Banana bread is a baked good that’s both delicious and very easy to make. Although there are varied recipes with special additional ingredients like cinnamon, raisins, and chocolate chips, in most cases, banana bread doesn’t turn out perfect.
Sometimes, banana bread can appear more brownish than golden brown, with the latter being the ideal color for this delicacy.
If you want to know more about what makes banana bread dark brown, this article is for you. Keep on reading!
As the name implies, banana bread’s main ingredient is mashed bananas. Ripe bananas are mixed onto a batter made up of cake ingredients like flour, sugar, and butter.
Every ingredient, along with the heating process itself, contributes to how banana bread will turn out in terms of taste, texture, and color.
An undesirable color of brown on banana bread is a telltale sign that there’s been a little hiccup in the ingredients or the baking process.
Here are the common causes of dark brown banana bread:
An incorrect oven temperature greatly affects the color of banana bread. This means cranking up the temperature to make the loaf cook faster isn’t a good idea.
Also, leaving banana bread in the oven for too long will result in a very dark color. Worse, it might get burned!
Further, an oven set at a temperature that’s too high will leave a banana bread’s surface and edges dark, but it won’t be completely baked through.
A defective oven thermostat is one of the common causes of over-baking. Generally, older ovens encounter the same problem from time to time.
So, try to invest in a new thermostat, preferably not the cheapest one in the market. Lower prices mean less accuracy.
Ovens have cold spots and hot spots. Getting to know your oven can help you identify these potential spots.
If your loaf is browning too quickly in the bottom of the oven, try moving it to the top. The more you use your oven, the more you’ll learn about these spots and optimal food placement.
A banana is an important element of perfect banana bread. If overripe, a banana’s starch turns to sugar, which will give a more caramelized color to banana bread.
Yet, under-ripe bananas are just as bad as overripe. Underripe bananas don’t have as much sugar and flavor as ripe bananas.
So, make sure that your bananas are the right amount ripe. A ripe banana should be light brown, but it shouldn’t have molds on it.
Typically, the recommended sugar for banana bread is regular brown sugar or light brown sugar. Since dark brown sugar has a higher concentration of molasses, it has a notably dark color, which eventually affects the color of the loaf.
However, using too much sugar, whether light brown or not, will lead to a dark brown color on banana bread.
Using too much baking soda makes the batter more acidic and alkaline, which leads to a darker color. Inevitably, the Malliard reaction occurs and results in an undesirable brown color.
Overall, an incorrect measurement of ingredients could be one of the major culprits of baked goods issues.
There’s no debating that banana bread that’s too pale or too brown doesn’t look very appetizing. So, here’s what you can do to keep banana bread from getting too dark:
A dark metal baking pan absorbs more heat than light-colored pans. In this case, banana bread will heat up more quickly, risking the edges and the crust of the loaf to turn a darker brown.
You can either adjust your oven to a lower temperature or make sure to grease the pan properly. Moreover, the best pan that you can use is aluminum.
Preheating an oven before baking is essential for at least 20-25 minutes.
If an oven isn’t preheated, chances are it won’t reach its correct temperature once you set the banana bread inside.
You can also use an oven thermometer to make sure the oven is at the right temperature. An oven temperature can be a helpful tool, particularly in older ovens.
You can keep your banana bread from over-browning by covering the pan with foil as it bakes. The foil will delay the crust from forming too quickly by reflecting the heat.
A foil can give the loaf some steam inside, which allows the bread to retain its elasticity. Yet, make sure to leave enough room for the loaf to rise.
Lastly, steaming can buy you more time to bake your banana bread without over-browning.
Chemical leavening agents, such as baking soda, are essential ingredients for baked goods like banana bread, cookies, and cakes.
However, an expired chemical leavener will surely result in an uninviting baked product. Always use new chemical leaveners. Better yet, make sure all your ingredients are fresh.
A baking stone is a portable tool used in baking for more consistent heat distribution. It’s placed inside the oven, then once preheated, it’s good to go.
While a baking stone doesn’t necessarily prevent your loaf from over-browning, it helps with evenly distributing the heat from the bottom of the baking pan.
A gas oven has enough humidity to slow down a banana bread’s browning. On the other hand, an electric oven that has less humidity will make a loaf turn brown more quickly.
Not to mention, a gas oven retains more moisture inside, which is perfect for traditionally moist banana bread. So, a gas oven is more recommended than electric ovens.
Keep an eye on your banana bread as it bakes. Although you confidently set your oven to the right temperature, check your banana bread through the glass every 10 minutes.
Make sure that the bread is baking normally. If it’s turning brown too quickly, cover the top with foil.
Then, to check if your banana bread is done, insert a toothpick or skewer into the center of the loof. If there’s still raw batter sticking to the toothpick, bake for another five minutes.
Repeat the test until you see dry crumbs on the toothpick. This means that the banana bread is completely baked.
You can also check with a digital thermometer. Insert the gadget to the center of the loaf, but don’t draw it out right away. Instead, slowly pull it out as you check the temperatures from the bottom to the top of the loaf.
The temperature of the bread shouldn’t be below 200℉.
What makes banana bread dark brown? The causes range from the ingredients to the process of baking. It could be anything from an incorrect oven temperature to too much baking soda.
Remember to use reliable baking equipment like an oven thermostat and to keep an eye on the bread as it bakes.
There you have it! The next time you’re baking some delicious banana bread, you’ll know the possible source of over-browning and how to prevent it.
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.