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My mother always made banana bread when I was growing up, and my favorite part was the the fact that the top of the loaf was sweet and moist, to the point that it would leave residue if you touched it! Hers is the only banana bread that I've seen that does this.

When I first tried making the recipe, the top stayed dry, but these days it becomes moist just like when she makes it. As far as I can tell, the top is dry straight out of the oven, then as it cools it becomes slightly tacky. After saran wrapping, the top develops the moist layer that I'm familiar with.

Does anyone know:

  1. What physically causes this moisture on top?
  2. What I can do to reduce or enhance it?
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You've partially answered your own question:

  1. When wrapped in foil, the water contained naturally in the ingredients will re-moisturise the banana bread.

  2. a. To reduce:

    • don't wrap it
    • leave it in the oven to cool down with the oven slightly open so that most of the moisture can escape

    b. to enhance:

    • make a dome of tin foil above it before putting it in the oven
    • Wrap it in micro-wave resistant plastic foil the moment it comes out of the oven

P.S. Don't use Saran foil when it comes straight out of the oven. I've tried and it's not pretty!!! :-(
P.P.S. For perfect balance, I don't wrap it in tin foil before putting it in the oven but do leave it out for 5 minutes before wrapping it in microwave-resistant plastic foil, but my mum is not your mum, so YMMV. ;-)
P.P.P.S. Unless you're my brother, in which case your mum is my mum and I want to know: Why didn't you call mum yesterday??? :D :D :D

  • Thank you so much! I don't think I've ever tin-foil wrapped anything going into the oven (at least nothing that was meant to rise), that sounds intriguing. Would I just make a kind of dome of foil over the loaf before putting it in the oven? Do you think adding a water bath (not necessarily submerging the loaf pan, but perhaps just a container of water on a rack below it) could also get this effect? – sgbrown Jul 5 '18 at 20:40
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    @sgbrown I put an earthenware container filled with water next to anything in the oven while baking it for moisture release; (E.g. dry pizza) but in this case I wouldn't because the bananas are so moist already that you're going to end up with a bunch of bleurgh bread instead of banana bread: start with the microwave-resistant foil, then tin foil, then tin foil with holes, etc until you get it right just like mum used to make it! ;-) – Fabby Jul 5 '18 at 21:14
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    @sgbrown When you bake bread with a water bath you get a thicker crust. Putting foil over the banana bread (or other cakes) partway through cooking is good for preventing burning or unevenly cooking the top quicker than the rest of the banana bread if your oven is too hot. – Lag Jul 6 '18 at 7:20
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    @Kat Because when you take the banana bread out of the oven and wrap it in normal foil immediately, it'll melt and sick into the banana bread and to the container and is very hard to remove. – Fabby Jul 6 '18 at 7:37
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    Do you mean microwave-safe plastic wrap? I would guess so, since you also said "saran foil" instead of "saran wrap." To me, foil is metal, so it melting or being microwave safe doesn't make much sense. – Kat Jul 6 '18 at 15:02

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