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Cook's Illustrated: The Secret to Moist Banana Bread is Microwaving the Bananas

I almost felt like a culinary expert the other day when I read an article in Cook’s Illustrated magazine about baking banana bread. The article was written by a leader of a team of banana bread experts who focused on how to bake a moist banana bread without using too many bananas. I felt as if this was one of the few culinary articles that I could relate to because I, too, have experimented with bananas and banana-bread baking techniques in order to perfect the art of moistening the bread without putting in too many bananas.

Unfortunately, however, the writer and the team of experts left me in the dust when they stopped focusing on the number of bananas that should be in the mix (four) and instead came up with the semi-genius idea of microwaving the bananas beforehand- of course, they added a few extra steps. Quite frankly, microwaving bananas never would have occurred to me. How could a newbie cook (even an experienced banana bread baker such as myself) be expected to even consider the idea of microwaving the bananas? The only time I’ve ever even eaten roasted bananas is in a peanut butter and jelly sandwich made by an overly-creative and probably bored babysitter when I was eight and I’m sure that I would never be allowed by the real cook of the house to even consider microwaving a piece of fruit. The clean up time alone is reason enough to let that idea go.

Some of the ideas that the experts came up with weren’t quite as genius as the roasted bananas- excuse me, as the microwaved bananas. For example, I wasn’t surprised that adding dried banana chips to the mixture didn’t moisten the bread. The last time I checked, dry is the opposite of moist, which was probably why the addition of the dry chips didn’t work out too well- go figure. If strange brainstorming ideas like that were all it took to become a master chef or a food editor, I might have a much different life than I do,  but I have an idea that it’s not quite that easy to get an in.

The cooks also added vanilla to their banana bread recipe. Like many of you, I do the same. I may be wrong, but I think that most sweet baked goods taste just a little bit better with a dash of real vanilla.

I’m not going to microwave my bananas the next time I make banana bread, but please let me know if you try it.