Quick mix banana bread recipes require no rising time, and you can stir together the ingredients in minutes. You can further speed up the process of making your banana bread by cooking it in the microwave rather than the oven. While the resulting cake may not quite look or taste like one made in an oven, using the microwave to cook it means you can have banana bread in mere minutes.
Microwave vs. Oven: The Smackdown
A microwave cooks your food with electromagnetic waves, which cause the molecules of water within the food to move around and rub against each other. The friction caused by the movement of the molecules produces the heat that cooks the food. Microwave cooking doesn't work for creating many types of baked goods, which require direct dry heat to help them develop a firm, crispy crust and sometimes to leaven. However, banana breads are a type of quick bread that you can microwave. Quick breads contain chemical leavening ingredients like baking soda or baking powder which don't require any time to rise and will leaven with the steam-like cooking that a microwave provides.
Look Ma, No Crust
Unfortunately, while a microwave will cook your quick mix banana bread, it will appear much lighter in color and have more of a rubbery crust than one baked in the oven. This is because a microwave doesn't apply direct heat to the outside of the cake. The texture of the banana bread will also be softer and creamier than one that's oven-baked. Don't cover your banana bread while microwaving it to prevent it from becoming mushy. Cakes and quick breads baked uncovered in the microwave tend to have a texture similar to those that are steamed, including plum puddings.
Fresh Banana Bread in an Instant
The main advantage of using a microwave to cook your banana breads is obviously to save time. The average banana bread loaf will cook in the oven for between 45 and 55 minutes, with smaller loaves or muffins taking between 20 and 45 minutes to bake. With the microwave, you can cook your banana bread in approximately a quarter of the time as in a conventional oven. Another advantage is that you can make single-serving portions that you can cook directly in a microwave-safe mug and save the remaining batter for later use in the refrigerator. Grease the mug or other microwavable glass container before cooking the bread to prevent it from sticking.
Just Enough Banana Bread
By creating single-serving cups of banana bread, you can make only as much banana bread as you need and customize the ingredients for each of your guests. Allow your microwaved banana bread it to sit for several minutes to complete the cooking process and to cool. Test it with a knife to see if it comes out clean, if not pop it back in for 30 seconds to a minute at a time until it's firm. Store your leftovers as you would oven-baked banana bread in the refrigerator for up to one week, wrapped in plastic to keep it moist. Warm it for a few seconds in the microwave before serving, if desired.
- Pennsylvania State University: Probing Question: How Do Microwaves Cook Food?
- The University of Tennessee Agricultural Extension Service: Your Microwave Oven: A Real Time Saver
- United States Department of Agriculture: Cooking Safely in the Microwave Oven
- Pillsbury: Banana Quick Bread & Muffin Mix
- University of Illinois Extension: Using Microwaves to Their Fullest Potential
- Baking Industry Research Trust: Microwave Oven
- Krusteaz: Banana Quick Bread Mix
- Panasonic: Microwave Cookery Book & Operating Instructions
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