Perhaps the hardest part when it comes to baking is getting consistent results throughout the recipes you bake.
One of the most fun (and efficient) recipes to bake is banana bread. Not only is it delicious, but it’s also a great way to put overripe bananas to use.
Although it’s one of the easiest recipes out there, you might be wondering how to cook banana bread evenly. If you are, keep on reading to learn all the nitty-gritty of even baking.
To delve into how to bake banana bread evenly, let’s look at what might cause the bakery to come out unevenly or affect the baking process by and large.
The material of the pan can contribute greatly to how well-baked every inch of your banana bread will be. Stoneware and glassware options are good options for some baking, but banana bread is best when made in metal pans, especially darker ones.
This is because darker pans provide more even cooking. This is because they take a little longer to heat compared to other options. Consequently, the bread has enough time to bake in the center without the edges getting burned.
Of course, greasing the pan well and adding enough flour help in preventing sticking. Not only that, but also they add a little buffer between the heat of the pan and the edges.
Typically, banana bread should be baked at 350 degrees Fahrenheit on the rack that’s just above the bottom.
It’s best to use an oven thermometer to check the temperature and ensure that it’s enough to bake the bread thoroughly.
A gooey center is a clear sign that the heat isn’t enough to bake the bread, so adjust the heat accordingly to make up for any discrepancy.
If you’re using a 9-inch loaf, your banana bread would need a minimum of 55 minutes to cook. So, set a timer for that amount, and then check on it.
Use a toothpick to prick the middle. If the toothpick comes out clean, then your bread is ready. If it comes out with any goo, give your bread 5 more minutes and check again.
Keep repeating this process until the toothpick comes out without any gooey batter.
While you want your ingredients to be mixed together well, you still don’t want to mix your batter too much.
This is because the bread rises only when the dry and wet ingredients are slightly mixed. The best you should aim for is to make sure all the flour has been mixed, and once you get to that point, don’t mix the batter any further.
Over-mixing may cause the gluten proteins to form long bundles that solidify the batter, preventing it from rising enough to be thoroughly cooked to the center.
The toothpick method is a good and practical way to check how well your banana bread is baking, but if you’re still getting a gooey center, you should solve the root cause.
Opt for a digital thermometer—typically used for candy or meat—to measure the internal temperature of the bread itself.
Insert the thermometer into the center and extend it to the bottom of the loaf pan. Then, slowly pull it out and monitor the temperature dropping the nearer you get to the center.
If the temperature falls below 200 degrees Fahrenheit, that means the batter isn’t cooked. Make sure it’s getting to 210 or at least 205 degrees Fahrenheit.
Checking the temperature early on before you hit the 55-minute mark would help you decide whether you need more heat in your oven or not.
Trying to mash under-ripe or green bananas is no walk in the park, and they don’t bring out the flavor in your banana bread.
Over-ripe bananas aren’t only easier to mash together, but they also work better. Not only do they enhance the moisture of the bread but also the flavor and sweetness.
The perfect banana ripeness entails bananas that are heavily spotted or even ones that have completely gone black.
If all you have are under-ripe bananas, you can roast them to quicken the ripening process.
One reason your banana bread might be coming out gooey in the center is that you’re using too many bananas in the batter.
Don’t forget that ripe bananas increase moisture, which can lead to your bread seeming undercooked.
When it comes to baking banana bread, you should make sure to use just enough flour. Using too much would lead the flour to absorb the moisture of the bananas, making the bread come out dry and cracked.
Conversely, using too little flour would make the bread come out too wet and gooey. So, make sure to scrape off any extra flour from the top of your measuring cup using a straight edge or the knife’s flat side.
One thing you should make sure of is to remove the bread from the pan once it’s done baking. Otherwise, it might come out with a soggy bottom.
Place your bread on a rack to dissipate any vapor before you get to the cutting process, wrapping it up, or storing it in a container.
Otherwise, it might become soggy or even mold up.
Banana bread is one of the easiest and most fun baking you can do once you wrap your head around the process.
Hopefully, by the end of this article, you’ll have learned all you need on how to cook banana bread evenly and to perfection.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.