This post has been updated as of August 2021
After going on my sourdough brownie quest last year, I then ended up adding sourdough starter into other bakes to see what would work. The next thing I tried was a banana bread – I subbed some into Milli Taylors IG-famous banana bread but it didn’t seem right in the context of such a buttery loaf. I then tried it out in my regular banana bread which I thought was a much better fit. By that point, I had run out of bananas and completely abandoned my banana bread experiment!
Fast forward to now when everyone is baking either sourdough or banana bread and it seemed like it would be the right time to pick my testing back up. I used a vegan banana bread recipe from my first book and altered things to make use of my discard which had been collecting in the fridge. It worked amazingly and I tried it a few more times, changing and testing a few things along the way. So, I have some notes!
- You can bake this as a loaf or as muffins. I think I prefer muffins as loaves can sink in the middle a bit. Also loaf tin sizes vary WILDLY so the baking times can vary a lot more (In the UK, a standard loaf tin is 2lb). Muffins seem to be more consistent but it’s up to you and your preferences/which baking tins you own. If you’re a beginner baker and have a muffin tin, I would opt for them first, then try a loaf out another time.
- You can leave the batter in the fridge to actually ferment. Leaving it for ~6 hours seems to make it taste sweeter but an overnight rest (8-12 hours) means you get more of a tang in there.
- You can use many types of flour in the batter, as long as your sourdough is a mostly wheat-based starter (I use a 50:50 white wheat flour : dark rye flour blend for my starter). I’ve tried this with just buckwheat, a mixture of buckwheat & gram flour, and just straight up plain white flour and they all worked well.
- I like to decorate the top of a banana bread loaf with a sliced banana which is definitely optional and is mostly for aesthetics. I also sprinkle the top with demerara sugar for that crispy crust and that’s also optional (but recommended!!) – make sure you sprinkle a good amount on the sliced banana surface so they get nicely caramelised in the oven.
- This is the best vegan banana bread you may ever make. I know I’m tooting my own horn here but since posting the recipe, this is the feedback I’ve had on this loaf. It’s so moist and soft with a perfect cakey texture! You really won’t miss the butter or eggs.
How to make sourdough starter
If you haven’t got a sourdough starter yet, I have a comprehensive guide on starting and maintaining a sourdough starter right here.
Sourdough Banana Bread (vegan)
- 220-240 g overripe bananas (peeled weight) (2 medium or 3 small * see notes for cups and for if you don't have enough banana)
- 150 g (3/4 cup) light brown sugar, granulated sugar or caster sugar
- 90 g (1/3 cup + 2 tsp) neutral oil or light olive oil
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp fine table salt
- 150 g (3/4 cup) sourdough starter/discard (100% hydration)
- 120 g (1 cup) plain white flour (see notes for subs)
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- 1 small banana , peeled & halved down its length
- 2 tbsp demerara (raw) sugar
- Preheat the oven to 180°C fan (350°F) fan. Grease a 2lb loaf tin with some oil and line with a sling of baking paper.
Hand mixing method:
- Peel the bananas and place onto a large plate or cutting board. Use the back of a fork to mash them until you get a glossy paste which only has a few small lumps remaining. Scrape all of the mashed banana into a medium bowl.220-240 g overripe bananas (peeled weight)
- Add the sugar, oil, cinnamon and salt. Stir together until smooth.150 g (3/4 cup) light brown sugar, granulated sugar or caster sugar, 90 g (1/3 cup + 2 tsp) neutral oil or light olive oil, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp fine table salt
- Add the sourdough starter, flour and bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) to the bowl. Stir together until combined but try not to overmix.150 g (3/4 cup) sourdough starter/discard, 120 g (1 cup) plain white flour, 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Food processor mixing method:
- Add the bananas, sugar, oil, cinnamon and salt to the bowl of the food processor. Blitz until smooth. Add the sourdough starter, flour and bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) and blitz until just combined. Scrape down the sides of the food processor to make sure everything is incorporated220-240 g overripe bananas (peeled weight), 150 g (3/4 cup) light brown sugar, granulated sugar or caster sugar, 90 g (1/3 cup + 2 tsp) neutral oil or light olive oil, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp fine table salt, 150 g (3/4 cup) sourdough starter/discard, 120 g (1 cup) plain white flour, 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Bake the loaf:
- Pour the batter into the prepared loaf tin. If using the toppings, decorate the top of the loaf with the sliced bananas (placing them on cut side-up) and sprinkle the top of the batter all over with the demerara sugar. Put the loaf tin on a baking tray (I like to do this just in case any batter overflows).1 small banana, 2 tbsp demerara
- Bake for 55-70 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the loaf comes out clean – try to avoid the sliced banana on top when inserting the toothpick so you’re only testing the batter. If the loaf looks like it’s browning too much but is not cooked through yet, tent the top with foil for the last 20 minutes of baking.
- Allow to cool before removing from the tin, slicing and serving.
- Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper muffin liners. Divide the batter among the muffin liners. You can sprinkle the tops with demerara sugar and coins of banana, if you’d like.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the muffins comes out clean