Banana bread, like other fruit-based quick breads, is a sweet, hearty treat that is a nice addition to a snack tray, brunch platter and more. Properly baked banana bread is moist, dense and full of flavor. When you mix the batter properly, the bread bakes with a slight crest in the center where it may crack. If the loaf falls, there may be one of several culprits. Take action now to reduce your chances of sunken bread.
Baking Powder and Baking Soda
Measure your baking powder carefully, making sure to add the exact amount required by your recipe. The amount of baking soda required can vary based on the recipe you use, so check it before you measure. An excessive amount of baking powder in a banana bread recipe can cause the dough to rise very quickly and then fall in the center when the resulting air pockets collapse. If you use baking powder or baking soda that has aged, it may lose effectiveness. Add a teaspoon of baking powder to 1/2 cup of hot water. If the mixture does not start bubbling right away, the baking powder is old and should be replaced. Baking powder is typically good for six months after opening if you store it properly. Test baking soda by mixing 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda with 2 teaspoons of vinegar. If you do not see bubbles right away, the baking soda is no longer effective.
Too Much Moisture
Excess moisture or an inaccurate dry-goods measurement can cause the middle of your loaf to sink because the center of the bread is too moist and soft. Use bananas that are overripe and soft but not mushy. The softer bananas get, the higher the liquid content becomes. Add a tablespoon of flour at a time to help reduce the moisture of the batter, just until it is thick and not watery. Too much banana can create a heavy loaf that may sink in the center. Follow the recipe to ensure that you add enough banana without adding too much.
Cooking Time and Temperature
If your bread seems fine while cooking but collapses in the center after baking, the center may not be thoroughly cooked when the rest of the bread is done. To avoid overbaking the outside while thoroughly cooking the center, reduce your oven temperature by 25 degrees Fahrenheit, and then increase the cooking time by 10 to 15 minutes. Test it with a toothpick or similar item at the end of the shortest recommended cooking time, then monitor it until the toothpick comes out clean.
Baking Pan Choice and Time
Select the proper size loaf pan as recommended by the recipe you selected. Using a loaf pan that is larger or smaller than the recommended size in the recipe can alter the final product. If you change the size of the loaf pan, adjust your cooking time accordingly. Smaller loaves cook for less time while larger loaves cook longer. Bake banana bread right away when you finish the batter. The baking powder and baking soda begin working right away. If the batter sits, it may lose the leavening properties.