Those of you who have followed Sentient Baker for a while will know that I have a banana bread obsession. I’ve already totted up a few posts and articles dedicated to this humble beauty. Instagram and the ‘foodie internet’ is saturated with loaf after golden loaf of this stuff. It’s not new and, let’s be honest, it’s not exactly got the wow factor of a pastel-coloured macaron or a partially iced layer cake, but this doesn’t dent my dedication to baking and sharing my banana bread stories. I’m inspired, this time, by making a gluten free version since my diet calls for it.
When I started researching I was dismayed to find that as soon as you stray into the world of gluten free it either becomes very complicated (xanthan gum, tapioca starch, potato flour, rice flour, arrowroot…) or very ‘earthy’ (chia seeds, flax ‘eggs’, coconut oil). Now, don’t get me wrong, all of these methods have their merits and will work for somebody, but I just want something simple. When I vowed to reduce gluten in my diet I was determined to keep it straightforward and to keep my cupboards free of endless bizarre ingredients. I have relied heavily on oats for my adaptations, particularly by blending them into a fine flour. I use this ‘oat flour’ In my favourite pancake recipe and, every time I cook them up, I’m impressed by how well they work. I am also reliant on buckwheat flour, which I find still has echoes of the ‘fluffiness’ of wheat flour, even if it has a slightly sour, woody notes. I find buckwheat needs strong spices or cocoa to mask its subtle, sometimes undesirable, tones.
This recipe is fairly traditional in that it uses eggs, sugar and dairy products (so not vegan friendly, I’m afraid) but is completely gluten free. The wonderful thing is that the texture remains fluffy yet moist, with no ‘grittiness’. Banana bread is a great recipe to work into a gluten free version since it contains plenty of liquids and moisture from the bananas and fats. My trick with this loaf was to line the base of the loaf tin with thick coins of sliced banana, I believe this adds extra ‘fudginess’ to each slice. Alongside a hearty loaf I have also trialled this recipe into Almond Butter Banana Muffins. These are no great feat since it’s exactly the same batter only this time it’s pooled into muffin cases with a spoonful of almond butter, a smattering of oats and a couple of sliced banana pieces. It’s banana bread for those who like their cake dainty, round and coffee-shop-pretty.
Note: you will need a food processor or blender for the oats. If you don’t have one you will need to purchase pre-blended oat flour.
Oat and Buckwheat Banana Bread
(Makes 1 loaf in a 25cm tin)
125ml sunflower oil
120g light brown sugar
2 beaten eggs
115g buckwheat flour
3 tbsp. Greek yogurt*
1/2tsp baking soda
1tsp baking powder
1tsp ground ginger
1tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 ripe bananas
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/ 160°C Fan/ Gas Mark 4 and line a 25cm loaf tin with baking parchment
- Add the oats, buckwheat flour, salt, bicarb, baking powder and spices to a blender or food processor and blitz into a fine flour
- Add the sugar, yogurt, oil, vanilla and two of the bananas to a large bowl and whisk together vigorously, until pale and creamy.
- Add one egg to the wet ingredients along with a large spoonful of the flour mix.
- Repeat with the second egg.
- Add the rest of the flour mix and combine ingredients thoroughly.
- Slice the remaining banana into thick coins and use them to line the base of the loaf tin**
- Pour batter into the prepared loaf tin and bake for 1 hour or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
- Allow to cool in the tin before removing.
*I used a lactose free Greek yogurt but you could just as easily use coconut yogurt or soya yogurt.
** Make sure the banana coin bottom is just one layer thick so the batter can bake around it.
Almond Butter Banana Muffins
(Makes 12 muffins)
1 batch Oat and Buckwheat Banana Bread batter (as above)
¾ cup almond butter (you could just as easily use any other type of nut butter)
1 banana (cut into coins)
- Preheat oven to 180°C/ 160°C Fan/ Gas Mark 4 and line a muffin tin with cases
- Follow instructions 2-6 in Oat and Buckwheat Banana Bread recipe (as above)
- Pour batter evenly into cases.
- Place 1 tsp of almond butter into each case, pushing down until it is mostly concealed by batter.
- Sprinkle each muffin with a few oats and top with one or two banana coins.
- Bake for 20-25 mins.
- Eat warm with a drizzle of maple syrup or allow to cool and store until needed. They should keep for 2-3 days in an airtight tin.