If your banana bread is sinking in the middle, it can be due to a variety of reasons (usually related to temperature issues or too much moisture being added to the recipe). Of course, this information also applies to other moist “quick breads” such as pumpkin bread, cranberry bread, etc. Below we have listed some of the major reasons for a sinking middle.
For easy banana bread recipes (such as chocolate chip banana bread & no butter banana bread), please visit Bread Dad’s main Banana Bread Recipes section.
Reasons for Sinking Middles
- Recipes that use a “number” of whole bananas (i.e. 3 bananas versus 1 1/2 cups of mashed bananas) have a greater chance for problems. Bananas vary in size and this impacts their moisture content. 3 large bananas have more moisture than 3 small/medium-sized bananas. Excess moisture (when compared to the recipe’s dry ingredients) means a greater potential for banana bread to sink in the middle. Recipes that state the exact amount of mashed bananas by measuring cup (i.e. 1 ½ cups of mashed bananas) or by weight (i.e. grams) tend to have fewer problems. There is less moisture variation.
- Look for highly-rated recipes with lots of positive visitor comments. This means that the recipe has been “tested” & approved by many people. Therefore, if you are using a proven recipe, a sunken banana bread is probably not due to the recipe. It is more likely that you made an error when making the banana bread.
- You incorrectly measured the ingredients. If you do not measure the ingredients exactly (and just eyeball things) then the liquid-to-dry ratio of the ingredients could be off. Too much liquid can lead to banana bread that sinks in the middle. Of course, an excess amount of dry ingredients can also lead to trouble. Many international bakers like to use grams & milliliters (versus measuring cups & spoons) to avoid ingredient measurement issues.
- Used the incorrect egg “size”. My recipes call for the use of large eggs (not extra large eggs or jumbo eggs). If you use extra large eggs or jumbo eggs, you will be adding too much moisture and your banana bread is more likely to sink. FYI – 1 large egg weighs roughly 57 grams.
- Some people do not preheat their oven long enough. It can take 15 minutes to properly preheat some ovens. If your oven has not reached the correct baking temperature before the banana bread is placed in the oven, the banana bread will be undercooked and more likely to sink. I like to use a hanging thermometer placed inside my oven to see if it has reached the correct temperature.
- Some oven temperature dials are not accurate and your oven temp might off by 25-50 degrees F. Again, I like to use a hanging oven thermometer in order to make sure my oven temperature is correct.
- Do not open the oven door to take a peek. This lets the heat out & cold air in. You are more likely to suffer a sinking problem if you open the oven door in the middle of the baking process.
- If you do not store your ingredients (i.e. flour) in airtight containers, it can lead to problems. For example, flour in an open package can absorb moisture from the air. Moisture-contaminated flour can add extra moisture to a banana bread. Excess moisture can result in a banana bread sinking.
- Old or moisture-contaminated baking soda/powder can lead to banana bread rising problems. Use fresh baking soda/powder and make sure to store your baking soda/powder in airtight containers.
- High humidity environments can also throw off recipes by adding excess moisture during the mixing & baking process.
- If you use a pan that is too small, it can cause a problem for banana bread recipes. Good recipes will tell you what size pan to use. For example, my recipes tell you to use a 9 by 5 inch bread pan in order to make my banana bread recipes. However, if you use a smaller pan, the banana bread will rise too high and overflow or collapse back in on itself (as it lacks support from the sides of the pan).
It is very hard to save an already sunken banana bread. You need to prevent the problem before it happens! So please read the list above and try to avoid these issues when making your banana bread.
If you have any suggestions, tips or information on sinking middles, please post your thoughts in the comment section below.