Breads (Yeast) - Loaves

Banana Loaf (Old Dough Method)

May 17, 2018 | Recipe by Bake with Paws
Banana Loaf

Banana Loaf

I’ve always wanted to make Banana Bread with a texture like bread rather than cake.  However, I have not been able to find a recipe that I was happy with.  We happened to have some ripe banana and I used them as an experiment.  I am happy that the experiment turned out well and I got a bread rather than a cake! This recipe is highly recommended as the bread is soft like cotton and the few pieces we had left were still soft on the second day.  

I used pâte fermentée (pre-fermented dough in French) or sometimes called "old dough" to make this soft and flavourful bread.  Traditionally, bread makers take a portion of the bread dough made and save it overnight for next day baking.  I made it from scratch since I did not have any ready old dough. With this method, the bread is more flavourful and aromatic due to the higher acidity and fermentation gasses produced during the slow fermentation.

Please click on Bread Making Method to understand more details.

I have another Old Dough Bread recipe that you may like to try too.  Creamed Sweet Corn Bread.

It is advisable to read the below general notes before starting baking.


For kneading, please regard the timing provided as an indication only. It is only meant as a guide.  Timing may differ depending on the brand of flour and electric mixer used. The protein content may vary from one brand of flour to another.

Some have experienced the dough breaking during the second proofing.  If that happens it is due to over kneading.  Please stop the machine and check your dough during the final cycle of kneading to ensure that you don't over knead. Every machine is different and there is always a chance of over-kneading when using a machine. You may need to adjust this timing and stop as soon as you reach the window pane stage.

The right flour plays a very important role in bread making.  Usually bread flour content around 11.5 - 13.5% protein, while high gluten flour is around 13.5 - 14.5%.  All purpose flour content less protein around 9 - 11%.  To achieve fluffy, soft and light bread, I used Japan High Gluten Flour in most of my bread baking.  Sources from here and here.

The liquid measurement given is also a guide.  It is advisable to always reserve some liquid and not add it all in one go.  This would give you the opportunity to adjust if necessary. If dough is too dry, add the reserve liquid one tablespoon at a time until the right consistency.  This is because each flour absorbs water and hydrates differently. 

Please note that the proofing timing may also vary depending on your climate and environment. The humidity and temperature at your place will influence how dough rises.  
If you are unable to judge by just looking at the dough, you can do the finger poke test:
  1. First Proofing:
    • Lightly flour or oil your finger or knuckle, gently poke in the centre of the dough then remove your finger.  If it bounces back immediately without any indentation then it needs more time.
    • If the indentation stays and it doesn’t bounce back or if the dough collapses, then the it is over proved.  
    • If it bounces back just a little, then the dough is ready to be punched down and shaping.
  2. Second Proofing:
    • Lightly press the side of the proved dough with your finger.  If it bounces back immediately without any indentation, it means the dough is under proved and needs more time before baking.
    • If the indentation stays and it doesn’t bounce back, it means it has been over proved.
    • If the indentation slowly bounces back and leave a small indentation, it is ready to bake. 
    • There will be a final burst of rising once the bread is placed to bake in the oven and it is called oven spring. 
If your bread collapses or gets wrinkled on top after removing from oven, it could be because your dough over proved during the second proofing. Please proof your dough until it just reaches or is slightly below the rim of the pan.

Do also note that the baking temperature and timing provided are what works for my oven and should also be regarded as a guide only. Every oven behaves a little differently, so please adjust accordingly for your oven.

If you have any questions regarding this recipe or any other post, please leave me a comment in the “LEAVE A COMMENT” link and I will reply you as soon as possible.

Recipe - Banana Loaf Bread 


Old Dough:
140g bread flour (I used Japan High Gluten Flour)
½ tsp instant yeast
½ tsp brown sugar
Pinch of salt
85g fresh milk

Main Dough:
320g bread flour (I used Japan High Gluten Flour)
160g mashed banana
1 tsp instant yeast
25g brown sugar
1 ½ tsp salt
25g milk powder
40g butter, room temperature
40g whisked egg (from 1 large egg, balance use for egg wash)

Utensil:  25 X 12 X 11 cm loaf pan


For the Old Dough:
  1. Combine milk, yeast and sugar in a mixing bowl.  Then mix in bread flour with a wooden spatula until well combined.  The dough is sticky. Cover with cling film and let it prove for 1 hour in a warm and dark place. 
  2. After 1 hour, place into the refrigerator and use the next day at least after 8 hours or up to 16 hours. 30 minutes before using, take out the sponge dough from refrigerator to return to room temperature.

For the main dough:
  1. Line the baking trays with parchment paper.
  2. Put all ingredients (start with salt, flour, yeast, sugar, milk powder, banana, egg, butter and old dough) into the bowl of stand mixer. Using the dough hook on a stand mixer, knead until the dough comes together, become elastic and tacky but not sticky. Tacky dough behaves sort of like a Post-it note, sticking to a surface but peeling off easily. It takes around 15 minutes at medium speed.  If the dough is too dry, add 1 tablespoon of milk at a time. 
  3. Let the dough rise in a warm place for 60 minutes or until double in size in a large greased bowl, covered with cling film or kitchen towel.  I normally leave inside the oven with door closed, without heat and a bowl of hot water beside mixing bowl.
  4. After 1 hour, punch down the dough to release the air. Transfer the dough to a clean floured surface then divide into 2 equal portions. Roll out each dough with a rolling pin into long rectangle shape. Roll up the dough until a small log is formed.  
  5. Place all dough in the prepared loaf pan.  Let it rise for another 45 to 60 minutes or until double in size.
  6. 10 – 15  minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 190C.
  7. Bake at preheated oven for 25 - 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
  8. Remove bread from oven and let them cool on rack.


  1. Hi, the sponge dough is not as sticky as expected. The sponge dough recipe states milk, but the method step 1) states water. For the main dough, milk is not listed in the ingredients.

    Is there a missing ingredient in the sponge dough recipe?


    1. Hi Yung,

      Thanks for dropping by. Apologise for the confusion. I have directly copied the method from my other recipes and forgot to amend.

      Sponge dough ingredients are correct. I have amended the water to milk in method. Some flour absorb more water resulted your dough is not sticky. But, it doesn't really matter.

      I didn't add milk in my main dough as mashed banana and egg are consider as liquid. However, if your dough is too dry then please add 1 tbsp of fresh at a time.

      Just remember, some flours absorb more water than others. Please adjust accordingly ya.

      Thank you and happy baking :)

  2. Oh my gosh, this looks yummy! I love banana bread so I think this would be like banana bread amplified by 1000!

    1. Thank you :) But, please bear in mind the banana taste is not very strong.


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