yield: one 9x5-inch loaf
fairlife 2% ultra-filtered milk gives this banana bread a light, moist, crumb, and a perfectly browned crust, making it far from ordinary. The extra protein in room-temperature fairlife ultra-filtered milk allows the butter, eggs, and sugar to incorporate more smoothly, helps the bread dough better hold its shape, and creates an especially tender center. A hint of espresso and well-ripened bananas help to add even more richness of flavor to this classic quick bread.
1/2 cup raw shelled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
2 teaspoons packed light or dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons poppy seeds
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing pan
1 2/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
1 1/2 cups mashed very ripe bananas (about 3 medium or 2 large)
1/4 cup fairlife 2% ultra-filtered milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 teaspoons instant espresso powder (regular or decaf)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon packed light or dark brown sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
For Streusel Topping: Preheat oven to 350ºF with rack in middle. Spread pepitas on a baking sheet and bake until lightly toasted, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool, then coarsely chop. In a bowl, mix cooled pepitas with sugar, poppy seeds and salt, until sugar is incorporated. Stir in butter. Set aside. (Leave oven on.)
For Banana Bread: Grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan with butter and dust with flour, tapping out any excess.
Stir together bananas, fairlife ultra-filtered milk and vanilla in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, espresso, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium speed in another large bowl until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add egg and beat until combined. Add banana mixture and beat until combined. Add dry ingredients in 2 additions, beating on low after each addition and scraping down sides of bowl as necessary until fully incorporated. Transfer batter to prepared pan and smooth top with spatula. Sprinkle with streusel topping.
Bake, rotating once halfway through, until sides are starting to pull away from pan, and a tester inserted into center of bread comes out clean, 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes. Cool in pan on a wire rack, 15 minutes. Run a butter knife around edges of loaf, then carefully invert onto a plate (some streusel will fall off; you can sprinkle it back on). Invert back onto wire rack and let cool completely before slicing.
Note: To quickly ripen bananas before baking, bake them unpeeled on a baking sheet, at 250ºF, until soft, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool before peeling.