Banana Nut Bread

Ask the Test Kitchen

I’ve tried several recipes for banana nut bread, but in each attempt the center of the loaf seems wet and underdone. I’ve even doubled the suggested baking time, but the center remains mushy. I bake the loaves in disposable loaf pans placed on a baking sheet. Could this be part of the problem? —D.C., Wichita, KansasThere could be several reasons the center of your banana bread remains wet. It could be an improper proportion of ingredients in the recipe. Not enough leavening agent (like baking soda or baking powder) can cause a quick bread to be too dense. Too little flour compared to liquids can cause the bread to remain wet in the center. Or too much liquid can cause an underdone center. Be sure to measure ingredients accurately. Overmixing the batter can lead to bread that’s tough, heavy, dense and gummy. Mix dry and wet ingredients separately and then combine them only until moistened. (Don’t worry about small lumps, they’ll disappear during baking.)Check the temperature of your oven with an oven thermometer. The actual oven temperature may be lower than what the recipe suggests, causing an underbaked center. Finally, you mentioned that you used disposable baking pans. Because of their thin nature, the exterior of the bread may be baking more quickly than the interior, causing an underdone center. For best results, we recommend using good quality heavy loaf pans with a dark finish.

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