By Melanie Fincher

Avoid these banana bread blunders.

Banana bread is good for a lot of things — it makes for an easy last-minute gift, breakfast potluck addition, or simple grab-and-go snack. It's considered a quick bread, as it doesn't require yeast for rising or time-consuming kneading. Simply mix all of the ingredients together and bake! Yet there are still a few pitfalls to baking banana bread that you'll want to avoid. Don't let anything get in between you and your banana bread — steer clear of these common banana bread mistakes.

Pictured: Banana Peanut Butter Bread | Photo by Melissa Goff

1. You use underripe bananas.

If you've ever tried to mash green bananas, you know that's no fun. That's why you should use only very ripe bananas to make banana bread. Not only are overripe bananas easier to mash, they also give the bread more moisture, sweetness, and flavor. How ripe is overripe? We're talking anything from spotted bananas all the way to solid black. If you need to make banana bread today and all you have are nearly ripe bananas — roast 'em. Learn our quick tricks to ripen bananas.

2. You overmix the batter.

For soft and tender banana bread, gently stir the wet ingredients into the dry — don't overmix! The more you stir, the more gluten will develop. The result will be a tough, rubbery banana bread. Simply stir until moist, and then do no more. In summary: Do less work, get better bread.

3. You use too much banana.

Fight the urge to use more banana than called for in your recipe. Using too much banana could make your bread heavy and damp in the center, causing it to appear undercooked and unappealing. If you have bananas leftover, you can always freeze them for later use.

4. You measure flour the wrong way.

Moisture is key when it comes to banana bread, and the ratio of flour to banana makes all the difference. If you use too much flour, you'll end up with dry bread. If you don't use enough, your bread will be too wet. The secret is actually in how you measure the flour. The scoop straight out of the bag method could be packing way too much flour into your measuring cup. Instead, use the "spoon and level" method by spooning flour into a measuring cup and scraping off the excess with the flat side of a knife or straight edge.

5. You don't check to make sure it's done.

Don't make the mistake of cutting into your banana bread only to discover it's uncooked in the center. While it's still in the oven, insert a skewer into the center. If the skewer comes out clean — or with just a crumb or two sticking to the skewer — it's ready. If the skewer has any raw batter sticking to it, put the bread back in the oven for about 5 minutes, and then check it again.

6. You don't allow it to cool.

You should remove the bread from the pan fairly soon after it comes out of the oven. The longer it sits in the pan, the soggier the bottom will become. Allow the bread to cool completely on a cooling rack before wrapping it in plastic wrap or transferring it to an airtight container. Warm bread wrapped in plastic wrap leads to condensation which leads to mold. Also, cooling the bread firms up the structure and makes for cleaner slices. If you love eating warm bread (and who doesn't?) you can always heat up your slice a bit in the oven.

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