My favorite sandwich bread, a perfect way to use a single overripe banana. Tender and slightly sweet, it's great for PB&J or French Toast. It works well with a substitution of up to 1/3 whole wheat flour.
Combine all ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixer and knead on medium with the dough hook for 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and tacky. The dough will clear the sides of the bowl, but not the bottom.
[If you add some whole wheat flour, your dough will not be smooth. To test for tackiness, touch the dough with your finger. If dough clings but releases relatively cleanly, the dough is tacky. If it doesn't cling at all, add a little water; if a lot of dough sticks, add a little flour. Mix and test again.]
If mixing by hand, combine dry ingredients. Mash your banana, melt your butter, and combine with the milk and honey. Stir liquid ingredients into dry ingredients until a dough forms, then knead (preferably in the bowl) for about 10 minutes, until dough is smooth and tacky.
Place dough in an oiled bowl, cover, and proof in a warm place for 60 minutes, until dough has doubled in size. I usually preheat my oven for 1-2 minutes to create a warm space.
Turn out dough onto a floured or oiled surface and pat into a rectangle. Fold like a letter to form a loaf, pinching the seams into the dough after each fold to increase the surface tension. Repeat if necessary if the dough is too slack.
Place in a greased 8.5-x-4.5-inch loaf pan (although 9x5 is ok too). Spray with cooking spray, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise for another 60 minutes, until the dough has risen about an inch above the top of the loaf pan.
Bake at 350F for 35-40 minutes. The temperature of the bread will be 190F if you take its temperature. Remove from loaf pan after about 10 minutes, and cool completely on a wire rack before slicing. I can usually get 16 slices per loaf.
One large banana, in my experience, weighs 120 grams without peel. With it, I usually add another 1/4 - 1/3 cup flour. If your bananas are small (75 grams on my scale, without peel), you can add 1 1/2 bananas. Or, you can add a single banana and add a little extra milk as necessary to make sure the dough isn't dry.
You can use bread flour or all-purpose flour for this. I find either works fine. I usually substitute 1 cup of whole wheat flour for the all-purpose or bread flour.
If you're concerned about whether your yeast is alive, proof in the milk at 105F with a pinch of sugar for 5 minutes before adding it to the dough.
Don't have or want honey? Try agave syrup. Using maple syrup or brown sugar may also work, but you will likely need to adjust the milk or flour after mixing the dough to get the right consistency.
Recipe revised 7/25/2020
Adapted from King Arthur Flour