Banana Bread, Gluten-Free

by Jeanne on September 26, 2010

We had a terrific weekend! So busy and so full of friends. We went to 1 adult birthday party, 1 kid birthday party, 1 donut party, and we had friends over for brunch.  It was a wonderful way to usher in October.

This recipe was requested by one of my readers, Marilyn in Colorado.  Marilyn has been a terrific help to me–she’s been reporting back on the ways altitude affects my recipes.  I have to say, I am so very thankful to her to be willing to do this!  It’s such a service to me–I’m at sea level, so I have no way of testing my recipes for altitude.  Thanks, Marilyn!  Anyway, Marilyn asked that I post a recipe for banana bread–and specifically, she asked if I would adapt the recipe from The Silver Palate Cookbook.  I was happy to comply–as you know, Sheila Lukins is in my pantheon of cooking goddesses!  I love her.  Sigh.  And The Silver Palate Cookbook is one of my favorite cookbooks.  You really can’t go wrong with it.  I use it all the time.

Now, I haven’t really talked about it here, but in addition to a gluten-intolerance and a wheat allergy, I have a form of allergies called Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS).  OAS is where certain raw fruits, vegetables, and nuts can trigger a food-allergy reaction in individuals who are prone to it.  These same foods cooked are usually fine for these people.  OAS works like this: you have an environmental allergy (often to tree pollen).  So the pollen from certain trees make you sneeze.  At the same time, the protein structure of certain raw fruits, vegetables, and nuts is similar to the pollen structure of the trees you are allergic to.  When a person like me, with OAS, eats a raw fruit/veggie/nut that has the similar protein structure to a pollen I’m allergic to (and guess what?  I’m allergic to most tree pollen), my body mistakes it for that pollen, goes wacky, and has a food allergy reaction.  Some of these reactions are an itchy throat or tongue; others are a tummy ache, nausea, vomiting; others are full-fledged anaphylaxis.  The weird thing is that I am able to eat most of these same things if they are fully cooked.  So, I’m not completely unable to eat these things, but I have to avoid them if they’re raw. Also, OAS is not a food allergy–so you don’t test allergic to the foods you react to with it. Another fab thing (not) about OAS is that it gets worse as you age. So, each year I become unable to eat things that I was able to eat before. As you can imagine, all of this makes things tricky on the food front.

As it turns out, bananas cause some of my more intense OAS reactions.  If I eat a raw banana, I can go into anaphylactic shock.  So awful.  So, I’ve kind of avoided bananas for several years.  And Girlfriend has hated raw bananas her whole life–which makes me wonder if her body knows they (maybe) aren’t good for her?  OAS has a genetic component.  Anyway, when Marilyn asked about banana bread, I decided to see if I could eat cooked bananas.  And it turns out that I can!  Yay!  Ever since I figured this out, I’ve been making banana bread.  I now make it about once a week.  And, as it turns out, Girlfriend likes bananas in bread and muffins (I’ll post the muffin recipe later)–and she loves this bread.  dAhub has always eaten bananas, so he is thrilled to have bananas around again.

As I was adapting this recipe, I found that I needed to experiment with the amount of bananas in this recipe.  The original calls for 3 large, ripe bananas.  I found that 3 large bananas yield over 2 C of mashed banana.  Over 2 C mashed bananas yields a yummy bread, but I find it to be too soft and floppy.  I find that 2 large bananas yield about 1 1/2 C of mashed bananas. 1 1/2 C of mashed bananas creates a nicely balanced bread– good texture, full of banana flavor, but not too floppy.  You can do your own experiments and see what amounts you like.

I have also included pecans as an optional ingredient.  I love pecans (remember, I am a Southern girl at heart) and, in the spirit of full disclosure, they are one of the last nuts I can eat (yep, OAS to most of them–even when cooked). And, to put this bread completely over the top on the deliciousness scale, I have added chocolate chips as another optional ingredient. Just so you know, the more additions you put into the bread, the more delicate it is, structure-wise. So, if the bread has both the pecans and the chocolate chips, it will tend to fall apart (especially when warm). But it is sooo good with the additions… To be honest, we tend to make it most often with just the pecans, and use the chocolate chips in the bread every so often for extra-special occasions. Delish!

Banana Bread, Gluten-Free
-adapted from The Silver Palate Cookbook
-makes 1 9″x5″ loaf

Special Equipment Needed
-a stand mixer is helpful, but a hand mixer will do, as well
-a 9″x5″ loaf pan

Note:this recipe uses my gf flour mix, Jeanne’s Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Mix (mix together and store in a cool, dark place):
1 1/4 C (170g) brown rice flour
1 1/4 C (205g) white rice flour
1 C (120g) tapioca flour
1 C (165g) sweet rice flour (also known as Mochiko)
2 scant tsp. xanthan gum

1/2 C (1 stick; 4 oz; 115g) unsalted butter at room temperature
3/4 C (155g) granulated sugar
2  extra large eggs
2 C (280g) Jeanne’s Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Mix
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2-3 bananas, about 1 1/2 C mashed (you can use up to 2 C of mashed bananas–but 2 C will make a very moist and floppy bread)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 C chopped pecans (optional)
1/2 C semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)
Extra butter and tapioca flour for pan

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F/180 degrees C.  Butter and flour your loaf pan with the extra butter and tapioca flour.

In a small bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until light and fluffy–about 3 minutes.  Add the sugar and beat another 2 minutes.  Add the eggs and beat for another 2 minutes.  Add the vanilla and beat until just combined.

Add flour mixture to the butter mixture–beat until just combined.  With a large spoon or spatula, fold in the bananas and then the pecans and chocolate chips (if using).

Scrape  into prepared pan.  Bake for 50-60 minutes–or until a tester comes out clean.  Cool in pan for 5 minutes and then carefully turn out onto rack to cool completely.



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