I've tinkered with the classic banana bread recipe plenty, searching for ways to make it more moist and tender without being too dense. Adding cream cheese to the batter is an excellent trick: The small amount gives good flavor and texture without weighing down the bread too much. I also call for some Greek yogurt and creme fraiche to add moisture but keep the batter light—if you don't have creme fraiche and don't want to buy it just for this, go ahead and use 4 ounces of Greek yogurt. (I like to use 2 ounces Greek yogurt and 2 ounces creme fraiche.) —Posie (Harwood) Brien
(6 ounces) unsalted butter
(3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
(5 5/8 ounces) brown sugar
cream cheese, softened
Greek yogurt (full-fat preferably) or creme fraiche or a mixture of both
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease two standard-sized metal loaf pans.
Melt the butter in a large bowl. Add the sugars and whisk well to combine.
Add the eggs, mixing in each one at a time, then the vanilla and salt.
Add the softened cream cheese, Greek yogurt, and crème fraîche. If your cream cheese doesn't fully incorporate, and has some lumps, transfer your batter to a stand mixer (or use a handheld electric mixer) and beat on high for a few minutes. The batter will lighten up in color and the lumps should smooth out.
Add the mashed bananas and mix well.
Add the flour, baking soda, and cinnamon if using. Stir until the batter just comes together. If you want to use millet, which gives the bread a wonderful crunch, add it now (you could also use up to a cup of chopped toasted nuts, chocolate chips, or even coconut!).
Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and bake for about 1 hour, or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool before turning out of the pans and slicing.