Moistest banana bread with chia seeds

Banana bread – this has been my go-to quick bread for a long time. Anytime bananas get too ripe, into the freezer they go to await their fate. Once a few have accumulated and I’m looking for a reason to turn on the oven, it’s time to get baking.

In the past I’ve just Googled “banana bread” and used the first recipe that comes up. But I figured I could improve on that. I was flipping through the Le Pain Quotidian cookbook and saw a recipe for banana and chia seed muffins. I always have a bag of chia seeds around because I eat them with yogurt for breakfast nearly every morning. So I gave this a try in loaf form, and no longer will I be Google-ing the banana bread recipe – this is the new favorite.

The chia seeds add a really nice crunch both inside the bread and on the top (and are visually appealing as well). The cookbook called for about twice as many chia seeds, but chia seeds are not cheap and I’m stingy! So I held back. You can add more if desired. Supposedly they’re good for you or something, so by all means, get your chia on.

Yogurt is the secret to making this bread the moistest! Some people swear by Greek yogurt, but I used organic yogurt made from whole milk since it’s what I keep around.

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Adapted from the Le Pain Quotidian cookbook. Makes one loaf.

3 ripe bananas, mashed
1 cup plain yogurt
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar (more if a sweeter bread is desired)
2 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 cup chia seeds, plus some for sprinkling on the top

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a loaf pan by buttering and lightly flouring.

Mix bananas, yogurt, butter, sugar, eggs, salt and vanilla together in a bowl to a smooth purée using a fork. Add flour and baking powder and stir until just combined (do not over mix). Fold chia seeds in with a spatula and let stand for 20 minutes.

Pour batter into the loaf pan. Sprinkle chia seeds on the top until covered. Bake for 50 minutes or until golden brown on the top and toothpick inserted in the middle of the loaf comes out clean.

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