fabulous breakfast bread and how to make it (gluten – free!)

fabulous breakfast bread and how to make it (gluten – free!)

Many of you have been asking about this bread for quite some time, and I really want to share the recipe with you…
but I have to be honest …

This recipe is … well, somewhat improvised. EVERY. TIME.

I grew up eating baked goods. There was always bread for sandwiches (my parents even had one of those bread maker machines for a while), rolls with dinner, holiday quick-breads, sticky-buns and cinnamon rolls as treats, and let’s not forget all the chocolate chip cookies and brownies (and breakfast German pancakes which I now make with this gluten-free recipe). I think my favorite thing as I’ve grown into an adult was the smell of something baking in the oven, and the warmth of the oven heating the house (or the tiny 1900 era freezing apartment I lived in throughout my corporate career years). I find myself now in a place where I can say I am, somewhat, a “seasoned baker.” I know what I enjoy adding to my quick-breads, and understand what the batter should look like when complete and ready to bake.

And to be perfectly honest, I enjoy experimenting!
There’s something to be said for opening up the cupboards to see what you have to work with and improvising after you’ve decided on your basics. We have a persimmon tree at our house which produces plenty fruit … for a few households. We’re looking forward to many persimmon-based breads (rather than banana) in the future!

Why I call it “Breakfast Bread”:

This bread is what I now consider my “classic” quick-bread.
Yes, it uses fruit, eggs, butter, dense (protein-rich) flour, some added nuts, but there is
NO ADDED SUGAR.

So, obviously, this means you can eat it for breakfast! Right?

Are you ready to go on a baking adventure with me?

Trust me, you can do this, too!

Here are the Basic Ingredients (these I do not change):

  • 3 medium size bananas (or add equivalent zucchini for up to 2 bananas – you will want at least 1 banana for sweetness)

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 stick (1/2 Cup) salted butter (melted) And yes, I always use salted butter. I like it better. You are welcome to use unsalted if you wish

And that’s the beginning! So here’s how you pull these together:

  • Mash the bananas in a large bowl until kinda liquidy

  • Add two eggs and mix well

  • Pour in the melted butter while stirring (you don’t want your butter to be too hot because it may start cooking the eggs! I usually let mine cool a little before adding to the batter).

Next, we get to play with the variable ingredients.

First, I love to add (unsweetened) coconut.

I am not sure why (ha!), but I love this delicious nut-meat; the way it gets toasty where it sticks out of the bread is such a pleasant taste and aesthetic, this is the first add-in for my bread (or muffins) every time. As for quantity? I go with my gut. It’s not an essential ingredient, but I like it to take up some space. Good added fat with these little white flakes.

Topping the bread or muffins with coconut just before they go into the oven is a nice finishing touch!

Next, I add chia seeds. Why chia, you ask?

 These little seeds absorb a ton of moisture. And they’re good for you! They are highly complex food which offer a ton of energy and health benefits such as omega-3’s, carbohydrates, fiber, protein, a decent helping of good fats, and vitamins and minerals. They’re easily digestible, and perfect for breakfast. Again, no specific measurement, but enough to darken the batter a bit (start small – if you add too many chia seeds, your batter may become VERY thick. Try a tablespoon or two and add as you gain experience and become used to your batter texture).

 

When the ingredients are all mixed together, your batter will look golden

with pretty evenly spaced white and black spots (of coconut and chia).

Bananas, eggs, and butter do not make a very thick base, so next, we add the thickeners.

I am a HUGE Fan of Oats (and gluten-free Oat flour, as you may have learned from my other gluten free recipes) – lots of fiber and protein from these flakes of goodness and they sure do add some heft to keep you feeling full after that one muffin you grab as you run out the door to start your day.

I add enough oats to, again, absorb more moisture and a little tapioca flour to lighten the texture of the batter just a little.

Last flour ingredient is the oat flour itself. The batter should feel almost complete – like any banana bread you’ve made before.

 

The last steps:

  • Spices: Cinnamon, Nutmeg, and ginger (as you please)

  • Salt (dash)

  • The chemical reaction necessities: 1 Tbsp. Bragg Organic Vinegar and 1 tsp. Baking Soda

The last time I made muffins, I added apple, pecans, and candied ginger (the only bit with real sugar added… and honestly, candied ginger goes into every loaf or muffin. It’s that good). Once you add the last ingredients, stir till combined, and bake in either your muffin tins or bread pan at 350 degrees until done. Muffins take about 25 minutes, and bread will take longer, 45-60 minutes depending on how much moisture is in your batter. (The apples make the baking time quite a bit longer).

Top with oats or coconut or pecans (or walnuts if that is your preference) and enjoy with yogurt or simply butter a slice and enjoy with your morning coffee or tea. We now make muffins out of this recipe, and my fiancé takes one to work everyday as a lunch addition (and it usually becomes a mid-morning snack).

This has become a weekly staple in my home, and I hope you enjoy creating your own special breakfast loaf as much as I have over the last couple years.

Much love!
Alaina

fueling up with an Age-Old Favorite: Banana Bread

fueling up with an Age-Old Favorite: Banana Bread

My childhood was full of delicious, gooey-topped sweetly satisfying banana bread. In college, I became an avid baker (of sweet treats), and banana bread was my go-to. Any night I needed a “fix” or some tasty treat (which I frequently called breakfast…) this familiar quick-bread was there to keep me moving while running around like… well, college student chasing good grades, too many extra-curriculars, and a part-time job. 

Baking has become a favorite past-time, and is equally as helpful as the thing that allows the stress to melt out of my body at the end of a too-long, stressful day. As much as running has become my moving meditation, this too, is another form of meditation: a mindful practice of creating a healthy meal at the end of day, so I can continue on to the next one with verve and vigor. I’ve developed quite a few dinner recipes that only require chopping, a pan, and a foil topper. I am not sure if I developed this practice out of wanting to heat up the various apartments I’ve lived in during winter, or because my baking sense seems to be better developed than my stove-top capabilities. Whatever the reason, I concentrate most of my time with items headed for my little Wedgewood oven. (Literally little – they didn’t make the baking space very large in the 50’s!)

When I learned that wheat was the culprit behind the physical pain I was experiencing, I was met with a huge challenge to overcome. 

I loved baking breads, cookies, and all the sweet things made with wheat. I was seriously disappointed about the change about to take place in my (food) life. I suspected at a younger age, that due to familial allergies to the grain I may also be impacted, but never dreamed that taking wheat out of my diet would lead me to feeling so much better. Connecting the physical discomfort I had been tolerating for years to gluten and wheat was upsetting, and at the same time, extremely liberating. I now know why I felt so uncomfortable after eating certain foods. This enlightening experience caused me to take a look at all the other foods I was eating that might be complicating my digestion. I started to pay more attention to the way I felt after eating. At a yearly check-up, I described my symptoms to my doctor, and was diagnosed with “Leaky Gut” which was an interesting experiment with diet. I immediately found a program to follow, and removed all sugar from my diet to allow my gut to heal. When I re-introduced sugar, a lot of my symptoms flared back up, and I felt extremely uncomfortable. 

Encouraged by my findings, I really began experimenting with myself and how different foods affected my body. I had already cut out wheat (and gluten-y grains), so why not try reducing, limiting, or even removing added sugar from recipes? Unsurprisingly, this task was not as easy as I hoped. Removing an item that starts out as a solid and then becomes a liquid while baking, and re-hardens when cooling changes recipes in a rather BIG way. 

But, as the adult who was once the child dipping carrot sticks in chocolate pudding of her middle-school cafeteria lunch (don’t knock it till you’ve tried it… the veggie crunch AND sweet chocolate were a very satisfying combo!), I would not be discouraged! Food experiments are my mo-jo!

My first banana bread experiment involved NO sugar, add one extra banana. Response from friends (taste testers whether they wanted to, or not) was something like this: “It doesn’t have much flavor.” So, I added TWO extra bananas (totaling five bananas and kind of reducing the effectiveness of my “less sugar” goal), and got this response: “Is it zucchini bread?” Obviously not! 

I had to test more variations…

To date, I have experimented with adding extra bananas, gave the recipe a shot with half the suggested amount of sugar (because people don’t like banana bread that is not sweet and I was starting to give up), gave maple syrup a go (and no), and finally landed on locally sourced, fresh from the farmer’s market, honey. The goal for me in creating this recipe is to make it gluten free (of course), and to reduce the quantity of sugar added to this bread, leaning toward a more natural sources.

Finally, success!

Well received by my co-workers, roommates, and anyone else I could get to eat some banana bread, this recipe (if not quite the sugar-laden version our grandmothers made for us) is acceptably tasty.

I love to share my creations with you.

So here is the recipe! I hope you enjoy this gluten free alternative recipe, and that it reminds you of childhood days at Grandma’s house, playing with the lincoln logs, and enjoying that fresh-baked Banana Bread goodness.  

Banana Bread – Gluten Free

1. In a large bowl, mash bananas with honey until it starts to liquify.
2. Add eggs and Vanilla and mix well
3. Slowly add melted butter while mixing (so as not to cook the eggs!)
4. In a separate bowl combine oat flour, tapioca starch, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and psyllium husk powder. 
5. Add dry ingredients to wet mixture slowly, stilling until combined evenly.
6. Lastly, add Apple Cider Vinegar right before popping this bread in the oven. (This helps to activate the Baking soda and create a fluffier bread – but the reaction happens quickly)
7. Pour into a greased and floured bread pan to bake
8. Bake at 300 degrees F for 40-60 min (depending on your oven/altitude) – your nose will tell you when it is done!

A toothpick test: when it comes out clean (or nearly) you can pull it out of the oven!

I created a PDF for you! You may print, or save, for future use: Downloadable Grandma’s Banana Bread PDF

Once you’ve tried the recipe, I’d love to hear how it turns out in your kitchen! Please let me know in the comments below.

Much love!
Alaina