Whole Wheat Banana Nut Yeast Bread

So.. banana nut bread.  Delicious, right?  But what about if we made it into an actual yeast bread instead of a quick bread?  Fluffy, soft, and perfect to eat as toast.  Sounds great, right?!  I had some overly ripe bananas, and I didn’t really want to make a regular old banana bread, so I decided to give this a try.  It turned out soo well.  It’ll definitely be in heavy rotation in this kitchen – although we don’t often get super ripe bananas, since I eat them fairly quickly.  I usually have to buy extras with the intent of freezing them for smoothies/using for banana bread.

This bread is subtly banana flavored, with a nutty walnut crunch just like in the quick bread.  I loved this toasted and slathered with coconut oil and honey for a sweet snack in the afternoon.  It’s also great spread with nut butter for breakfast.  I can imagine it’d make great french toast as well.. oh man.

Yeast breads are probably one of my favorite things to make, and this one is no exception.  Even if you’re intimidated by yeast, don’t be!  Hands on time is pretty minimal – you just have to wait for the rises, and you can easily get other things done in the meantime!  I especially like making bread when I have a day full of studying – I mix the dough in the morning and let it rise for a few hours while I’m in the books.  By the time I’m ready to take a break (which isn’t very long, mind you), the dough is ready to be shaped and allowed to rise for its second time while the oven preheats.  Then, by the next study break, I have freshly baked bread to dig into!  Lovely.  Using instant yeast instead of active dry, in my opinion, makes it all the easier, since you don’t have to proof it before using (letting it foam up in warm water with a bit of sugar).  Just stir it in with the flour mixture, and you’re good to go!  Instant yeast generally says not to give it a long rise time, but I never really listen to that, since I like the process.  You can decide what works best for you!

Do you like making yeast breads, or does it intimidate you?

Whole Wheat Banana Nut Yeast Bread
makes 3 mini-loaves or 1-9×5″ loaf

    • 2 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour*
    • 2 1/4 t instant yeast
    • 1 t cinnamon
    • 1/4 t nutmeg
    • 1 t salt
    • 2 large bananas (about 1 cup), mashed
    • 1 egg
    • 2/3 cup walnuts, chopped

In the bowl of a stand mixer** with the dough hook attached, stir together the flour, yeast, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.  In a small bowl, whisk together the mashed banana and egg.  With the mixer on low speed, add in the banana mixture to the flour mixture, and knead for about 7 minutes, until it pulls away from the sides of the bowl.  Fold in the walnuts.  Transfer to an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Once risen, punch the dough down, and shape into either 3 mini loaves or 1 large loaf, and place into greased or parchment lined loaf pan(s).  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise for another hour, until doubled again.  Preheat the oven to 350ºF while it rises.

Once the second rise is complete, bake the mini loaves for 20-25 minutes, or bake the large loaf for 30-35 minutes, until golden.  If you tap on the top of the bread, it should sound hollow.  Allow to cool for about 10 minutes in the pan before removing to a wire rack to cool.

Store in an airtight container.  You can freeze this bread, tightly wrapped, for up to 3 months in the freezer.

*I like to use half white whole wheat, and half sprouted whole wheat flour.
**You can also knead the dough with your hands (obviously), with a bit of elbow grease – just knead until it is smooth and elastic.