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).
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:
- 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.
- 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.)
- Stir in the melted butter, then crack the eggs into the bowl and mix until well-incorporated. Stir in the brown sugar and vanilla.
- Sprinkle the baking soda and salt evenly over the mix and then tip in the flour. Mix until combined.
- 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.
Expert tips and FAQs
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.
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.
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
- Rye sourdough starter
- My favorite crackers for using unfed starter
- Scallion pancakes (discard recipe)
- The perfect loaf of sourdough rye bread
- Life-changing sourdough bagels
- 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
- 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.
- You can use refreshed (fed) sourdough starter if you like. The bread will rise a little more.
- 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.
- If you like, you can add ½ cup chopped walnuts and/or ½ cup chocolate chips to the batter after mixing in the flour.
- 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.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 127Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 163mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 2gSugar: 9gProtein: 3g