Banana Bread - Delicious but collapses

Lab399April 10, 2012

I have a banana bread recipe that makes 2 delicious loaves of ooey-gooey, sweet, and chewy "bread" which I suppose is really more like cake. I love this recipe except that the loaves always collapse, leaving the middle very deeply sunken. I have tried using new baking soda to no avail.

Does anyone have any suggestions on what to alter to help these loaves stand up? Smaller loaf pans (make muffins?), replace some of the oil with butter? Use cake flour? Alter cooking time or temp?

Here are the basic measurements:

2 and 1/4 c all purpose flour

1 tsp salt

3/4 c vegetable oil

2 and 1/4 c sugar

3 eggs lightly beaten

1 and 1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 c buttermilk

2 c ripe bananas

The recipe also calls for nuts, cinnamon and vanilla

Oil and sugar are mixed and then eggs and vanilla are added. Buttermilk and baking soda are mixed together. Dry ingredients are mixed together. Alternating additions of dry ingredients and the buttermilk/baking soda mix are added to the oil/sugar. Then bananas and nuts are added.


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Are you cooking it long enough?

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 6:39PM
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I think changing pans is a good idea - you might try replacing each loaf pan with an 8x8 pan, or two loaf pans with a 9x13 pan.


    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 7:17PM
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I'd change the method.

Mix ALL of your dry ingredients together well with a whisk, including the baking soda and cinnamon.

Beat your eggs lightly. Add the mashed banana, oil, and buttermilk and vanilla. Mix well.

Add to the dry ingredients and mix just until moistened, do not over mix. Fold in the chopped nuts.

Spread in your prepared loaf pans and bake at 350 until a toothpick inserted comes out mostly clean. A moist crumb or two is fine. 45-55 minutes.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 7:35PM
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Or bake it in a bundt pan. I have better luck with these types of breads in a bundt pan than in loaf pans. They bake more evenly. All of the batter will fit into one bundt pan.


    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 7:41PM
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Do you preheat your oven? Do you open the door up to check on the progress of baking? Sometimes fluctuating oven temps can cause that collapse in the middle.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 7:43PM
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It's a really unbalanced recipe. There's too much soda, and that can cause collapse, but the biggest problem is the ratio of sugar to flour. Even a high-ratio cake has only an equal weight of sugar and flour; this one has equal volumes, and sugar is a lot heavier than flour. Plus, the oil. High ratio cakes need a well-creamed fat, and even then do better with shortening than butter, according to Shirley Corriher.

Here is a link that might be useful: Shirley Corriher on high-ratio cakes

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 9:11PM
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Christine is right....sugar acts like a liquid....there's just not enough flour to hold the batter together.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 10:30PM
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My first reaction, reading the recipe is that it's not enough flour too. How about trying another recipe all together? This one has been posted for years by wizardnm [Nancy] and is a real forum favorite of many, including me. I make the recipe into two smaller loaves and slice one loaf, wrap the slices individually, freeze it, and my wife takes it to work for breakfast. Really a good recipe.

Best Recipe Cook's Illustrated
Recipe Introduction
Here's the recipe I used for years at the deli. We made 10 loaves at a time, never had any that didn't sell. We did it with nuts and with out the nuts. Even after making thousands of loaves, I still love banana bread. It's best to use very, very ripe bananas. I draw the line when I see mold. I remember goofing once and adding twice the amount of butter, it was very rich that time, a little over the top.
You can use plain yogurt as the recipe calls for or buttermilk, but we often didn't have either so we very often used whole milk with a teaspoon of vinegar stirred into it. You couldn't tell the difference.
List of Ingredients

2 C unbleached AP flour
3/4 C sugar
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 C chopped walnuts (toasted if you have time)
3 very ripe bananas, mashed well
1/4 C plain yogurt (buttermilk or sour milk works also as noted above)
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
6 Tabsp butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour bread pan.
Whisk dry ingredients together in a large bowl, stir in walnuts.
In a medium bowl mix together bananas, yogurt, eggs, butter and vanilla.
Add wet ingredients to the dry, mixing gently with a spatula, just to combine, batter should look lumpy. You don't want to over mix. Scrape batter into loaf pan.
Bake about 55 minutes, until loaf is golden and a toothpick comes out almost clean. It can have a crumb or two, but you don't want wet showing on the toothpick.
Cool about 5 min., then turn out of pan to finish cooling on a wire rack.
Makes 1- 9" loaf.

Me again, btw, it's a really easy fast recipe too. Can't brag on it enough. For sure worth a try.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 10:51PM
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Along with all the other excellent suggestions.... My mouth dropped open by the amount of sugar in ratio to the flour this recipe. I use 1/4 c. of agave nectar, or if using sugar in the recipe use 1/2 c. in my banana bread recipe to 2 cups of flour and it makes one 8x4-inch loaf. The sugar could certainly be greatly reduced as others mentioned. There should be 4-5 cups of flour for 2 loaves. There is not enough flour to fill 2 standard loaf pans (8-1/2 x 4-1/2). And if you were you using 9x5 loaf pans, which are commonly the size used for quick breads, it was pitifully inadequate. Fill loaf pans 2/3 to 3/4 full.

Personally, I'd find a new recipe rather than trying to fix this one.

Something else I noticed was there wasn't any baking powder along with the soda. There is a bit of baking science to consider. When the only leavening agent is baking soda AND you use overripe bananas (too ripe for eating, soft and mushy, with more black on the peel than yellow), there is not as much acid (pH) in overripe bananas as there is in yellow bananas. Therefore there may not be enough acid reaction in partnership with baking soda, or the reaction is a weak one. A good banana bread recipe that ensures adequate leavening will use both baking powder and baking soda in the recipe. If the recipe only has baking soda, make sure one of your bananas is yellow and not overripe. Add that to the enormous amount of sugar and eggs and other wet ingredients in the recipe and it will assure a disaster, which is exactly what you got.


    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 5:21AM
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I should have suspected - duh - it is an insane amount of sugar! I am going to mess around with it over the next few weeks based on your alls suggestions. I will get back with the results.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 9:16AM
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If you want to stay with this recipe, use butter instead of oil. Oil cakes always have more sugar to compensate for the fact that oil, unlike butter, does not have a good taste. Replacing oil with butter, you can use only 3/4 as much sugar in any recipe. That'd be about 1 2/3 cups, but I'd take it down to 1 1/2.
Decrease the soda to 3/4 tsp. You could add 2 tsp baking powder; the buttermilk along with the banana should make things work with just soda, but as Grainlady points out, you'll have varying acidity with the bananas.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 9:37AM
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I agree with cc, the buttermilk and banana should make things work with just soda, but natural products like bananas have varying acidic levels that cannot be controlled.

I was also aghast at the amount of sugar, that's very unusual in a banana bread recipe. My recipe is very similar to Nancy's, other than it's from an old Friends of the White Cloud Library cookbook which was sold as a fundraiser, and it calls for sour cream instead of yogurt.


    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 10:57AM
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If you really love the recipe, why worry about perfecting it? So it collapses? Taste is more important to me than the appearance. Once you hack into it, it doesn't look too pretty anyway.

Try the muffins and see if it does the same thing. Or experiment if you want but I wouldn't condemn something I like because it doesn't look "conventional". Different can be great.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 6:01AM
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I wholeheartedly agree with Cynic. 'Ooey-gooey, sweet, and chewy' is a good thing in my book. Well, except for the waist-line and blood sugar, that is. Doesn't have to be technically perfect unless you're going for county fair blue ribbons. Main thing is how it tastes!

    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 8:13AM
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I definitely agree that taste is the main thing, unless you are in a position where appearance is paramount, like the aforementioned county fairs or a company treat that you want to look perfect. I'd take an imperfect slice or muffin that tastes wonderful over a perfect one that's dry and tasteless any day.

But Lab specifically asked how to keep the loaf from collapsing so we're busily trying to solve that issue, LOL. I still feel that's an unnecessary and inordinate amount of sugar.

Where did the original recipe come from? Could there have been a misprint or a mistake in a hand written recipe?


    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 12:33PM
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I'm going out on a limb to add that the sugar amount is the peripheral ingredient here. Yes, you could use less sugar (omit the extra 1/4 cup [and up to 1/2 cup]) and I promise the recipe will not suffer.

But the sugar is not the only ingredient that jumped out at me.

Assuming the eggs you used were large, I would omit one egg. Also guessing the bananas used were large (2 large bananas = 1 cup (8 ounces), I would omit 1 large banana from your recipe.

You didn't mention the size of the loaf pans. But I'm going to figure standard loaf pans (8-inch to 9-inch) were used. That's fine. However, if after testing the breads at the end of the baking time, their tops are golden brown but still raw in the center, then drape the loaves loosely with aluminum foil and leave them to bake an extra 15 minutes, before checking for doneness.

If all else fails, cover its hideousness with a glaze and rejoice in the fact that you've found a banana bread that makes you happy.
Or, better yet. Load it up in a slingshot and shoot it in our direction.


    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 1:03PM
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Sol, you're a genius. I think Lab should bake up several batches and mail some to each of us, so that we can personally test it. Yeah, now THERE'S an idea!


    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 1:13PM
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Hey there Annie Banani!
I was once told I possessed incredible mental abilities, or perhaps I was accused of being 'mental.'
Whatever :) I think the latter is more fun, don't you?


    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 1:34PM
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Sol, how many times have I mentioned that you must be a

And I love you, because you're so much fun!


    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 2:56PM
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