If the top center of the bread looks too moist when you take it out of the bread machine, you can try the classic baking “toothpick test”. Gently push a toothpick/chopstick/skewer into the top of the bread and see if any batter sticks to the toothpick/chopstick/skewer. Make sure to wear oven gloves because the bread pan and bread machine will still be hot. If batter is sticking to the toothpick/chopstick/skewer then it hasn’t completely cooked. Place the bread loaf pan back into the still warm bread machine for another 5 minutes. After the 5 minutes, remove the bread pan and test the banana bread again with a toothpick/chopstick/skewer. FYI – Given variability in banana sizes, banana breads tend to have more moistness variability than many other recipes. Moreover, since most bread machines turn off automatically after a specified time and you can not adjust the baking temperature, they are little less flexible than ovens in dealing with baking “variances”. Thus the need to use the toothpick test if the banana bread top looks too moist (or you can skip the toothpick test and just leave the banana bread in the still warm bread machine for an extra 5 minutes if the top looks a little too moist).
The key to great banana bread is… RIPE bananas!!! If you use bananas that are hard & yellow or even worse green, they will contain too much starch and not enough natural sugars. As bananas ripen, they convert this starch into sugar. According to Wikipedia, “The greener, less ripe bananas contain higher levels of starch and, consequently, have a “starchier” taste. On the other hand, yellow bananas taste sweeter due to higher sugar concentrations”. FYI – You will know if a banana is ripe when it is soft and shows small brown & black spots on the yellow exterior of the banana.
If you are still having trouble finding the quick bread setting, check your bread machine manual for details regarding the cake setting on your machine. Some bread machines have a cake setting that states that they can be used for quick breads (and the mixing & baking will last roughly for 1 hour 40-50 minutes). However, other bread machines have a cake setting that is not designed for quick breads. For example, my bread machine (Sunbeam) has a cake setting (that lasts for 2 hours 50 minutes) and a quick bread setting (that lasts for 1 hour 40 minutes). Therefore, this recipe would probably not work well with the cake setting on my machine. I know this can be super confusing… but always read your bread machine manual and look for the specific setting designed for “quick breads” (that use baking soda/powder).
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Once you have mastered how to make this delicious bread machine banana bread, you can experiment by adding other ingredients such as raisins, blueberries, cranberries, chocolate, walnuts, etc. See the tips section below in order to learn how to make bread machine banana nut bread, bread machine chocolate chip banana bread & bread machine blueberry banana bread. For many other bread machine & oven-baked banana bread recipes (i.e. Blueberry Banana Bread, Chocolate Chip Banana Bread, Gluten Free Banana Bread, Vegan Banana Bread and Walnut Banana Bread), please visit Bread Dad’s section on Easy Banana Bread Variations.
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However, oven-baked banana breads are a little more forgiving as you can stir more gently if needed (and thus less crushed fruit or shattered chocolate chips). In addition, oven-baked banana breads will not have a bread machine mixing paddle “hole” in the bottom. For oven-baked banana bread recipes, please visit our Easy Banana Bread Variations section.