Wheat-free Banana Bread


And we’re off on a rant…

Gluten-free baked goods are too often loaded with high-glycemic flours such as white rice, tapioca and potato. And the proliferation of all the sweet GF products I see in the store has me seriously worried about everyone’s blood sugar. Now I’ll admit, in the past, I’ve posted recipes so desperate to be a facsimile of their wheat-loaded cousins I put whatever it took in there to get it right. But… I can’t do it anymore.

So, long way around, I was taking care of someone who can’t eat wheat for reasons other than celiac disease, and instructed to come up with something using almond flour. So here we are. I have to say, when I saw this baking in the oven I thought, “Well, there’s another baked brick in the trash…” But it was really good. It is a mildly sweet bread with a light banana flavor. The bananas have to be really ripe. Gross ripe. Ready to throw them in the compost ripe. Almost liquid. Or you won’t get the flavor you need in a bread with no added sugar. You can add a bit more sweetness with a few tablespoons of coconut palm sugar, or dress it up with a handful of toasted walnuts or pecans.

And, yes, I know, it has a whole stick of butter… Baby steps.

1 stick (113g) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon (5ml)  vanilla
Pinch salt
2 cups (480ml) almond meal or almond flour*
1 teaspoon (5ml) baking powder
3 very ripe bananas–they should be completely brown, soft and slightly liquid–mashed
2 Tbsp. (30ml) flax meal or nut meal, plus more for sprinkling
*Almond meal is ground with the skins on and tends to be cheaper.

Grease a loaf pan and line with a strip of parchment paper the width of the bottom and long enough to stretch up the sides to the top of the pan. The bread doesn’t rise that much. I prefer to use a glass baking dish because I can see the progress of the bread more clearly. When the sides are brown you know it’s done.

Preheat the oven to 350F/175C degrees.

Whip the butter until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, vanilla, salt and baking powder and beat until fully incorporated. Add the bananas and beat until full incorporated. Add the almond meal or flour and flax or nut meal and mix until combined.

You could also use a blender. Add everything but the almond flour and flax meal and blend until the mixture is light and voluminous. Then scrape into a bowl and stir in the almond flour and flax meal.

Add the batter to the pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle the top of the batter with the extra flax or nut meal.

Bake the bread until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out fairly clean. There should be a few moist crumbs stuck to it. About 35-45 minutes.

Let the bread cool in the pan for about 15 minutes. Run a knife around the sides. Lift out with the parchment paper handle. Let it cool completely before serving. The flavor is better room temperature.