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Beautiful Breakfast Bread

Posted Feb 01 2013 12:17pm

Mesquite Banana Bread

When I’m on an ingredient roll, I like to use it every which way I can. That’s why last week I wrote about mesquite-dusted popcorn and this week I’m writing about mesquite-infused banana bread. The caramel aspect of the mesquite combined with the natural sweetness of the bananas means that you only need 1/4 cup maple syrup to sweeten an entire 9″x5″ loaf. And stirring some freshly ground chia seeds into the batter helps provide extra stickiness to the whole-grain gluten-free batter, which means you’ll have a nicely rounded loaf with holes rather than a dense flatbread. (Not that there’s anything wrong with flatbreads. Some of the world’s best breads are flat: tortillas, crepes, and pancakes, just to name a few. But once in a while height is nice.)

Since I was going for a multi-flavored loaf, I also added a little lucuma powder to the batter. It’s a Peruvian fruit with an especially dry flesh — perfect for grinding into flour! — and a naturally sweet flavor. Its exotic origins mean that it’s lumped into the “superfood” category. It is indeed a pleasant-tasting flour to add to your baked goods and raw desserts, but the notion of labeling certain foods as superfoods is rather silly. Any unrefined, unprocessed natural food from a natural source (i.e., pastured meats rather than factory-produced meats; organic produce grown in rich soils versus conventionally grown crops) is a superfood. But I do enjoy the vaguely sweet, vaguely maple-ish flavor of lucuma, and it’s nice to have in the pantry. If you don’t have any on hand, that’s okay — just increase the amount of one of the other flours to make up the difference. All three flours here are low-glycemic, which means they won’t spike your blood sugar levels. That’s good for diabetics as well as for people who don’t want to become diabetics. And quinoa and amaranth are complete proteins, too. Added bonus!

Mesquite Banana Bread
Makes a 9″x5″ loaf.

For the dry ingredients:
1/2 cup quinoa flour (quinoa is so soft that you can grind it in a coffee/spice grinder or a high-powered blender like a Vitamix)
1/2 cup amaranth flour (ditto on making amaranth flour)
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
3 T. chia seeds, ground
2 T. poppyseeds (leave whole)
2 T. mesquite flour (you can leave this out if you don’t have any, but it does add a pleasing hint of caramel)
1/4 cup lucuma flour OR add another 1/4 cup of quinoa, amaranth, or buckwheat flour
Pinch of sea salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 T. baking powder

For the wet ingredients:
2 large yellow bananas (riper bananas will create sweeter bread, so use them as ripe as you like)
4 eggs, preferably from pastured hens
2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup whole milk, preferably from grass-fed cows

Preheat the oven to 350F. Thoroughly grease a 9″x5″ glass loaf pan and set aside. (I like to save my butter wrappers for greasing my pans.)

In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. In a large bowl, mash the bananas with a fork. Beat in the eggs one at a time with a mixer. Beat in the oil and maple syrup. Add half of the dry ingredients and beat again. Beat in milk, then add remaining dry ingredients and beat until smooth. (You don’t have to worry about over-developing the gluten since there isn’t any. Gluten-free baking is much easier and less messy than gluten-based baking!)

Pour batter into greased loaf pan and bake for 1 hour and 5 minutes. Top will look very brown, but that’s okay — you’ll wind up with a very tasty crust. When an inserted toothpick comes out clean and warm, the loaf is done. Let cool on a wire rack. Cooled bread should be refrigerated to prevent molding. (Fruit-based items don’t do well at room temperature, even in the winter.) It will keep for a week in the fridge.

All you need for your breakfast is two slices of this bread topped with a few pats of pastured butter. Or top with ice cream for dessert.


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