Banana bread is the ultimate comfort food. Sourdough discard banana bread is a great way to use up excess sourdough discard and overly-ripe bananas. It is delicious, moist, and simple to make. The sourdough starter adds extra flavor without making the banana bread taste like sourdough bread. It makes a great breakfast topped with creamy butter and served with a cup of coffee or a great afternoon snack.
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Nothing smells better than a freshly baked loaf of sourdough discard banana bread. This loaf stays moist for days and makes a thoughtful and delicious gift. I am always giving out loaves of quick bread around the holidays.
What’s great about this sourdough banana bread is it won’t take hours to make and doesn’t need any additional yeast. This is not a traditional “sourdough” bread recipe. It’s still a simple to make quick bread that just happens to include a cup of sourdough discard.
What is sourdough discard?
Sourdough discard is the part of your sourdough starter that you usually throw away when you feed it. I feel guilty about throwing away food and am always looking for ways to reduce food waste.
Sourdough discard adds tons of incredible flavor to baked goods. The lactic acid bacteria found in sourdough discard adds flavor and tenderizes wheat proteins.
This recipe can use sourdough discard from any step in the sourdough starter process. It can be bubbly and freshly fed, dormant from sitting in your refrigerator, or anywhere in between. It also doesn’t matter what type of flour your starter has been fed with. All-purpose, whole wheat, or any variety of flour will work.
Sourdough Tip: Keep a glass jar in your refrigerator to store your sourdough discard. Continue adding to it until you have enough to make one of these sourdough discard recipes.
How ripe should bananas be?
As a banana ripens, the starch in the fruit turns to sugar. The riper the banana the sweeter it is.
Banana bread tastes best when made with really ripe bananas. Ripe bananas should have started to form brown spots on the skin and begun to soften. Letting your bananas ripen even longer, until the skins are mostly brown and the fruit falls apart when you peel it, will give your bread an even stronger banana flavor.
How to ripen bananas quickly
If you really want to make banana bread but don’t have any ripe bananas you can ripen some quickly using one of these two methods.
- Oven Method: Place under-ripe bananas on a baking sheet and bake at 250˚F for 15 to 20 minutes depending on the initial ripeness of the bananas.
- Counter Method: Place under-ripe bananas in a paper bag, seal, and leave at room temperature. Trapping the ethylene gas emitted by the bananas in a paper bag will cause the bananas to ripen quickly.
Can you use frozen bananas?
Yep! I always have a zip-top bag full of bananas stashed in my freezer. Allow the bananas to thaw at room temperature for about 30 minutes before mashing them.
How to freeze bananas
If you have ripe bananas but aren’t ready to use them you can freeze them. My family is pretty picky when it comes to bananas. If they are completely yellow with no green they are too ripe. Because of this, I am always tossing bananas in the freezer to use for smoothies or banana bread.
- Peel and break the bananas into large chunks.
- Place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze for one hour.
- Transfer the bananas to a freezer zip-top bag and label it with the date and contents.
How to make sourdough banana bread
- Move the oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheight. Grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan with butter or nonstick cooking spray.
- Whisk the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.
- In a second large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment mix the bananas on low, gradually increasing the speed to medium-high. Continue mixing until the bananas have broken down and look like lumpy baby food.
- Add the brown sugar and oil and mix until smooth and creamy, approximately two minutes. On medium speed, add the eggs one at a time, mixing until each egg is fully incorporated. Mix in the sourdough discard and vanilla extract on medium speed until combined.
- With the mixer running on low speed, slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until no flour clumps remain. Do not overmix.
- Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 60 to 65 minutes. The banana bread is done when a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and allow the bread to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove the bread from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack.
These are my favorite pans for baking loaves of quick bread. They are heavy duty which means they won’t warp and distribute heat evenly. Plus they are non-stick which makes removing the loaves of bread really easy.
How do you know when banana bread is done?
Baking times for all recipes are only suggestions. The actual baking time will vary depending upon your oven. It is helpful to know your oven and worth purchasing an inexpensive oven thermometer. Oven temperatures can vary as much as 50 degrees plus or minus.
Insert a toothpick into the center of the loaf. If it comes out clean or with just a crumb or two sticking to it your banana bread is done. If there is uncooked batter on the toothpick bake the banana bread for a few minutes longer.
Alternatively, you can check your banana bread with an instant-read thermometer. This one from ThermoWorks is my favorite. Once the center of the loaf has reached 200 – 205 degrees Fahrenheit the loaf is done.
Wrap the banana bread with plastic wrap and store at room temperature for 4-5 days.
- Once the banana bread has cooled, tightly wrap the whole loaf or slices (individually or grouped) in 2-3 layers of plastic wrap or aluminum foil.
- Place the wrapped banana bread in a large freezer zip-top bag or reusable container.
- Label with the date and contents and freeze for up to 3-4 months.
- Thaw in the refrigerator or at room temperature.
This recipe is very forgiving and will support various substitutions.
- Flour: For a nuttier flavor swap up to half of the flour for whole wheat flour.
- Frozen Bananas: You can use frozen bananas instead of fresh ones. Thaw them at room temperature and drain off any excess liquid before using in the recipe.
- Sugar: Feel free to substitute the same amount of regular white granulated sugar for the brown sugar although the bread may not be as moist. You can also reduce the amount of sugar if you prefer your banana bread less sweet.
- Oil: Swap the oil for the same amount of softened unsalted butter.
- No Sourdough Discard? Substitute sour cream, yogurt, unsweetened applesauce, or even canned pumpkin puree.
- Mini Loaves: Pour the batter into three mini loaf pans and bake for 45 minutes.
- Muffins: Use this sourdough discard banana bread recipe to make 24 banana muffins. Pour the batter into lined or greased muffin pans and bake for 5 minutes at 425°F then reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. The total bake time is about 20-23 minutes.
- Turn your banana bread into french toast. Cut dried out banana bread into 1/2-inch slices. Dip the slices into french toast custard and cook in a skillet or on a griddle.
Banana bread is a great base for all sorts of additional flavors. For an added flavor twist, try adding peanut butter, chocolate chips, chopped nuts, raisins, or blueberries.
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