Sour milk banana bread is a classic quick bread with a common old-fashioned farmhouse ingredient: sour milk. This is my Great Grandma’s recipe and my go-to anytime I need to use overripe bananas!
What is Sour Milk?
Sour milk, a star ingredient in this sour milk banana nut bread is not to be confused with milk that has actually spoiled. Sour milk is an old-fashioned ingredient that was very common in farm kitchens like my Grandma’s. Farm fresh, unpasteurized milk that had sat at room temperature fermented, making it slightly sour before it spoiled. Using it in baked goods was a way to use this milk up and that is why so many old-fashioned recipes call for sour milk. Luckily, it is easy to make your own sour milk with the following ratio:
Sour Milk Ratio = 1 Tablespoon white vinegar to 1 cup of milk
You can also substitute buttermilk anytime a recipe calls for sour milk. However, it is so easy to make sour milk and most often you probably already have vinegar on hand in your pantry. Adding acidic ingredients like sour milk to baked goods not only adds tenderness and moisture, it also helps with leavening. So, the next time you find an old-fashioned recipe calling for sour milk – try making your own instead of substituting buttermilk!
About this Recipe
This is my Great Grandma’s recipe for sour milk banana nut bread and my go-to anytime I need to use overripe bananas. It uses simple ingredients, many which you probably already have on hand. The original recipe called for the batter to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes. This was due to using old-fashioned baking soda, that required time to activate once it was mixed with a liquid and an acid. This is no longer necessary with modern baking soda, which is helpful to remember when reading old-fashioned recipes like this one.
I have made my own adaptions over the years, but it is a simple recipe to follow. See some of my tips below for this recipe.
Tips for Sour Milk Banana Nut Bread
- To make your own sour milk for this recipe: add 1/4 teaspoon white vinegar to the 3 Tablespoons of milk
- I prefer to use unsalted butter in most of my baking – many old-fashioned recipes call for lard or oleo (a type of margarine). Using unsalted butter in your baking also allows you to control the amount of salt in a recipe.
- Try toasting the walnuts for this recipe, as toasting them can remove some of the bitterness. To toast:
- Toast nuts at 350 degrees on an ungreased baking pan for 6-8 minutes. Cool before using or store in an airtight container. This step can be done in advance.
- I also like to line my loaf pan with parchment paper, for easy removal.
- Banana bread freezes really well! Store in an airtight container for up to 3 months
More Old-Fashioned Recipes with Sour Milk:
Sour Milk Banana Nut Bread
- mixing bowls of various sizes
- 8 1/2" x 4 1/2 "loaf pan
- parchment paper
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup mashed ripe bananas about 3
- 2 large eggs
- 3 Tablespoons sour milk* see notes below to make your own, or substitute equal parts buttermilk
- 1/2 cup chopped nuts, such as walnuts or pecans
- Cut parchment paper to size of loaf pan and place in bottom of pan; grease entire pan and parchment paper well.
- In a medium sized mixing bowl, sift or whisk 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon baking soda.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix 1/2 cup unsalted butter, and 1 cup granulated sugar until light. Add in 2 large eggs, one at a time. Add in 1 cup mashed ripe bananas.
- Slowly alternate adding the dry ingredients and 3 Tablespoons sour milk* in three separate additions, beginning and ending with dry ingredients and stirring only until combined after each addition.
- Fold in 1/2 cup chopped nuts,; pour into prepared pan. Bake @ 350°F for 1 hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean in top of loaf.
- Allow to cool in pan 10-15 minutes before removing loaf from pan and allowing to cool in a wire rack until cooled completely. Slice loaf when cool.
To toast nuts: spread chopped nuts on an ungreased sheet pan and bake at 350°F degrees for 6-8 minutes. Cool and store if not using right away.
- To make your own sour milk: add 1/4 teaspoon of white vinegar to the 3 tablespoons of milk
- Do not overmix the batter
- Store in airtight container for up to 72 hours
- Bread freezes well sealed in an airtight container for up to 3 months