I admit I always hated banana bread with a passion. The dense, door stop quality, pudding consistency breads of my youth were just over the top with banana flavor and nothing else. Coupled with an evil tendency to flare up my heartburn I soon shied away from banana bread for good. You can imagine my discomfiture the other day when my wife said "Let's make banana bread". "Yeah sure, I'll make it but you can eat it, I hate the stuff." So as with anything else my wife suggests to eat I immediately spring into action with a search for a vintage recipe. The only problem is there is no vintage recipe for banana bread.
The history of banana bread starts in the mid 1930's as a depression era way of being frugal and using up soft, overripe bananas. That recipe appears in a Pillsbury cookbook titled "Balanced Recipes" which is itself an aluminum covered art deco masterpiece that sells for $35-$50+ on Ebay. While this was the first appearance of banana bread the recipe really didn't catch on until 1950 when Chiquita Bananas published a recipe book with their own version of banana bread in it. The popularity increased until it truly exploded in the 1960's for reasons known only to Chaos Theory. It's fortunate that I had a kind soul bless me with her 2 old Church cookbooks, one from the 1940's and the other from 1961 because it was in the latter that I found this recipe which remains true to the 1950's style of making banana bread. Over the years the recipe has been bastardized with the neverending search for more banana flavor which has led to the dense puddingy loaves of my youth. This recipe is still cake like but well balanced with flavor between the sweetness, the bananas and the nuts.
1950's "Church" Banana Bread
1/2C Sour Cream
1/4C Whole Milk
3 Ripe Bananas, peeled and riced (or mashed)
2C All Purpose Flour
1tsp Baking Soda
1tsp Baking Powder
1/2C Chopped Pecans or Walnuts
In a bowl, beat eggs well then add sugar, sour cream and milk. Cream well before sifting in flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda a little at a time, mixing well to ensure a smooth batter. When mixed, fold in riced bananas and nuts gently until mixed through. Grease and flour a bread pan and add batter, smoothing top. Bake at 350° for 45mins to 1 Hour until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool on wire rack 10 mins before taking bread out of pan and cooling completely on rack.