Karly Krasnow / Sun Staff Photographer

September 21, 2016

Go Bananas for Gluten-Free Bread

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Never fear, glutards. Gluten intolerance does not have to put a damper on your life and it most certainly does not have to stop you from eating some of the world’s best banana bread.

Karly Krasnow / Sun Staff Photographer

Karly Krasnow / Sun Staff Photographer

Banana bread may very well be the best of all the quick breads. Not only does the addition of bananas make the bread extra moist, but it also gives the bread a fantastic sweetness that is the result of natural sugar, rather than added sugar. Dana, the woman behind Minimalist Baker, developed a fantastic recipe for gluten-free banana bread. Tasting just as good — if not better — than regular banana bread, this bread is super easy and requires only one bowl. Although gluten-free flour blends can sometimes be finicky, this recipe is very forgiving. You can even use whole wheat or regular all-purpose flour if you don’t need the bread to be gluten-free. The best thing about Dana’s bread is that, unlike lots of gluten-free products, it is actually super satisfying and hearty. To be perfectly honest, this banana bread may have literally popped up in a dream or two of mine.

A couple of tips to help you make the best banana bread ever:

For best results, use very ripe bananas. Typically, if you put bananas that are not yet ripe in a brown paper bag for a couple of hours or overnight, they will become very ripe.

The riper the bananas are, the less added sweetener you will need, so keep that in mind when adding the sugar and honey. I’ve found that is definitely is not necessary to add all of the sugar Dana recommends; I’ve made a tasty bread with only half of the sweeteners she calls for.

Depending on your preferences, you can substitute maple syrup or agave for honey. They will all produce a fairly similar taste and texture, although maple syrup tends to have a stronger, more present flavor. I’ve had success using coconut sugar, which has a lower glycemic index, in place of cane sugar.

Karly Krasnow / Sun Staff Photographer

Karly Krasnow / Sun Staff Photographer

If you’re looking to make a low-fat bread, you can substitute egg white for the whole egg and use three tablespoons of applesauce in place of the oil. This will produce a slightly more gummy bread, but it’s still extremely enjoyable. The addition of the applesauce will also add sweetness, meaning that don’t have to add as much sugar to produce the same result.

Using dairy over non-dairy milk and vice versa will not have any noticeable effects on the bread, so feel free to use any type of milk.

One Bowl Gluten-Free Banana Bread
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
Serves: 10 (Although in my experience, it’s hard to have it serve more than three because no one can stop eating it!)

3 medium ripe bananas (~1.5 cups or 337 g)
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 egg (or 1 chia or flax egg)
3 tablespoons grapeseed or coconut oil, melted
¼ cup organic cane sugar
¼ cup packed organic brown sugar
2-3 tablespoons honey, depending on ripeness of bananas
3 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoons sea salt
½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
¾ cup unsweetened almond milk or dairy milk
1 ¼ cup almond meal
1 ¼ cup gluten-free flour blend
1 ¼ cup gluten-free oats

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper or spray with nonstick spray.
2. Mash banana in a large bowl. Add all ingredients through almond milk and whisk vigorously to combine. Last add almond meal, gluten-free flour blend and oats and stir.
3. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes. When ready, it should feel firm and be crackly and golden brown on top.
4. Let cool completely before cutting or it will be too tender to hold form.
5. Serve with butter and honey or as is. Store leftovers in a covered container for up to a few days. Slice and freeze for longer-term storage.

Other possible variations:
Add in chocolate chips for an extra sweet and decadent bread.
Use the bread to make the best peanut butter and jelly you’ll ever have. Topping it with nutella also makes for a fantastic treat.