For my solar oven adventures this week, I caught the only 5-hour window of total sun, which was just enough to bake some banana bread.  What luck!


But honestly, school is winding down around here and we are a bit swamped with all that entails, so the only solar oven planning I did this week was to check the weather report.  When I woke up Thursday, I also realized we had bananas in need up baking.  Bingo.  Banana Bread.


I love, love, love banana bread that is chock full of nuts, but my nut-allergic family, not so much.  So I miss out most of the time.  I also don’t own a banana bread recipe that I love, love, love, so I just used the one that I found on a bag of Gold Medal flour years ago.  It’s not bad, but I’m still looking.  I also like banana bread that is actually bread and not cake disguised as bread.  Still looking for that, as well.


So today I made Gold Medal brand’s Banana Bread.  I had enough bananas for one loaf, so I halved the recipe.  (The detailed recipe that follows at the end is the whole recipe.)


How to make (solar oven) banana bread:

0)  Put the Sun Oven solar oven outside to pre-heat.

1)  Cream together the butter and sugar.
How to make banana bread Cream butter, sugar, and eggs2)  Sitr in an egg and blend well.


3)  Mash some bananas, measure the buttermilk and vanilla and stir those in.  (The mixture looks like an alien abduction at this point.)
Making banana bread, mash the banana and stir it in the batter with vanilla and buttermilk


4)  Sift in some flour, baking soda and salt and stir just until combined. You want the batter a little lumpy.  Stir in nuts if you like.
banana bread: stir in the dry ingredients and pour batter into loaf pan5)  Pour the batter into a bread pan with a greased bottom only.


6)  Bake in a 350°F oven for 50-55 minutes.  My solar oven wasn’t quite hot enough to begin with, so I ended up baking it for about 90 minutes.  It wasn’t a huge problem, but I ended up wiping off the steamed-up glass twice (with a clean towel this time, not my sleeve).
A loaf of solar oven banana bread baking, then cooling in the loaf pan


7)  Let the loaf sit for 5 minutes after removing from the oven, then remove from pan and let cool completely, if you can wait that long…
A loaf of solar oven banana bread cooling on a cooling rack


Here’s what I learned:

–The solar oven took longer than I expected to preheat to 350°F at 8:00 in the morning, even on a relatively warm, cloudless day.  It wasn’t quite 300°F when I finished prepping the recipe, so I didn’t put it in the oven right away…  Baking soda doesn’t like that.  Perhaps that is one reason why the bread turned out so flat.

–Perhaps the other reason the bread turned out so flat was because my pan was a bit too big?  But it still tasted delicious, and even had a slightly crunchy outer crust.


It didn’t last long at my house.  I sent the last small chunk to lunch with my daughter the next day.


Do you have favorite banana bread recipe that you can point me to?  Maybe I’ll try it in the solar oven this summer.



Gold Medal Banana Bread

(that can be baked in a conventional  OR  solar oven)

adapted by


1¼ Cup white sugar
½ Cup butter (1 stick)

2 eggs

1½ Cup mashed ripe banana (about 3-4 medium)
½ Cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract

2½ Cups flour (use 2¾ Cups at high altitudes; I like to use some whole wheat flour)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt

1 Cup chopped nuts, optional

How to:

–In a medium bowl, cream together sugar and butter.

–Add eggs and blend well.

–Stir in banana, buttermilk, and vanilla.

–Stir or sift together dry ingredients, then stir into banana mixture.  Mix just until moistened—you want a few lumps.

–Stir in nuts, if desired.

–Grease bottoms only of loaf pans.  At high altitudes, use three 6x3x2-inch pans  –OR–  two 9x5x3-inch pans.  At non-high altitudes, use one 9x5x3-inch pan.

–Divide batter into pans.

–Bake loaves in a 350°F oven: 40 minutes for the three 6x3x2-inch pans  –OR–  50-55 minutes for the two 9x5x3-inch pans,  –OR–  75 minutes for the one 9x5x3-inch pan at non-high altitude.  (Or adjust time and temperature accordingly in your solar oven.)

–Remove from oven, cool 5 minutes in pans, then remove loaves to cooling rack to cool completely.

(Quick breads are better the next day after they have cooled and been bagged or wrapped in plastic.  But they are also delicious hot out of the oven.)


Other posts in this series:

Solar Oven Saturday – Intro
Solar Oven Saturday #1 – Roast Chicken
Solar Oven Saturday #2 – Homemade Bread
Solar Oven Saturday #3 – Au Gratin Potatoes
Solar Oven Saturday #5 – Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp
Solar Oven Saturday #6 – Banana Blueberry Muffins





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