Another Banana Bread


The last few weeks have been kind of juicy in the ole’ U.S. of A.. I’ve felt everything from shame and anger to pride and joy as an American. That is my usual range of emotions related to my citizenship, I guess it has just felt very concentrated. That coupled with summer, and a series of fun visitors, has kept me pretty distracted. When we’ve been home, we’ve eaten a lot of old favorites. I’ve made this eggplant spread a couple of times and still love it. I baked these cakes for the 4th of July and they were as good as ever.

I also tried another banana bread recipe. This one from the pages of Bon Appetit. I don’t actually read Bon Appetit anymore, I just use it for recipes—some sort of reverse Playboy thing is happening?  I do find myself wondering why magazines are making such a mess of themselves. The way to compete with the internet is not to make your magazine seem more like the internet—yet we’re being given lists and infographics and stupid celebrity stuff. But like I said, there are still some good recipes. This banana bread is from El Rey Coffee Bar & Luncheonette in New York City and is a really special riff on everyone’s favorite quick bread that adds some sesame seeds and sesame paste to the mix.


The recipe as written in Bon Appetit includes 2 1/4 cups of “lightly packed” dark brown sugar. I literally have no idea what it means to “lightly pack” brown sugar. Could a recipe instruction be more imprecise and point out every flaw in baking by volume? No. I found a weight-measured version of the recipe on, of all places, the Opening Ceremony blog and used that instead. I packed the weighed brown sugar and it was about a cup and a half of firmly packed brown sugar, which seems like a more reliable way to go. I might play with sugar next time to see if I can reduce the amount, since the bananas are already sweet. If you try, let me know what happens. I baked the bread in a half pullman pan, but a standard 9×5 loaf pan should do (that is the larger of the standard sized loaf pans). I used the rest of the Bon Appetit version, with the exception of the sugar measure. It’s really great.


19 comments to “Another Banana Bread”

  1. Thanks for the validation about BA. After my current subscription runs out, I’m done. And baking recipes without weight measurements must have comments about results before I’ll try them. Thanks for this. I am intrigued about the banana-sesame combo. And yes, a roller coaster of a month. Enjoy the proud moments.

  2. You write “This banana bread is from El Rey Coffee Bar & Luncheonette in New York City and is a really special riff on everyone’s favorite quick bread that adds some sesame seeds and sesame paste to the mix.” I can’t see the sesame paste in the list of ingredients. I recently bought some for another recipe and was excited at the opportunity to use it again LOL.
    Many thanks.

  3. One of the comments on the Bon Appetit site said they cut the sugar to 3/4 cup and it turned out fine, so something between 3/4 and 1-1/2 cups sounds like a plan. Unfortunately my subscription to Bon Appetit runs until May 2018 because it was extended when other magazines folded. By the way, I loved the covers of Gout. They made a visual of what I think when I look at food articles. But then I also think that perhaps it’s a twenty year old writing the article and they actually think the stuff is new.

  4. have you tried nigel slater’s chocolate muscovado banana cake? it’s my new fave. and i love your blog and we have the same sweet tooth tastes so i think you might like it!

  5. Bahahaha I don’t know what lightly packed means either!! I just go ahead and always pack my brown sugar. And another banana bread is always a good idea. Yours looks perfect.

  6. What a good-looking loaf of banana bread! I love the flavor of sesame in desserts, and that emphatic ‘smash bananas!’ instruction in the Opening Ceremony recipe.

  7. Macushla- Tahini=sesame paste
    Louise- 2018!!!
    Tamara- Thanks for the tip, I will check it out.

  8. I just made this, I tried with 1 cup of dark brown sugar, as I also thought it seemed like a lot with so many bananas in it. It turned out great, and not so sweet. And thats the way I like it!

  9. Hello, Tim!
    I”m on book tour with some moments to fool around, so fooling around and I stopped by. First, I looked at your lovage blog – the best herb, truly! Now, the banana bread. It sounds wonderful . just don’t over-think the lightly packed part; the more sugar, the more moisture…so even if you pack a little “hard” nothing horrible will happen! I love lemon zest with bananas too, but when I get back to France, I’ll try this one!

  10. I have the same opinion about BA! Whats the point in getting the magazine if they push the same content out in their emails. And so many of the articles are two pages with plenty of loud graphics and no real writing! I miss the old BA when they used to have Molly Wizenberg’s monthly column. Sigh.

    I don’t think there is a way to have too many banana bread recipes. I have WAY too many overly ripe bananas in my fridge at any given moment.

  11. Sesame + Banana is one worth trying. I agree about BA, I feel all the articles are about one of two things: 1. AMAZING techniques you HAVE to try and 2.Annoyingly beautiful boring rich people.

  12. Thanks for the review, Tim. I’ve had my eye on this recipe since I saw the BA video about it. Given the 20+ overripe bananas now clogging my freezer (I have a bit of a problem…), this would be the perfect time to try it out.

  13. Funny — I ripped out the same recipe but haven’t gotten around to giving it a try. Good call on the sugar (and all the other BA comments–the letters requesting recipes is probably the best part of each issue).

  14. Jennifer Hadfield says:

    July 21st, 2015 at 6:42 am

    Hi Tim. Really enjoy your blog, and one can never have too many banana bread recipes! Have to chime in on the whole BA subject. When they put Gwenyth Paltrow on the cover years ago, I canceled my subscription immediately. Have never regretted it.

  15. Tim – BA just arrived in the mail, until May 2019 : ( The issue seems thinner than ever so maybe they are on their way out.

  16. This sounds really tasty. I’ve been seeing tahini in baking recipes more and more. I’m gonna try this recipe with peanut butter instead. I bet the peanut butter-sesame seed combo would taste super yummy!

  17. I know what you mean about BA. I haven’t cancelled my subscription yet, because I like the recipes, but reading it makes me feel gross. I’ve been even more upset about Saveur since they used to run interesting longer articles, and now they’re turning into a BA knock-off with no article longer than two pages, and most of that in lists.

  18. Can there ever really be too many banana breads? We don’t think so! Absolutely love that this one is using seeds for an extra layer of texture.

  19. Looking at your photos really makes me want a pullman-loaf pan right now. Those squared-off corners are so appealing! This particular urge comes over me every six months or so, but I’ve never been able to justify getting one. Too many baking pans already, and what am I really going to use it for, baking white bread? But the geometry! Anyway, it is finally cool enough in Chicago again to turn on the oven, so I think I’ll try this banana bread soon, pullman or no pullman.

What do you think?