz) EACH

  • 115 grams unsalted butter, softened, (1/2 cup / 1 stick / 4 oz)
  • 220 grams light brown sugar, (1 cup, firmly packed)
  • 100 grams eggs, (2 large), lightly beaten
  • 5 grams vanilla extract (1 teaspoon)
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 60 grams sour cream (1/4 cup)
  • 70 grams unbleached all-purpose flour (1/2 cup)
  • 60 grams cake flour, preferably unbleached (1/2 cup)
  • 70 grams whole wheat flour (1/2 cup)
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 200 grams fully ripe firm bananas (1 cup), finely diced into ¼" chunks / do not mash
  • - Two large bananas
  • 120 grams toasted walnuts (1 cup), coarsely chopped / chunky
  • 1020 grams = Total 36 oz (2# 4 oz)
  1. PREP PANS & PRE-HEAT OVEN: Spray desired pans generously using a non-stick spray with flour. Set pans on a quarter sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Pre-heat oven to 350° F (175° C).
  2. CREAM the butter and the sugar in a Kitchen Aid (or other mixer), on medium speed using the paddle, until well blended and lighter in color and texture.
  3. ADD the eggs and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  4. DISSOLVE the soda in the sour cream and beat into the creamed batter.
  5. SIFT the flour and baking powder, add salt, and whisk until completely mixed. Add the dry ingredients to the batter and pulse very slowly on low speed until completely incorporated.
  6. Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in the bananas and walnuts by hand, using a rubber spatula.
  7. SCALE batter into three mini loaf pans at 325g (11½ oz) per pan. If using disposable aluminum baby loaf pans, scale into four pans at 240g (8½ oz) per pan. Smooth the tops with a small offset spatula or the back of a spoon, heaping the batter down the center of the pans.
  8. BAKE on top shelf at 350° F (175° C) for 20 minutes. Lower temperature to 325° F (165° C), rotate the pan and finish baking on bottom shelf. Mini loaf pans will take 35-40 minutes; the baby loaf pans will take 30-35 minutes. Bake until a cake tester or wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. If using a thermometer, the internal temperature should be 210° - 212° F (99-100° C) when the banana bread is fully baked, If, at any time, the tops look like they are getting too brown, cover loosely with a piece of aluminum foil. I usually cover them during the last 5-10 minutes of baking.
  9. COOL in the pans on a rack for about 15 minutes before removing the loaves from the pans. Continue cooling loaves to room temperature on the rack.
  10. PAN SIZES: Chicago Metallic mini loaf pans - 6" (15 cm) x 3¼" (8 cm) x 2¼" (5.6 cm). Disposable aluminum baby loaf pans - 5¾" (14 cm) x 3¼" (8 cm) x 2" (5 cm)
Recipe Ancestry Notes:
I adapted this recipe from a clipping out of Gourmet Magazine, one of my all-time favorite magazines, in October 1973, and have been making it ever since.
Recipe by ShirlGard at