26 September 2023

Caramelized Banana Bread

Start the conversation

By Christine Salins.


I’ve long thought of breadmaking as something very therapeutic and I think many people also consider it so. It was particularly obvious during the Covid lockdowns when people got into baking in a big way. The quest to perfect sourdough got a lot of coverage in the press and on social media during that time.

Just how therapeutic baking can be is very evident in Breadsong, by Kitty and Al Tait (Bloomsbury, $39.99). Back in 2018 when Kitty was still a 14-year-old school student, she was so ill with depression and anxiety, she couldn’t leave the family home in Oxfordshire, England.

Kitty’s dad, Al, barely remembers the first time he baked bread with her – at his wit’s end, he had tried everything that might help. Baking bread was just another thing he did to try to distract her.

But something changed in that moment and Kitty became obsessed. Before long, she was making loaves for half their village of Watlington, chronicling her efforts on Instagram @kittytaitbaker

Al, who worked at Oxford University, soon realized he was a baker and no longer a teacher. Within two years, their Orange Bakery business grew from a small subscription service to pop ups to a shop where queues regularly snake down the street.

Along the way, Kitty got over her depression and developed an amazing repertoire of recipes that she presents in Breadsong along with her and Al’s stories.

From the most original flavoured sourdough (miso and sesame, fig and walnut) to huge piles of cinnamon buns, cheese swirls, and tahini brownies, she delights in sharing her favourite recipes.

There’s a Comfort loaf made with Marmite, Happy Bread covered with salted caramel, and doughnuts with an ever-changing filling to keep the bakery queue happy.

There are Scandinavian-style sticky fika buns with mix-and-match fillings such as cardamom and orange, and the ultimate brown butter and choc chip cookies with a perfect combination of gooey centre and crispy edges.

The Caramelized Banana Bread here is a recipe that Kitty developed in a bid to ‘jazz up’ the banana bread that she always found to be quite dull. The effect of adding caramelized bananas is, in Kitty’s words, mesmerising.

This week’s column is the 700th recipe in PS News. After last week’s column about Yiayia Next Door, it’s lovely to be sharing another heartwarming tale about good coming out of adversity. After a challenging couple of years for people everywhere, Kitty and Al’s story about the redemptive power of baking is the perfect way to mark 700 weeks of writing about the joys of sharing a table.

Caramelized Banana Bread

Makes 1 loaf / 10 slices

140g soft unsalted butter

demerara sugar, for coating the loaf tin

150g plain flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

150g soft light brown sugar

1 tablespoon honey

2 eggs

300g (approximately 2 large) very ripe bananas, peeled and mashed

nuts (optional)

choc chips (optional)

For the Caramelised Banana Slices:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup

2 ripe bananas, peeled and sliced

  1. First, make the batter. In a saucepan over a medium heat, melt the butter. Once melted, keep stirring the butter until it turns golden brown and gives off a nutty, caramelised aroma. Set aside the brown butter for 30 minutes to cool.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4. Lightly grease a 950g loaf tin with butter and coat the sides in a little demerara sugar.
  3. Sift the flour into a mixing bowl with the baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  4. Pour the brown butter into a large mixing bowl, add the sugar, honey and eggs and then whisk together until pale and frothy using a handheld electric mixer. Using a metal spoon or silicone spatula, gently fold in the dry ingredients and mashed banana. At this point, fold in any nuts and chocolate, if using.
  5. Next, make the caramelised banana slices. In a saucepan over a medium heat, melt the butter. Once it starts to turn a caramel colour and smells nutty and sweet, add the honey or maple syrup. Turn the heat down to low, add the banana slices and gently stir for 2 to 3 minutes, taking care not to break up the slices. Set the caramelised banana slices aside to cool a little.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared tin, then cover the top with two-thirds of the caramelised banana slices. Bake for 50 minutes or until golden and risen on top – a wooden skewer or toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  7. Leave the banana bread to cool slightly in the tin on a wire rack for 20 minutes then ease the loaf carefully from your tin and leave to cool on the rack for another 10 minutes at least. Cut the loaf into slices and serve while still warm with the rest of the caramelised bananas spooned over the top.


Dark Chocolate and Peanut Butter: Add a handful of choc chips and a big dollop of peanut butter just after you’ve added the mashed banana.

From: Breadsong, by Kitty and Al Tait, published by Bloomsbury, $39.99.

Start the conversation

Be among the first to get all the Public Sector and Defence news and views that matter.

Subscribe now and receive the latest news, delivered free to your inbox.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.