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Our chocolate chip banana bread has been flying off the shelves worldwide for over a decade. I adapted that recipe into sourdough banana bread — a classic, tender, delicately flavored quick bread that doubles as an easy way to use up sourdough discard (unfed starter).

sourdough banana bread in a loaf pan
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Why we love this recipe

The sourdough process has so much to recommend it. But one challenge — especially when you’re in the process of creating a new sourdough starter — is using the unfed portion (also called discard) instead of wasting it.

This wonderful, classic-tasting banana bread recipe is a great way to use it. This bread is:

  • Tender
  • Delicately flavored
  • Mixed with a single fork in a single bowl
  • Ready in about an hour

What you’ll need

Here’s a glance at the ingredients you’ll need to make sourdough discard banana bread.

  • Use extremely ripe bananas. Fresh or frozen and defrosted are both fine.
  • You can use whatever 100% hydration sourdough starter you have. Mine is made with hearty rye flour, and the banana bread still turns out delicate and mild. The purpose of this recipe is to hep use up unfed starter (sourdough discard), but you can also use ripe, bubbly starter. The bread will rise a little more if you do that.
  • If you like, you an add half a cup of chopped walnuts and/or half a cup of chocolate chips.

How to make it

Here’s what you’ll do to make a great loaf of sourdough banana bread. You can see the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post, and get the all the details in the recipe card below.

  1. In a large mixing bowl, mash the bananas well. Add the sourdough starter and mix it in. (You can use a fork to mix the whole recipe.)
  2. Stir in the melted butter, then crack the eggs into the bowl and mix until well-incorporated. Stir in the brown sugar and vanilla.
  3. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt evenly over the mix and then tip in the flour. Mix until combined.
  4. Pour batter into a greased, medium-sized loaf pan (see recipe card below for dimensions). Bake in the center of a 350°F oven for about 55 minutes. A tester inserted into the bread won’t come out totally clean because of the banana, but it shouldn’t be covered with batter.
four slices of sourdough banana bread

Expert tips and FAQs

Can you taste the sourdough in this banana bread?

Honestly? It just tastes like banana bread, with perhaps the slightest bit of additional tang — even though my starter is made from hearty whole grain rye flour. The acidity of the starter contributes to a tender crumb, but since we bake the bread right after mixing, the dough doesn’t have a chance to ferment.

What if my starter isn’t 100% hydration?

This recipe uses half a cup (112 grams) of 100% hydration starter, which is 56 grams of flour and 56 grams of water. If your starter has a different hydration level, you can do the math. Add enough starter to contribute 56 grams of flour, along with additional water to make up the difference.

How long does sourdough starter banana bread keep?

Once completely cool, this loaf will keep well for three or four days wrapped in foil at room temperature. You can toast slices of it on subsequent days. For longer-term storage, wrap in foil, place into a zip-top freezer bag, and freeze for up to about six months.

More sourdough resources

sourdough banana bread in a loaf pan

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sourdough banana bread in a loaf pan
4.68 from 64 votes

Sourdough Banana Bread

By Carolyn Gratzer Cope
Our super-popular banana bread with chocolate chips has been a favorite of many families for over a decade. For times when you have an abundance of unfed sourdough starter, I developed this adaptation to merge the best of all possible worlds.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 55 minutes
Total: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 12
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Ingredients 

  • 1 pound (454 grams) very ripe bananas (3 to 4 large, weighed with skins still on)
  • ½ cup (112 grams) unfed 100% hydration sourdough starter
  • 4 tablespoons (56 grams) butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup (100 grams) lightly packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 ¼ cups (150 grams) all-purpose flour

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the center. Grease a medium (8-cup/9 x 5 x 3 inch) loaf pan.
  • In a large bowl, mash the bananas with a fork.
  • Mix in the sourdough starter.
  • Mix in the melted butter.
  • Crack the eggs into the bowl and mix well.
  • Add the brown sugar and vanilla and mix with the fork to combine well.
  • Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the batter.
  • Add the flour and mix with the fork until just combined.
  • Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake for about 55 minutes, until a tester inserted in the center comes out with only banana on it, not raw batter.
  • Cool in the pan on a rack for ten minutes, then remove from pan to cool completely.

Notes

  1. You can use refreshed (fed) sourdough starter if you like. The bread will rise a little more.
  2. When possible, it’s best to weigh your ingredients for baking. If you don’t have a kitchen scale, use the spoon and level method to measure the flour.
  3. If you like, you can add 1/2 cup chopped walnuts and/or 1/2 cup chocolate chips to the batter after mixing in the flour.
  4. Once completely cool, store any leftovers at room temperature, wrapped in foil, for up to four days. You can toast slices in subsequent days if you like. For longer-term storage, wrap well in foil, place inside a zip-top freezer bag, and freeze for up to about six months.

Nutrition

Serving: 1, Calories: 127kcal, Carbohydrates: 26g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 31mg, Sodium: 163mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 9g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Sourdough
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @umamigirl or tag #umamigirl!

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Carolyn Gratzer Cope Bio Photo

About Carolyn Gratzer Cope

Hi there, I'm Carolyn Gratzer Cope, founder and publisher of Umami Girl. Join me in savoring life, one recipe at a time. I'm a professional recipe developer with training from the French Culinary Institute (now ICE) and a lifetime of studying, appreciating, and sharing food.

4.68 from 64 votes (64 ratings without comment)

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4 Comments

  1. Hello. I’m new to SD. We use SD recipes for its properties with gluten degradation for a gluten sensitivity. It is my understanding that the degradation occurs during the fermentation process. I would like to try this banana bread. Is it possible to somehow long ferment this batter? I wouldn’t think I could leave the batter out on the counter long because of the eggs. If I mixed the active starter with everything except the baking soda and eggs and left it on the counter to ferment for 6 hours or so would this be okay for this recipe? Would I also wait with the salt? Seems like a lot of recipes leave the salt off until the end, though I don’t understand why. What about the bananas? Would it be safe to add the bananas at the beginning or could I add them in with the eggs? Thank you for any help you can offer me.

    1. Hi, Julie! There’s no need to let the starter incorporate more than it would with a normal mixing process, but you can make the batter in advance if you’d like, as long as you follow a few tips. First, baking soda needs to be added shortly before baking, so don’t mix it in until the last minute. Second, the longer the batter rests in the fridge, the more pronounced any sourdough flavor will be. This is especially true if you’re using active starter but still applies to a lesser degree with discard. If you follow these guidelines it’s fine to let the batter chill overnight, but you’ll notice a bit more tang in the final result.