Looking for a healthy alternative to the processed grocery store bread? Your family will love honey banana whole wheat bread. Lightly sweet with a mild banana flavor, it is perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner!
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Editor’s note: This is an updated version of an article originally posted September 2010 with better photos and additional information.
Pop a slice of this soft bread in the toaster then spread with butter and jam to enjoy with your breakfast tea or coffee. Or spread a piece with peanut butter and top with additional banana slices for a tasty lunch.
Pile on your favorite deli meat and a few slices of cheese for a satisfying lunch sandwich.
If you have been following GPTHeart for any length of time you probably know how much I love my bread maker. Besides my coffee maker, it is probably the most used appliance in my kitchen.
Well, partially used that is. You see, I never actually bake in the bread machine. But I do use it to make fantastic dough super easily. Just toss in the ingredients, push a button and let the maker do all of the kneading at just the right temperature.
When the cycle is complete the machine beeps signaling the dough is all ready. I open the lid, remove the pan and dump out a beautiful dough ready for me to shape, place in a pan and bake in the oven.
So why have a bread machine totally able to make a loaf of bread, start to finish in about three hours and not set it and forget it? Well, honestly, I am not thrilled with the bread baked in the bread maker for several reasons.
- I don’t like the holes the paddle makes in the bottom of the loaf.
- I am limited to one size loaf of bread.
- And the biggest reason is that I don’t like the exterior texture of the loaf of bread when baked in the machine.
Bread machine dough
What I do love and have loved for the twenty-five plus years I have used a bread machine is how easy it is to make a lovely dough. I love that I have the freedom to make regular shaped loaves, mini loaves, dinner rolls, cinnamon rolls, pizza dough or whatever I want.
A bread machine is a rather large, bulky appliance. But its usefulness outweighs it’s size and the chore of lifting it from and then replacing it way up high on top of the fridge so frequently. I don’t know this to be true but it seems to me the machines last a very long time and maybe because I don’t use the baking feature? In all those years I have had just three bread machines.
We have many beginner and college-age cooks that visit GPTHeart but even those who have been cooking and baking for some time appreciate simple tips. How to measure flour is important for baking success. You would be surprised how different the amount can be when flour is packed into a cup when measuring, totally changing the ratio of dry to wet ingredients. Follow these simply instructions for correctly measuring flour.
It is not a good idea to scoop flour from the sack it comes in when purchased. It will be compacted and difficult to measure. It helps to store flour in a large air-tight container. Begin by lightening the flour by “fluffing” or lightly tossing with a spoon.
Then spoon the flour into a measuring cup without packing or tapping.
With a straight edge spatula, knife or turner, level off the extra.
Now on to the honey banana whole wheat bread recipe…
Cut a ripe banana into slices.
Measure 2/3 cup warm water using a glass cup. It is easiest to read when the cup is eye level. Pour into the bread machine pan.
Add the honey, softened butter or vegetable oil, egg, vanilla and banana to the bread machine pan.
Next add the dry ingredients: the wheat and bread flour, poppy seeds and salt.
Using a spoon or the handle of a measuring spoon, make a small well in the center of the dry ingredients.
Pour the yeast into the well.
Return the pan to the bread machine and twist to lock into place as your particular appliance instructs.
Select the Basic/White dough setting and press start.
When the signal beeps indicating the cycle is complete, you will have a lovely dough. Remove the pan from the machine.
Remove the dough to a lightly oiled surface. Let the dough to rest for 5 minutes allowing it to relax before continuing.
Shaping the dough
I prefer to shape the dough on a lightly oiled work surface like the counter top but you can add a light dusting of flour instead. Oil or flour your hand and a rolling pin as well.
Roll the dough with a rolling pin or gently press the dough with your hands into a rectangle with the longest edge about one inch longer than your loaf pan. Begin rolling into a cylinder from the longest side.
Use your fingers to pinch and close the seam along the edge. Moistened your fingers, if needed, to get a good seal. Tuck both ends under.
Place the dough in a sprayed 8 1/2 x 4-1/2 inch loaf pan. Cover the pan with a clean, lint-free towel or a piece of plastic wrap that’s been sprayed with cooking spray. Allow to rise in a warm, draft-free spot.
Allow the bread to rise a little over the top edge of the pan. Bake the bread in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 35 minutes. Give a peek into the oven window about 20 minutes into the baking time and tent with foil if the top of the bread is getting too dark. Work quickly as to not let the oven temperature drop.
Remove the pan from the oven to a cooling rack. I like to brush softened butter over the top giving the loaf a beautiful color but this is optional.
Turn the bread out of the pan and allow to cool completely before slicing.
Bread machine yeast or rapid-rise yeast are the best for this bread recipe. They are specially formulated for the bread machine and become active more quickly than active dry yeast.
Whole Wheat Bread with Banana
- 2/3 cup warm water
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. butter or vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 egg
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla
- 1 banana, sliced
- 1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 1/2 cup bread flour
- 2 tsp. poppy seeds (optional)
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. bread machine or Rapid-rise yeast
Add the warm water, butter or vegetable oil, honey, egg, vanilla and banana to the bread machine pan.
Next add the dry ingredients: the wheat and bread flour, poppy seeds and salt. Make a small well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the yeast.
Select the Basic/White dough setting and press start.
When the signal beeps and the cycle is complete, remove the pan from the machine.
Remove the dough to a lightly oiled surface.
Shape the dough and place in a sprayed 8-1/2 x 4-1/2 x 2-1/2 inch loaf pan.
Cover the pan with a clean, lint-free towel and set in a warm, draft-free spot.
Allow the bread to rise a little over the top edge of the pan.
Bake the bread in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 35 minutes. Tent with foil toward the end of baking time if top of bread is getting too dark.
Making dough without a bread maker
I keep appliances to a minimum because of storage space but having a bread maker or bread machine is so worth the space it takes up. I keep my bread machine above the refrigerator because I use it so frequently. I do not bake in it, however, preferring to shape and bake in the oven. I find it to be so convenient for making perfect dough for so many recipes including yeast breads, cinnamon rolls, dinner rolls and pizza to name just a few.
If you do not have a bread maker, you can follow the instructions below for making the bread dough.
- Combine yeast, water, and sugar in a bowl. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes until foamy.
- Add the rest of the dough ingredients and knead for 8-10 minutes. You can knead by hand or in a stand mixer.
- Cover dough with a dishtowel and allow the dough to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 1 ½ hours.
- Turn the dough out to a lightly oiled surface and gently knead a few times to remove air bubbles.
- Now you are ready to proceed with the recipe by shaping, and allowing for a second rise.
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