This Mother’s Day, remembering my mom and all of the baking we did together, I decided to overhaul her 1950’s recipe for banana bread. Out with the white flour, refined white sugar and nasty partially hydrogenated fat. In with gluten-free flours, coconut sugar and coconut oil. What a difference 50 years makes. This is the best banana bread I have ever made!
1950’s Banana Bread Made New
Mom’s original recipe used granulated white sugar, Crisco, and standard issue all-purpose white flour. This was the way to bake in the 1950’s, no questions asked. How things have changed. We know now how unhealthy those ingredients are. So how to save an old favorite recipe? Here’s how.
I’ve been experimenting with ready-mixed gluten-free flour blends for the last several years but had not taken the leap into blending my own. That changed this weekend.
Thanks to a recent cooking class by Shauna Ahern, the Gluten-Free Girl, and Dr. Jean Layton’s book, Gluten-Free Baking for Dummies, I felt empowered to take the leap. It was easy and the results were the best!
If you only bake gluten-free on occasion or are new to gluten-free baking, ready-made blends from Bobs Red Mill and Cup4Cup work nicely and are handy to have in the pantry. If you live a gluten-free life, I encourage you take the next step.
Today there is an amazing array of gluten-free flours available. You’ll find flours made from rice, seeds and cereal grains, nuts, even beans and legumes. To create flour blends, you mix them with a starch, which provide structure, support and a tender texture.
If the sound of these “exotic” flours throws you, start with one of the pre-made blends from Bob’s Red Mill or Cup4Cup. When you get committed to gluten-free baking, pick up the individual flours to make this bread.
The Best Banana Bread
Testing recipes, I baked my banana bread three ways. First with Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All-Purpose Baking Flour and the second with gluten-free Cup4Cup. Both loaves came out nicely with great flavor and texture. Then I decided to put learning into action and create my own gluten-free flour blend with Bob’s Red Mill flours.
By blending teff flour, sweet rice flour, brown rice flour and sorghum flour with cornstarch, I created a terrific flour blend for my new gluten-free banana bread recipe. This loaf has a rich brown, almost chocolaty color, a tender crust, slices nicely and tastes fantastic. We do not have a photo of this version yet (but will add one next time I bake). The main photo was made with a pre-made blend. Note – When buying cornstarch, choose an aluminum-free, non-GMO brand such as Bob’s Red Mill or Rumford.
Digital kitchen scale – You will need a digital kitchen scale to weight your ingredients. Weighing ingredients is far more accurate. It is also needed when you are working with gluten-free flours because they all have different weights. Measuring by volume (cups and tablespoons) will not produce the same results.
Pan – I use a light silver colored, uncoated, heavyweight aluminized steel loaf pan. The one I use is made by Chicago Metallic and measures approximately 10″ x 5″ (24 cm x 11 cm). If your pan is a different size, you may need to adjust your baking time.
Beyond Flour – Other Updates
I switched out Crisco for unrefined coconut oil and used organic coconut palm sugar (from Wholesome Sweeteners) instead of refined white sugar. While chopped walnuts were in the original recipe, I added unsweetened coconut flakes for more coconut flavor.
At the class by Shauna and Danny Ahern, they said once you start baking and cooking with gluten-free flours, you will see how much more interesting it is. I already know that is true and can’t wait to play around more. More recipes to come!
The Best Banana Bread (Gluten-Free)
You’ll need a digital kitchen scale to weigh your ingredients in grams for accuracy. See notes below for weights on Bob’s Red Mill and Cup4Cup pre-made blends.
Yield: 1 loaf
- 66 grams of cornstarch (aluminum-free and non-GMO)
- 25 grams sweet rice flour
- 25 grams brown rice flour
- 50 grams sorghum flour
- 53 grams teff flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (or guar gum)
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 3 medium very ripe bananas (16 ounces/454 grams with skin on)
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1/2 cup (224 grams) unrefined organic coconut oil
- 1 cup (128 grams)of organic coconut palm sugar (Wholesome Sweeteners)
- 1/2 cup (71 grams) chopped walnuts
- 1/4 cup (22 grams) unsweetened flaked coconut (the fluffy dry kind)
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees (177 C). Using a paper towel, grease a light colored metal baking pan, approximately 5 1/2″ x 10 1/2″ (14×27 cm) with coconut oil.
- Using a digital kitchen scale and a medium bowl, weigh all of the dry ingredients together, cornstarch through salt, and whisk to blend. Set aside
- In a medium bowl, mash the skinned bananas together with the eggs, coconut oil and sugar until smooth. Alternatively, place in the bowl of a food processor and briefly puree together.
- Mix the dry and wet ingredients together, then stir in the nuts and coconut.
- Pour into the prepared pan and bake for approximately 50 minutes. The top will feel firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center will come out clean with just a few moist crumbs.
- Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 15-20 minutes. Run a long thin slicing knife between the pan and bread to loosen it, then turn the bread out on the rack to cool completely before slicing. Freeze what you don’t eat within a couple days.
Notes for using ready-mixed gluten-free blended flours
For Bob’s Red Mill, I used 256 grams ( 1 3/4 cups or 9 ounces). For the Cup4cup, I used 278 grams ( 1 3/4 cups or 9 3/4 ounces).
I highly recommend the book Gluten-Free Baking for Dummies by Dr. Jean Layton and Linda Larsen. If you like to bake and are gluten-free, this book is a fantastic resource in learning about GF baking and flours. I have not tried their recipes yet as I am doing my own experimenting and recipe development, but I’m sure they are great.
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