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September 30, 2010

Good, Not Great: Cooking With Paula Deen’s Banana Bread Recipe Falls Short of Mom’s

bananabread_pauladeen_october2010.jpgHaving a few overripe bananas on hand was a treat growing up because it meant my mother would likely whip up a delicious banana bread. Best served warm out of the oven, a slice was a heavenly balance of sweetness and a healthy fruity-nutty combination. That memorable taste came mind when I saw Cooking With Paula Deen magazine‘s September/October 2010 issue.

Though the six-page spread titled “Quick Bread Makeovers” covered 12 wide-ranging recipes for banana, tea and pumpkin variations, I went a somewhat traditional route with the basic Banana Bread. But with two loaf pans, it was just as easy to make two batches, so I spiced up the second for an Apricot-Rum Banana Bread version. It was difficult to steer myself away from the Chocolate Banana Bread, particularly since I’ve made some delicious muffins that combine the two flavors. But in my quest to expand my horizons, I went with something new.

Making two loaves–and two variations–was just as easy, at least since I stayed within the banana bread options. Both recipes started with the same batter, so I just doubled the mixing bowls and the ingredients, and about an hour later had two different treats baked to perfection. At least based on their looks.

cookingwithpauladeen_september-october2010.jpgWhen I sampled the breads after they had cooled (but not that much), I have to say I was a little underwhelmed. I had followed the recipes to the letter, but had I overcooked them, I wondered? I don’t think so. Still, there was something off in the taste, at least when put up against my banana bread memories.

After a little research, I think it’s because a combination of all-purpose and whole wheat flour was used. Most banana bread recipes I looked up called for two cups of all-purpose flour, rather than splitting it half and half. Is this the “new” way to make banana bread? Or is Cooking With Paula Deen merely changing up a traditional recipe?

The end result wasn’t bad, just slightly more bread-like than muffin-like. The apricot-rum version was definitely more moist, and the flavors helped make it a little sweeter than the straight banana bread. Maybe my taste buds need to acquire this new all-purpose/wheat flour taste. Or maybe next time, I’ll stick to all-purpose flour only.



About the Author

Michelle Ryan
Michelle Ryan
Michelle Ryan is obsessed with good food, great shoes and Alabama football way down South in Savannah, Georgia. She hasn’t met a kitchen gadget she hasn’t at least thought about buying (trying them is another story) and devotes her time to Bikram Yoga, baking and trying to overcome long-held finicky eating habits.




  • Jdlarohde

    the only leavening is 3/4 teaspoon of baking soda – can that be right?

  • Marilyn

    I have lost my magazine with this recipe in it. I would love to have this recipe. I made it several times and thought it was delicious. I am also looking for the recipe for the Orange Cinnamon Banana Bread also in the same magazine.