Brown Butter Banana Bread
Updated: May 12
This is what all banana breads wish it could be. The kind that you'll be dreaming about, for several nights probably.
for 12-18 banana bread slices
8 tablespoons or 1 stick of butter
6 tablespoons packed brown sugar
¼ cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 small eggs, at room temperature
¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
½ cup full-fat milk or heavy cream
½ tablespoons vinegar
4 small-medium bananas, lightly mashed
1. In a medium sauce pan on medium-high heat, place cubed up butter to brown, stirring occasionally to avoid milk solids from burning. Take off the heat once deep amber and transfer into a heat-proof bowl to cool or directly into the bowl of the stand mixer.
2. Preheat oven to 350° F. Line baking pans with parchment paper, making sure you leave an overhang to easily lift the banana bread out of of the pan once it's baked. Rub a generous amount of oil to encourage an easy release.
3. In another bowl, add vinegar to your milk or cream, letting sit for 5-10 minutes. This essentially makes buttermilk.
4. In a stand mixer, whisk together sugars, room temperature eggs, and vanilla extract until well combined and resembles a thick syrup, around 5 minutes.
5. Slowly stream in brown butter, two tablespoons at a time, to allow the batter to emulsify. This ensures your banana bread maintains its structure and allows a good rise.
6. Fold in flour mixture to the batter in batches. Be careful not to overmix.
7. Mix in buttermilk and mashed bananas. Transfer batter into parchment paper-lined baking pans.
8. Place in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Rotate once halfway through to brown evenly. Let cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack for another 10-15 minutes.
9. Serve with a sprinkle of granulated or sanding sugar on top for an added crunch.
The brown butter really comes through in this recipe. I've been meaning to try a recipe that uses this magical ingredient and there was no better time than now. The brown butter not only lends its nutty flavor but adds more richness to the batter.
While developing this recipe, I was torn between using oil or butter. To make sure the banana bread still had a good rise, I beat my sugar and eggs for quite a while. Using a chemical leavening agent like baking soda and activating it with buttermilk also guarantees moistness rather than a dense bread. Unlike my Spiced Carrot Loaf Cake, I wasn't particularly looking for lift or height. I decided it was okay to have a tight-crumbed banana bread but a profound rich flavor.
Taking a page out of Carla Lalli Music's book, I sprinkled some granulated sugar on top of the bread. This gave it a very satisfying crunch and contrast to the moistness of the Brown Butter Banana Bread.
- Keeping your eggs at room temperature is an important step to increase the volume of the batter. Since we're using butter, we need to make sure the bread isn't dense and still had some lift.
- I used two 3x6" pans since that's what I had available, and filled 1 small springform tart pan.
- The vinegar won't add a sour taste in your cake but rather reacts with the baking soda to provide your bread more lift and moisture.
- Feel free to add your mix-ins together when you pour in the mashed bananas. I strongly feel it can hold its own in this recipe though.
For the first time ever, I vote for leaving chocolate out of this recipe. Let brown butter be the star for once and savor its flavor, or bake two loaves and add chocolate in one (like what I did!) I can't deny how good this looks with chocolate though.