Adding miso instead of salt gives a savory depth to this Miso Banana Bread, making it a whole lot more addictive!
Ever since I started making my own banana breads, I have been widely dissatisfied with about 95% of banana breads bought from the outside. It’s not that I’m saying I’m a better baker or anything. I’m just saying, the Internet is rich with banana bread recipes that are real gems. Aside from chocolate chip cookies, I think a good banana bread is one of the most important things a home baker should have in their arsenal of recipes.
Personally, I already have a handful of banana bread recipes that I enjoy going back to. But every once in a while, a new and interesting recipe pops up and entices me. And then I can’t help myself but write about yet another banana bread recipe on the blog. I mean, how can you not be curious about something called Miso Banana Bread?
Miso. That salty, savory paste the Japanese add into their soup and ramen. THAT miso. In a banana bread. Say what?
The idea of this Miso Banana Bread at first seemed alien to me. No, I’m not saying it’s bizarre since people dream up really interesting combos all the time. It’s just that the combination of the words “miso” and “banana bread” never quite tangled in the same space, at least in my mind. But then I had a bit of time to think it over, and actually, it made sense.
If you look at the list of ingredients for this banana bread, you will notice that it does not include salt. Some of you might know that part of salt’s job in a baked good is to boost the overall flavor of the finished product. It is that “unsung hero” that pushes all the flavors to the surface and creates balance at the same time.
This is the part where the miso paste comes in and acts as the more impactful stand in for the salt. You can’t really taste the miso per se, but it gives the banana bread a certain boldness to it. Compared to other regular banana breads, I feel like the miso helps give the Miso Banana Bread a more delicate, understated sweetness. Because of this, the banana flavor takes a more central stage. In fact, you get notes of caramel too from the caramelized chunk of banana on top!
It’s just a dang good banana bread, from the flavor down to the texture. Who would’ve thought miso paste could be a secret ingredient for a banana bread?!
Okay, there isn’t that much to actually discuss when it comes to this Miso Banana Bread recipe. Banana breads are as easy as they come, and the recipe usually starts like any other, with the creaming of butter and sugar. This time, you also have some white miso paste in the mix.
Although my miso looks pretty dark in the photo, that is actually white miso paste. The recommended miso for this recipe is white miso paste, or shiro miso. I’m not knowledgeable enough on the topic to tell you what the differences between the different miso pastes are, but here’s a good article in case you’re curious.
You can see that the resulting mixture is quite light in color, even with the miso paste added in. At this point, you want to mix in the mashed bananas and the other wet ingredients.
The resulting mixture will look like the fat wants to separate with the liquid, as below, but not to worry, this is normal. It’ll all come together once the dry ingredients are incorporated. Now here’s the crucial part: As with any cake recipe, you really do not want to overmix your batter. Use a spatula to fold the dry mixture into the wet just until combined and you no longer see any flour streaks in your batter. The batter will look smooth, so resist the urge to mix further.
Once you pour the batter into your pan, top with a banana that’s been sliced lengthwise. This part is kind of optional, but I honestly recommend it. I personally like to bite into solid bits of banana when I eat banana bread, so these days, I always top my banana breads with bananas in different sizes. Also, this banana topping will caramelize once baked and will add another interesting layer of experience when you eat your Miso Banana Bread. And we all want that, right?
I literally think that one of the greatest pleasures in life is the entire process of unmolding a freshly baked loaf of banana bread. My SOP is often cutting into fresh banana bread a few minutes before it fully cools to room temp. Sometimes the crumb is still really soft, but I love how that bit of heat, coupled with the first puff of banana bread scent from the first slice, brings me instant warmth inside. It brings me to my favorite parts about baking, you know?
I find that this particular Miso Banana Bread is best eaten warm, or at room temperature at least. The texture is perfect warm, but it firms up in the fridge so I’m not too keen eating it cold. In my opinion, the banana flavor becomes stronger as the days pass, so you might want to taste the difference between freshly baked and day-old. It’s good either way!
Miso Banana Bread
Makes one 9 x 5-inch loaf
- 3 to 4 240 grams medium overripe bananas, mashed
- 1 medium or large banana, for garnish
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
- 3 tablespoons shiro miso, sweet or white miso
- ½ cup caster sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease and line a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.
- In a large bowl, beat together the butter, miso, sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy. (Medium high if using a mixer, about 2 to 3 minutes). Add in the mashed bananas, eggs, and vanilla extract and mix briefly, around 30 seconds. The batter might start to split at this point, but this is normal.
- Finally, add in the flour, baking powder, and cinnamon. Mix just until a smooth batter forms. (If using mixer, set to low and mix for about 20 to 30 seconds.)
- Pour the batter into the prepared loaf tin. Halve the extra piece of banana lengthwise and place them on top of the batter. (You can also slice into rounds if you like.)
- Bake the banana bread in the oven for 60 to 75 minutes, rotating about 45 minutes into the baking time. Bake until golden on top and a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the tin for 30 minutes before unmolding and slicing. Banana bread is best at room temperature or warm.