I once had the same question. I wanted to make banana bread when a friend came to stay and it came out gummy. Why is that? I thought, and then I realized banana bread is a heavy batter and shouldn’t be treated anything like a loaf of bread. I then reviewed all of the possible causes of gummy or dense banana bread to create this guide so you won’t have this problem!
The most common reason for banana bread being gummy is over mixing. To raise heavy batters such as banana bread a light incorporation of ingredients is all that is required. Excessive mixing can cause it to come out gummy. Other reasons include the wrong consistency, not enough baking powder and the oven being too warm.
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Things to consider to prevent gummy banana bread:
1- Use scales and weigh the bananas
For accurate quantities of ingredients, you should be weighing them! This is a great way to prevent adding too much flour which can make the banana bread dense and heavy.
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Banana weights can vary quite a lot so if you can find a banana bread recipe that measures the bananas in weight you’ll be closer to being able to recreate it without any issues. Bananas contain a lot of water so too much banana can make the recipe too runny.
2. Check your bananas are well ripened, but not overripe!
Bannans used in banana bread should be well-ripened. If they are underripe they will be too firm to break down into a mush which will be hard for your bread to rise. Using not too ripe bananas with plenty of spots that have not started to completely blacken produces a lighter and fluffier loaf. I usually buy bananas that are ripe and leave them to ripen further on their side.
3- Use room temperature ingredients
To make sure your banana bread comes out light it’s important to treat heavy batters like banana bread with care. Cold butter or eggs added to a heavy batter can cause it to firm up because of how cold they are. If you want to make banana bread with cold butter, place it in the microwave for five seconds to take the chill off!
4- Check for the right consistency
Banana bread batter should be thick and slightly pourable. The banana bread mixture should mound up, but not sit on top of itself. If banana bread comes out too thick, add a spoonful of milk or water to loosen it. If banana bread is too runny, add a spoonful of flour to thicken it.
5- Don’t over mix
Over mixing banana bread will cause it to come out dense and gummy. This is because the gluten pockets formed by the flour need to be compact to raise the heavy loaf. Kneading encourages the extensibility type of gluten (gliadin), whereas for elasticity we need to enhance the glutenin gluten. Mixing should be done at slow speed if using an electric mixer. Beat the banana bread batter slowly until just combined. It’s ok to have lumps as long as there isn’t any dry flour.
6-Separate wet and dry ingredients
If you want to reduce the lumps in your batter without over mixing the best way to do this is to separate the dry and wet ingredients and the mashed bananas in separate bowls. Mix them together in 3 bowls until the ingredients are evenly distributed. Then add together and you’ll find that you only need to mix gently and the ingredients will have an even consistency right away!
7- Sift the baking powder with the flour
Sifting the baking powder and the flour before adding them together will ensure even distribution throughout the banana bread batter. Sifting is important for dry ingredients because it breaks up clumps and reduces the potential to form crusty white lumps in banana bread.
8- Add more baking powder
The reason for a dense or gummy banana bread can be attributed to the same common reason as dense bread, you need more of the raising agent! Perhaps there isn’t enough baking powder to make the banana bread rise. If the recipe you are using requires self-raising flour, you won’t be able to replace it with all-purpose or plain flour without adding more baking powder.
9- Additional ingredients will need more baking powder
If you are adding nuts or any other heavy ingredients to your banana bread it will make the dense batter even denser! You will need more baking powder for it to rise.
10- Turn down the oven temperature
If you overbake banana bread the crust will harden and can make a chewy loaf, but if you underbake banana bread you’ll find that your banana bread is raw in the middle. If this happens banana bread can also sink in the middle – banana bread needs time to cook all the way through!
Most banana bread recipes say to bake at around 170C (340F) which is perfect for a golden crust and a baked interior. If you find that the outside is colouring too early the middle of the cake may remain raw so you should bake at a lower temperature.
Every oven varies in how well it holds heat and how intense the heat is for the cake so you may have to adjust your baking temperature as you learn your oven. A square cake pan is wider so a cooler oven temperature bakes better banana bread.
If you notice during the bake that the crust has coloured too quickly you can cover it with tinfoil mid-way to protect the outside from burning.
11- Use an oven thermometer
A banana bread that’s gummy in the middle can mean that your banana bread is not being cooked all the way through. An oven thermometer will help you determine if your oven temperature is accurate, allowing you to adjust accordingly! They are inexpensive too, you can get your oven thermometer here!
12- Don’t open the door when banana bread is baking!
Do not open the oven door unnecessarily as the banana bread. This will lower the temperature of the oven and release the air pressure in the baking chamber. It will potentially cause the bread to collapse in the oven which is a dead cert for gummy banana bread!
13- Check that it is baked with a toothpick!
To check banana bread is cooked in the middle or not you can insert a toothpick or skewer in banana bread. If banana bread batter comes out clean from the oven it will be baked all the way through! If it is still runny then you still have raw batter in the centre.
Banana bread should bake until it passes the toothpick test. If banana bread comes out too dry slice banana bread with a wet serrated knife to give it that fresh banana bread texture.
14- Change your loaf pan
If you are having a hard time making banana bread bake evenly, it could mean that it’s time to change your loaf pan. Choose a durable one that’s made from a highly conductive material.
15- Cool banana bread for at least 15 minutes
Banana bread needs to cool and set before you slice it. If you start cutting banana bread while it’s still hot you’ll ruin its structure and make banana bread crumble when sliced.
Characteristics Of A Perfect Banana Bread
- The banana bread should be golden-brown with a toasty crust, firm yet bounces back when pressed.
- The texture is moist and slightly crumbly; you can cut or pull off pieces easily for sandwiches without having any trouble holding onto them because of how light it feels in your hands!
- A crack or fracture on top, which many bakers enjoy, is also possible.
- There should be a wonderfully warm, sweet scent of bananas emanating from your oven.
- The flavour of banana should be subtle and not overpowering, with a delicate sweetness and somewhat buttery aftertaste.