Recipe: Really Good Banana Bread (gluten-free, dairy-free, cane sugar-free, xanthan gum-free)

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One evening last week I dropped by my friend B's house. I found my barefoot and pregnant friend the kitchen, whipping up a loaf of banana bread adapted from the Joy of Cooking. She was substituting gluten-free flours and honey for wheat flour and sugar, and success seemed inevitable - the Joy of Cooking is so reliable and B is a fantastic baker. I had high hopes for this loaf and marveled at my excellently timed visit. As it baked, the house filled with the intoxicating smell of honey and banana and my quick bread-loving heart swooned.  

Finally, the timer beeped and B removed the loaf from the oven. Oh my, was it gorgeous! We could hardly wait for it to cool and sunk a knife into its golden, crisp crust. The bread had light and lofty crumb, and our first taste revealed a marvelously sweet and nutty flavor. Even her banana-leery husband devoured it. We polished off half the loaf, and they finished it the next day.  

Since then, I have made the bread a few times and have landed on a reliable and inarguably delicious recipe. After it cools, the bread can be sliced very thin and it holds up well to being spread with butter or nut butter. And the best part? It stays moist for days, even when simply stored on the counter wrapped in parchment. While at a picnic this past weekend, my friend April's daughter ate three thick slices, using two of them to make a strawberry and butter sandwich. That's my kind of kid.

Eventually, I'd like to make a banana bread with no added sweetener other than stevia, as well as a banana bread that doesn't use eggs. But for now, this is my new go-to banana bread. I think you'll love it. 

This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesday at Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free.

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Really Good Banana Bread

yield 1 loaf | adapted from my friend B's adaptation of a recipe from the Joy of Cooking 

This recipe is largely sorghum flour-based, with a blend of tapioca starch for a crisp, brown crust, quinoa flakes for extra binding ability and fiber, and brown rice flour or millet flour for a nice crumb.  

I have tried this recipe using flax "eggs" instead of chicken eggs, and it was a failure - too heavy, gummy, and moist. Try substituting the eggs at your own risk.  I'll try to come up with a good egg-free version soon! 

  • 4 large ripe bananas
  • 2 large happy eggs
  • .3 cup liquid coconut oil
  • .5 cup agave nectar, honey, maple syrup, or brown rice syrup
  • 1 cup/120 grams sorghum flour
  • .25 cup/40 grams brown rice flour or .25 cup + 1 heaping Tablespoon/40 grams millet flour
  • .25 cup/30 grams tapioca starch or tapioca flour
  • .25 cup/25 grams quinoa flakes
  • 2.5 tsp/12 grams baking powder
  • .5 tsp/3 grams unrefined salt 
  • optional: 1 tsp/2 grams ground cinnamon

Heat oven to 350º F. Line an 8-inch x 4-inch bread pan (or similar size) with parchment or coat with coconut oil and dust with flour, and set aside. I prefer the parchment route, as a successful removal of the loaf from the pan is almost a guarantee. 

Peel bananas and break each banana into a few large chunks. Place in a food processor, pulse, then process until smooth. Then add eggs, oil, and sweetener and process until just combined. Then add remaining ingredients, pulse a few times, and process until fully combined.

Pour batter into prepared bread pan and bake for 1 hour, until bread is golden brown and toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool for about 5 minutes on a wire rack, then remove loaf from pan and allow to cool completely.

If you don't have a food processor, don't fret. Simply mash the banana as smoothly as you can in a large bowl, or blend until smooth in a blender. Then beat together with the eggs, sweetener, and oil until smooth and creamy. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients, then add to banana mixture and stir until combined. Bake as directed. Easy!