Ultimate brown butter banana rye bread packed with 5 bananas, nutty brown butter, deep dark brown sugar and rye flour. It will be your new go-to weekend banana bread!
There’s something about rye flour that instantly makes me fall head over heels in love with whatever I’m making. Be it bread, cookies, muffins, scones- rye flour just makes it better. Perhaps it’s the crumb or somewhat grainy texture that somehow manages to still be light and addictive. It isn’t bitter or as dense as whole wheat, it’s healthy and satisfying and gives my baked goods the quality of what I would expect from an old farmhouse kitchen. A kitchen that has messy, floury wooden counters, an old stove, cupboards filled with different grains, flours and spices, fresh flowers and a garden just outside. The very thought makes me want to curl up in a comfy chair with a blanket, a coffee and a warm, buttery slice of banana bread while I read.
While I don’t have that farmhouse kitchen, I do have this brown butter banana rye bread. It requires more hands on time than we’re all used to but, it’s absolutely worth it.
I spend a lot of time learning new techniques from the geniuses over at Cooks Illustrated, Saveur, Bon Appetit, America’s Test Kitchen and the like. Those chefs and bakers are amazing and, let’s face it, they have the resources to test a recipe 1,000 times before they settle upon the best one. I do not. Recently, I stumbled upon their Ultimate Banana Bread which uses 5 bananas (6 if you count the one they bake on top). Generally, 5 bananas would create a very, very wet batter (we don’t want that). In their recipe, they microwave the bananas (or freeze and thaw), strain them for about 15 minutes in a fine mesh strainer, take the banana liquid and boil it down to a mere 1/4 cup for an intense banana flavor without all the excess liquid. It’s brilliant.
To make this the ultimate banana bread, for me, I decided to use browned butter which is the most incredible thing you will ever eat in your life. Browned butter makes everything amazing. I also used all brown sugar as it is my favorite sugar to use in baking and it pairs exceptionally well with browned butter. To compensate for the loss of moisture when the butter has been browned (you usually lose about 20%), I added a small amount of full fat buttermilk. You could use regular full fat milk or cream, I simply love the tang of buttermilk and I had it on hand. I replaced some of the flour with dark rye both for it’s health and taste. Since I don’t use microwaves, I opted to freeze my very, very ripe bananas and thaw them the next day. As a side note, frozen bananas become even sweeter after being frozen.
Because we’re using melted butter here, this recipe also requires no mixer. I always prefer to make things by hand so if I can avoid my mixer, I do. After about 50 minutes in the oven, you have a warm, amazing banana rye bread that you can eat warm, with a healthy pat of butter that will melt in to every crevice and turn everything else in the world off. There’s no need to wait until tomorrow for the flavor to better develop with this brown butter banana rye bread- it is amazing right from the oven.
So go ahead, bake yourself a loaf of this brown butter banana rye bread on a lazy Sunday morning and curl up with a book, a blanket and a coffee.
Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and, if you make a recipe, tag your photo #thepretendbaker so I can see what you’re whipping up!
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- ¾ cup packed dark brown sugar
- 5 overripe bananas, frozen and then thawed
- ¼ cup full fat buttermilk
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1¼ cup unbleached all purpose flour
- ½ cup dark rye flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- unpeel and place all bananas and any juices in a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl. Stir every so often, letting the liquid drain from the bananas. Let drain for about 15 minutes or until you have ¾-1 cup banana liquid and a heaping cup of mashed banana. Stirring will encourage the liquid to drain off quicker. If you have more than 1 cup of mashed banana, simply discard the rest.
- Meanwhile, brown your butter.
- In a small saucepan, melt your butter over medium-high heat. Bring butter to a gentle boil and then reduce the temperature to medium.
- Stir the butter often to prevent the milk solids from burning.
- Allow to cook until you begin to see the butter turn from yellow to golden brown. If the butter is foaming up too much and cooking too fast, reduce the heat to low and constantly stir. The butter is done when it smells nutty/caramelly and is a deep brown. It should take at least 10 minutes.
- When the butter is brown, immediately pour it in to a clean bowl to cool to prevent it from continuing to cook. Brown butter turns to burnt butter very quickly so be careful.
- Preheat oven to 350F
- Grease and flour a 9x5 inch loaf pan and set aside.
- When bananas are done draining, pour liquid in to the pot you used to brown your butter. cook over medium heat, stirring every so often, until the liquid reduces to ¼ cup.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together butter and brown sugar until well combined.
- Add eggs, one at a time, whisking vigorously until light and creamy.
- Add vanilla and mashed banana and whisk well.
- When banana liquid has reduced, add it to the banana/butter/sugar mixture and whisk vigorously.
- Add buttermilk and mix well.
- In another bowl, sift together flours, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
- In two additions, add the flour to the wet mixture and whisk until JUST incorporated. Take care not to over mix.
- Pour batter in to prepared loaf pan and bake for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Place on a wire rack to cool in the pan for 10 minutes then remove from pan and allow to completely finish cooling before slicing (or not. I never manage to.)
- Eat with butter and coffee!
If you can't find full fat buttermilk, any % works or simply use milk.
If you're not crazy about dark rye flour, use all purpose or any other whole grain flour in place.