Banana bread has a lot going for it. For starters, over-ripened, brown bananas are the star ingredient, so it earns major kudos when it comes to food waste reduction. But one of its most endearing attributes, and likely the reason we're all fans, is that banana bread brings comfort.
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There's something about bananas and carbs, baked into a sweet bread, that soothes the soul. Stress-baking is a real thing, too, which only adds to its credit as comfort food.
Banana bread traditionally calls for overripe bananas, flour, baking soda, butter, sugar, eggs, salt and baking powder. But adding one more ingredient can elevate your comforting treat significantly. Enter: Yogurt. It turns out yogurt makes for a more moist and fluffier slice of banana bread and fans aren't looking back.
How to Add Yogurt to Banana Bread
A typical slice of banana bread has about 240 calories, 9 grams of fat (with 1 gram of saturated fat), 39 grams of carbohydrates (with 1 gram of fiber and 24 grams of sugar) and 3 grams of protein. This, of course, can vary greatly depending on the recipe.
"If you're using yogurt as the acid, then there is no need for baking powder. You could just use baking soda and the yogurt as a replacement."
But if you add yogurt, you'll bump up the protein content (and other nutrients including calcium and vitamin D). You can use both regular yogurt and Greek yogurt, although Greek yogurt will add more protein to your loaf. (Note that while yogurt does contain probiotics, the good gut bugs unfortunately don't survive the baking process, since high temps kill off some strains.)
"I often recommend plain regular yogurt over Greek yogurt," says Abbie Gellman, RD, an NYC-based dietitian and chef. "Regular yogurt has a thinner consistency, which works best in baked goods. However, you can also use Greek yogurt — simply thin it out with milk or water to the consistency of regular yogurt."
There is one type of yogurt you should avoid using at all costs. “Always use plain yogurt, never flavored,” says Gellman. I imagine yogurts with artificial sweeteners would not deliver on taste, either.
So why is yogurt the do-it-all ingredient that works in banana bread? "Yogurt is a wet ingredient and it is acidic. When you use yogurt in combination with a base, such as baking soda, a chemical reaction called leavening occurs," Gellman explains.
"This leavens the baked good and renders fluffy banana bread with good moisture. And as we know, yogurt contains a good amount of protein, so it naturally gives baked goods a protein boost."
In knowing that, the likely follow-up question is — how do I bake with it? It's a wet ingredient so are other ingredients that need to be added to compensate for the moisture or ingredients that need to be swapped out? "If you're using yogurt as the acid, then there is no need for baking powder. You could just use baking soda and the yogurt as a replacement."
How much yogurt to use: If you're opting for regular yogurt, use the full five-ounce cup and if you're using Greek yogurt, use a half-cup that has been thinned with about one-fourth cup of liquid.
A Recipe for Banana Bread With Yogurt
Stonyfield Farms' recipe features high-protein Greek yogurt and walnuts for some crunch.