The Best Banana Bread Has a Dirty Secret…

How can something that looks so delicious be lacking in one of the most vital baking ingredients ever?

It doesn’t contain any wheat.

I’m not going to write out a long story or metaphor or analogy or parable as to how I came to this recipe, or why.  If you want to know why I’m off wheat, check out my previous post.

This recipe is mostly my own.  It’s an amalgam of many different recipes I’ve tried over the years, and includes a few of my own substitutions and ideas.  By my account and those of friends and family, this recipe produces a moist, rounded, and sophisticated banana bread that, while delicate, can hold up to a variety of spreads or accompaniments without being overshadowed.

This recipe is extremely healthy, containing very little fat and a ton of protein, and is perfect as part of a gluten- or wheat-free diet, or for those trying to limit calories.  It is also great as post workout snack, acting as a good source of both complex and simple carbs, and muscle-repairing protein.

I’ve made this bread every weekend since creating this recipe.  This is a great way to use up bananas that have gone past the point where you’d eat them, but haven’t yet rotted, and I actually buy a bunch of bananas at the beginning of the week, and let them ripen until the following weekend, to the point where they are completely brown and soft, just to be able to make this.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 tbs. (.5 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 large bananas (ripe to the point of nearly rotting)
  • 1 cup (about six oz.) plain or vanilla greek yoghurt, fat-free
  • .5 tsp. vanilla extract or liquer
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • .75 tsp. salt
  • .5 tsp. baking soda
  • .25 tsp. baking powder
  • .5 tsp. cinnamon
  • .25 tsp. nutmeg
  • Additional ingredients, such as chocolate, walnuts, or dried cranberries to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  On a metal baking sheet lined with tin foil, evenly space the bananas, still in their skins.  Place in the oven, and roast until the skins are nearly black and the bananas are leaking fluid, 15-30 minutes (depending on how ripe they were).  Remove from oven, and allow to cool for 3 minutes.
  2. Turn the oven down to 350 degrees F.
  3. In a metal bowl, mix the butter, eggs, yoghurt, vanilla or liquer, and sugar.  Add the bananas and the juice that leaked from them during baking.  Mash roughly with a fork.  The more you aggravate them, the smaller the pieces of banana in the final bread will be.  However, you don’t want pieces any larger than a dime, or it won’t cook properly.
  4. In a separate metal bowl, mix the brown rice flour, almond meal, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  5. Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients (about .25 of the total mixture at a time).  Mix gently only until each addition has been barely incorporated.  The final dough should be thick and viscous, holding gentle peaks when the spoon/spatula is removed, but no definite shape.
  6. Add any additional ingredients to the dough, cutting them in until barely incorporated.
  7. Using a rubber spatula, feed the dough into a greased metal loaf pan until 2/3 to 3/4 full.
  8. Bake until the top is golden brown and has fissured, when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out just barely wet, with definable crumbs on it, about 45 minutes for small loaf tins and 70 minutes for large loaf tins.
  9. Allow to cool for at least five minutes.  To remove from tin, turn over and gently shake over a plate.
Discounting the baking times (for the bananas and the bread itself) all of this should take about ten minutes.
General Tips
  • To easily remove the roasted bananas from their skins, make a slit down one side with a knife, and press gently on one end.  The bananas should be soft enough that they “slither” out on their own.
  • If you are one of the many people who enjoys banana bread but not bananas, skip adding the juice from the roasted bananas to the wet ingredients, and mash the bananas fully.  This creates a more delicate, airy banana flavor, in opposition to the round, buttery banana flavor of the bread produced by following the instructions exactly.
  • If you are going to add nuts, don’t bother toasting them.  I’ve found it makes absolutely no difference in the finished bread, and just adds to the time required, and the cleanup.
  • If you are going to add chocolate, I find it bakes more evenly if you sprinkle it on top rather than mix it in with the dough.
  • Baking time may vary greatly, and is harder to judge than for other breads, as unless you severely overcook it, this bread will not dry out.  The good fats in the almond meal and the addition of a dense, creamy yoghurt ensure this.  A toothpick inserted into the center will not come out dry when this bread is ready, but should not be dripping wet.  Rather, it should be barely damp and only come out with a few tiny globule-like crumbs, not a slick of uncooked dough.
  • To grease the tins easily, use a spray canola oil.  There is also no need to flour the tins if they are greased well; for this recipe, flouring the tins will only produce a thick, white skin around the finished bread, the taste of which strongly detracts from the subtleties of the bread.
  • To store, cover the bread loosely with tin foil, and will keep for about two weeks.  The bread may also be frozen if wrapped in tin foil and sealed inside a ziplock, and brought back by defrosting first in the refrigerator, then at room temperature.
  • The bread is good warm or cold, and may be toasted lightly if so desired.

Note: Detailed calorie and nutrition info will be added within the next week.

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  1. #1 by artemisraluca on August 13, 2011 - 05:43

    yummy :D

  2. #2 by Rob Thomas on September 23, 2011 - 18:22

    Looks really good, only problem is I am currently on a diet that does not include many of the above ingridients. Maybe someday tho. It really does look good tho.

  3. #3 by Janessa on October 3, 2011 - 01:18

    I love to bake and I have everything you’ve listed but the special flours. Merr, I’ll get them though just to make this. But now that fall has arrived, I’m into pumpkin bread. :D

  4. #4 by Rae // theNotice on October 10, 2011 - 15:46

    This sounds fantastic, Sam! I’ve been looking for a new banana bread recipe since going gluten-free a year or two ago, so I’ll have to give this one a try. (Despite having tried, like, five new recipes, I still haven’t found the perfect one. Crossing my fingers for your recipe & hoping it works out!)

  5. #5 by Mae on March 11, 2013 - 12:00

    If i take calcium mineral, zinc, magnesium (mg) tablet for migraines will it interfere with my personal birth control tablet?

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