Thanks to the simple makeup of a basic banana bread, it can take on many different iterations. The ingredients depend on the recipe, but some of the main elements will generally remain the same; sugar, butter, flour, and eggs are some of the most essential. Other potential ingredients are up for debate or can be swapped out based on personal preference. Whether it be mix-ins like chocolate chips and blueberries or other ingredients like baking soda and baking powder, the choice is up to the individual baker.
While it's good to keep your options open, some ingredients really do make for a truly elevated banana bread, and you shouldn't swap these out for anything. One such secret ingredient for extra fluffy banana bread is cornstarch. Cornstarch is the super-ingredient behind many recipes because it thickens up the end product, making for an extra moist, cake-like texture in baked goods. Bakers can add this powder to anything from soup to pasta dishes, but it especially does well in baking scenarios — as evidenced by what it can do for your banana bread.
The Little-Known Power Of Cornstarch
Cornstarch is something every baker should keep stocked in the pantry because it can truly elevate the texture of your baked goods. For one, when mixed with flour, cornstarch works to soften proteins like gluten, which results in a lighter and fluffier dessert overall. It's a true game-changer for baked goods like banana bread, where airiness and a soft mouthfeel are more desirable.
At the same time, it won't break down your batter into something that's too difficult to work with. As author and baking enthusiast Brian Hart Hoffman shared with Southern Living, "The cornstarch complements the flour in absorbing the liquids, but won't develop gluten structure like the flour will ... the result is added tenderness with more structure." So, scientifically speaking, adding a little cornstarch to your batter just makes sense. Even just a few extra teaspoons in your mixing bowl makes for a very noticeable difference in the texture of banana bread, so don't skip it — in fact, you could probably be using it a whole lot more.
More Recipes To Elevate With Cornstarch
While cornstarch is a lifesaver for dull banana breads, it also has the power to elevate a whole other lineup of dishes, savory and sweet alike. For instance, because cornstarch is a thickening agent, it's the perfect addition to bring a much smoother, silkier mouthfeel to your favorite soups and stews. If you're looking for ways to bring life to a thin tomato soup, for example, cornstarch could be the very simple and solid solution. It works just as well for building up other liquidy components like pasta sauce, gravy, and even pie fillings.
For other baking endeavors — in addition to being a key ingredient for fluffy and soft baked goods — cornstarch can also act as a wonderful substitute for eggs. Eggs are often used in recipes to bring more moisture and better structure to the dish; since cornstarch generally works similarly, using a dash of it in lieu of an egg is a great choice in a pinch. But whether or not you include eggs in your recipe, give cornstarch a shot in your next batch of banana bread and see how it gives your loaf a boost!
Read the original article on Daily Meal.