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The World Doesn’t Need Another Banana Bread Recipe

Vegan Banana Bread with a generous spread of Almond Butter — Yummmmm…!

What we need is for more people to stop ogling at Banana Bread pictures, get in the damn kitchen and go make banana bread for a change! Imagine the number of happier, more fulfilled people if that were the case. Yes, we don’t need more ‘Best Banana Bread’ recipes, we just need to get started somewhere, keep calm and bake, bake, bake, formulating our own meaningful variations, at the same time sharing them with friends and co-workers. Time to unleash that inner baketivist!

Maybe the reason I say this so confidently is because I think I’m finally getting somewhere with my own version. Previous attempts had proven too heavy, sticky, or reeked too strong of baking soda. It’s the second time using this vegan recipe I’d found for Marbled Banana Bread (which was in turn inspired by the one on ppk — the joy of sharing!) and made significant changes, which I’m glad turned out for the better this time. They say baking is a science (indeed it is) so I’ve been meticulous with noting the changes as well as exact propotions. Having said that, my experimentalist nature probably means every round of banana bread is going to be pretty much different till I’ve found out about everything that works and doesn’t work. But for the moment, I know what I can fall back on, especially if I need to convince some banana bread addicts the vegan version tastes better (and are healthier!). Psssst, don’t copy mine, you’d be much happier developing one your own!

Vegan Banana Bread (Customise Your Own!)

  • 1 cup atta flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose/plain flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 4 normal sized dates (not Medjool)
  • 1 cup mashed banana (1 med banana or 2 small bananas = 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground flaxseed
  • 3T to 1/4 cup oil (use 1T EVOO and top up with a flavorless oil)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar

Mix first 6 (dry) ingredients in one bowl. Run a whisk through to remove lumps. Mix last 5 (wet) ingredients in another bowl. Then pour wet ingredients into dry and mix with a whisk until just combined. Mixture will be very thick and gloopy (like thicker than drop scone batter) but resist adding any liquid. Pour into a greased or parchment lined pan. Sprinkle rolled oats over the top, then bake at 170 degreesC, 50 minutes.

 

Notes:

Flour
* I used atta flour rather than whole wheat, the difference being that atta lacks the bran portion, making it a more nutritious alternative to white flour and more easily digestible alternative to whole wheat flour. It was also of a very fine ground which is what, I think, made this attempt lighter, fluffier and softer than my previous attempts which used larger amounts of oat and buckwheat flour to make up for nutritional content. I would have preferred a heartier bread so will definitely experiment with rolled oats in the batter next time.

* I actually mixed in some besan flour in place of AP flour for the fun of it and thankfully no disaster came out of that. Might be a bit more bold and incorporate more gluten-free flour in place of that AP flour next time since atta flour seems to impart lightness already.

Baking Soda & Vinegar
* This loaf rose really well (read: literally exploded) which I suspect was also due to the 2 tsp apple cider vinegar I added, which reacted with the baking soda providing more lift. There was no discernible baking soda taste nor vinegar so 1 T vinegar:1 tsp BS seems  to be the perfect ratio. Since banana bread is supposed to have a slight BS taste I will scale back and use 1 1/2tsp vinegar and see how it goes next time.

Sugar
* I actually didn’t use 1/2 cup brown sugar exclusively, using about 1T organic cane sugar in place of some. This bread actually turned out quite sweet for my tastebuds so am thinking of trying 1/4 c organic cane sugar and 1-2T molasses for flavor.

Fillings
* Adding walnuts would have made this more decadent. The dates were not needed this time since the bread was already sweet, but will continue with them if I take the 1/4c cane sugar + 1-2T molasses route.

Oil
* I found the original proportion of 2T to produce a loaf that isn’t as moist as I would have liked. I used 3T this time but would like to try replacing some of the oil with tahini for a banana-nut tasting version. Wonder whether that would work out?

Salt
* I added 1/2 tsp this time and realise it does need the full 3/4 tsp given its sweetness. However, not so sure if that would work if I cut the sugar? Still need to experiment with that…

Flavorings
* I’m glad to be able to rid myself of artificial flavors and not feel they were missing. The 3/4 tsp cinnamon was great in place of the vanilla, though I suspect I could’ve used more, say 1 tsp.

Liquids
* I’ve come to feel that adding non-dairy milks to baked goods simply takes away the intensity of the original flavors, so replaced it with water and it worked perfectly. No need to run out and buy non-dairy milk for this!

Binders
* I added the ground flax since I had some and it boosts the nutritional value but I suspect you could easily do without. Though I find this attempt seemed to turn out less crumbly?? Might add up to 2 tsp next time just to test the limits..

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