the best banana bread (vegan)

I didn’t grow up making banana bread. I think Grandma may have made some for us occasionally, but the quick bread of choice in my home was zucchini bread. We made it only in the summer, mostly with zucchini that were so big you had to peel the tough dark skin off and scoop out the huge seeds before grating the flesh. The dense, moist zucchini bread that resulted was the best way to get kids to eat a second serving of zucchini.  I’ve hung on to that tried-and-true recipe, but only pull out the recipe in the summer, when the home-grown zucchini are abundant.

I’d never made much banana bread until I had kids of my own. I’ve learned a few things through trial and error. The most important is that when given a range of banana to use in the recipe (say 2 to 3 bananas), always choose the larger number. The higher the proportion of banana, the more intense banana flavor your banana bread will have. It’ll be moister too. I have found that I prefer baking quick breads in small pans, and that a recipe for one standard loaf fits into the two smaller bread pans I have, yielding little loaves with nice domed tops. They bake quicker. They tend to disappear quicker too.

A few months back, a friend from Taiwan asked for a baking lesson. She wanted to learn to make banana bread, vegan if possible. That was when I discovered that the trusty ground flax seed substitute for an egg worked very well in this banana bread. Just replace the egg with one tablespoon ground flax seed plus three tablespoons of water.

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Here’s my version of banana bread, adapted slightly from Simply Recipes.

Ingredients:

3 very ripe bananas, mashed

1/3 cup canola oil

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon ground flax seed

3 tablespoons water

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix mashed bananas with oil, brown sugar, flax seed, water, and vanilla. Stir until well blended. Mix dry ingredients thoroughly in a separate bowl. Gradually stir the dry ingredients into the banana mixture.

Grease two small pans (5 3/5 x 3 x 2 1/8 inches) and divide the batter equally between them. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool for about 5 minutes in the pans, on a wire rack. Then remove from pans and cool completely.

Note: If you don’t need or want it vegan, simply omit the ground flax seed and water and use one large egg instead.

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