People enjoy snacking on bananas at varied stages of ripeness, but it's more widely agreed that the best banana for baking is a very soft one with a healthy spotting of brown. However, in a pinch, if you need to make a classic banana bread recipe to bring to your neighbor's house, baking with the slightly green bundle of bananas that you bought at the grocery store yesterday may be your only option.
Baking with underripe bananas will change the consistency and flavor of your banana bread, cake, or muffins but there are a few tricks you can try to counteract the underripeness. During the ripening process, the starches in a banana turn to sugars, so the banana has a stronger banana flavor and becomes softer and sweeter. It's clear that an underripe banana is not as moist or sweet as its riper counterparts -- they're also harder to mash. So, quick math tells us that our underripe banana needs some added moisture, flavor, and sweetener in the form of other ingredients, like a splash of milk, a spoonful of sugar, and a few extra spices. You will never get quite the same intensity of banana flavor, but this tip will help you take your baked goods from potentially dull and dry to full of fruity moisture.
Underripe Bananas Make Room For Customization
There are some tricks to make bananas ripen faster, like storing them in a paper bag or baking them for about half an hour. If you don't have time for this, no need to worry. First, make sure your underripe banana is thoroughly mashed so you don't get chunks of hard banana in your batter. The batter is already likely to be more starchy due to the makeup of the underripe banana, but if it's thoroughly mashed you will be less inclined to overmix (overmixing results in tough baked goods due to the over-development of gluten). This will make it easier to incorporate, but you'll still need to add extra moisture, sweetener, and other elements to adjust for the lack of intensity of flavor.
You can add a variety of wet ingredients to add moisture. If the recipe calls for a certain ingredient, you may want to stay consistent by adding more of that. However, this is an opportunity to introduce other texture and flavor enhancers (and make up for the underripe banana's lack of flavor). A spoonful of Greek yogurt imparts tangy richness, while olive oil has a subtle nutty flavor and will contribute to the bread's tenderness. The amount of extra sweetener you add is up to personal preference. For both sugar and moisture, you can use a liquid sweetener like maple syrup. Your banana bread will also benefit from its distinctive toffee-like flavor.
Read the original article on Mashed.