Banana bread can be anything you want it to be, a crusted cake-like quick bread aerated to perfection using chemical leaveners such as baking powder or soda, or a traditionally baked bread inflated with air, sweetness and flavor using harmless microorganisms called yeasts (I know right, they’re not exactly harmless when they’re parading down there).
Heck, you can mix all the wet and dry ingredients into a batter and pour everything into a greased muffin pan and call the recipe a banana bread muffin, or stud the banana bread mixture with loads of partially dried grapes, nuts or chocolate chips and call it whatever pops into your head with the first bite.
Everything is fine when making your own version of banana bread, until outside of intent, you make adjustments to “two” key departments which are moistness and tenderness of the resulting article.
If you have anything outside “moist”, “very moist” and “tender”, which means that the bread isn’t exactly reminiscent of the tasty versions we’re used to buying from the grocery stores, you probably got yourself a dog biscuit right there.
When it comes to making banana bread, you have to get it moist. Super moist is okay too, so long the interior isn’t swimming in its own perspiration. Anything dry or bread-like, and you’ve done something terribly wrong along the way.
There are a handful of ingredients that function to impart moistness into a baked banana bread. Below, we take a look at some of them.
What makes banana bread moist?
- Banana: because of its water and sugar content, especially fructose.
- Liquid Milk: because of its fat and water content.
- Liquid Sugar: because of it’s sugar content.
- Butter: because it helps to coat the tongue with creates a feeling of moistness.
- Oil: because it coats flour proteins which makes so much moisture available in the batter mixture.
- Yoghurt: because of it’s fat and water content.
- Eggs: because of it’s 78% water content.
The first thing that should ever come to any reasoning mind with regards to “making banana bread moist” is the main ingredient itself, and that’s banana.
It’s actually a moistener in any banana bread recipe, aside the ton in flavor it adds and texture it imparts.
In bananas, water and sugar are the main components that bring out the moistness from a freshly baked banana bread.
With regards to the sugars, it’s the fructose to be specific, since it has a stronger affinity for water in a batter mixture than sucrose (table sugar) or glucose.
Dissolved sugar in general works to add moistness by pulling water molecules from dryers such as flour and powders there by retaining a degree of moistness in the baked article.
As for the water component of bananas that makes them moisteners in banana bread, that one is pretty explanatory, water is wet, and thus it should naturally add its own levels of moistness (though little in the final product) to whatever is being baked.
That’s the reason why every other ingredient on this list has some degree of water in it. Banana has 78 percent by the way. For this reason it can be classified as a batter thinner.
2) Liquid Milk
Liquid milk is another ingredient you may consistently run into in a banana bread recipe.
It’s another moistener that is able to serve this purpose with the aid of its overwhelming 87 percent water content.
Milk also contains little fat which is another ingredient that promotes tenderness as well as moistness in baked articles.
3) Syrups and Juice
They contain water for moistness.
4) Liquid sugar
Sugar is naturally hygroscopic, which means that its love for water is unparalleled.
It helps retain moisture in baked articles because of this primary characteristic, by pulling water from drying agents in a banana bread such as flour or baking soda, and also from the atmosphere when it’s dissolved by heat or the action of mixing etc.
In sugars, fructose is the better moistener than any other type of sugar because it has a stronger affinity for moist than any of the pack. Honey contains fructose
5) Vegetable oil
Liquid oil is basically melted fat, but it does a perfect job than sold fat (butter or shortening) at promoting moistness in baked goods (because it’s liquid).
Oil just like fats normal coat flour proteins when mixed with flour, but unlike solid fats, they coat little better, and thus the coated protein will absorb less moisture from the batter which in turn leaves more available in the batter to make a moister cake and even crust.
Fats are somewhat levels ahead of water when it comes to adding moistness because they never get evaporated or absorbed with heat like water does during baking.
Butter serves many functions in a banana bread recipe, and one of them happens to moistening. Butter is actually composed of cream (which is another way of saying fat), and milk solids which is nothing but water plus fat.
So at the molecular level, butter when incorporated into batter mixture will help to retain moisture in the final baked good because it retards drying out as a result of its water content.
Fat also helps coat the surface of the tongue which give the perception of a moister cake when consumed.
7) Sour cream
Sour cream is another ingredient that works to increase moisture level in banana bread. It of course contains water and fat to be able to serve that purpose.
Again another ingredient that contains water and fat which helps in adding moisture to a banana bread.
Eggs are also part of the moisteners in a banana bread because they mostly made up of water, not to mention that they also contain fat.
How can you make banana bread moister?
Making banana bread moister is all about getting the ration and processes right, and also being on the alert.
Too much mixing of the wet ingredients and dry ingredients can cause the resulting product to be tough and dry.
Using underripe bananas, those that are light green on their peels or just ripe bananas, those that are bright yellow on their peels is another way to take out from the potential moisture levels on the resulting bread.
The perfect bananas for banana bread are those that have turned all black on their skins which are easy to turn into a mash, and you can definitely see all the moistness and wetness dripping right from them.
Also, using too much banana than recommended by the recipe is a good way to add moistness to the final article, but take not that the bread can turn heavy and damp in the middle which will look awful for pictures.
If you’re not after the aesthetics of your bread, which I know you are, then giving a shot at this tip is never a bad idea.
Further, make sure you’re not using too much of the driers, especially flour, than you’re supposed to.
It may seem as if this is of those tips that are already checked, but this is where most people fail with their quest to achieving a banana bread that is perfectly moist.
Too much driers (or flour) in your batter means lesser moisture which will bake into a sturdy mess.
On the other hand, too little will make for an extremely wet batter, we’re not after an apple butter consistency, we want chewy banana bread for heaven’s sake!
When you’re measuring flour for your banana bread, make sure to use the spoon and level method which basically requires you to spoon flour into the measuring cup and then leveling any excess flour with the flat side of a knife or your index finger.
That’ll give you the exact measurement you’re looking for as opposed to using the scoop straight out of the bag method and then levelling.
One last tip that could give you an edge in your quest for making the perfectly moist banana bread is to check on the banana bread earlier than the recipe’s cooking time suggests.
Maybe the time isn’t all that perfect, and if it is, maybe your oven is the root of the problem.
Check the bread using the piercing method for doneness at least 10 minutes before cooking time and remove when you notice that the piercer comes out from the deepest part of the bread, batter free. Let the bread cool, and hopefully, you’ve got yourself a heavenly moist treat!