Sunday, April 08, 2018

Perfect (cough *GF* cough) Banana Bread

Where does the time go? Honestly. Forgive me. Because I know there is nowhere else on the internet you can go for recipes! [crying-laughing emoji] Life sure gets busy, no? We’ve been marching for gun control and packing lunches. Despairing over injustice and reading excellent books. I have been awake more than usual in the night and also going religiously to zumba. I have been an asshole and a good friend, mortified and happy and compassionate and irate in equal measure.

We’ve been watching America’s Funniest Home Videos before bed, in the hope that it will help us all sleep, and we laugh, because the people and animals are so wonderfully crazy, everybody getting hit in the crotch because of  piƱatas, and also some of it is so depressingly sad and weird, and people actually get hurt, and I never know what to think anymore. Or sometimes, maybe, I still do.

Anyways, as many of you know if you’re been following along, we are dealing with an Extreme Gluten-Free Situation in our household, and I am doing more baking than ever, trying to nail certain favorite things and create certain other new favorite things. This banana bread is the former, and it’s absolutely perfect: tender-crumbed and moist without being gummy; deeply browned and crunchy-edged without being gritty. 

Only other GF bakers will understand why I need to praise this bread in reverse, by listing its un-negative qualities. There are just so many pitfalls! Like the thing where a loaf or cake comes gloriously out of the oven looking glorious? Only then what it really is is a gorgeous shell filled with a kind of treasure trove of inglorious raw batter.

If you are not catering to the non-glutens, then use whatever mix of flour you like, and it will be delicious! Still totally worth making, because it is actual good banana bread, I promise, not some weird diet loaf. Unless you’re on a weird diet! And then make it with apple water and aloe dust, or whatever you need to do. I am with you 100%. Believe me.

That is an insanely delicious product called "vanilla creme fraiche" that arrives in vast donated cases at the soup kitchen where I volunteer. Soup and vanilla creme fraiche for all! It is crazily good, but cream cheese would be a fine thing to spread on your already-moist banana bread, if you found it just needed a certain something.
Perfect Banana Bread (that is gluten-free—or not)
I think I already said everything I wanted to say up top. xo

1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
1 cup sugar (I use ½ white sugar and ½ coconut sugar, but you could use a mix of white and brown sugars, or whatever you like. It doesn’t really matter.)
2 ripe bananas (you could use a 3rd banana and skip the sour cream, but I wouldn't)
Sour cream (around ½ cup)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1 ½ cups flour (see note below)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt (or half as much table salt)
¼ cup small gluten-free oats—the instant kind—or regular gluten-free oats buzzed briefly in a blender

Heat the oven to 350 and grease and flour a loaf pan.

Cream together the butter and sugar in an electric mixer, and leave it creaming while you mash the bananas. Measure the bananas and add enough sour cream to make 1 ½ cups. Stir in the vanilla.

While the butter and sugar is STILL creaming, sift or whisk together the flour(s), baking soda, and salt. Stir in the oats.

Now add the eggs, one at a time, to the creamed butter, beating each one in well. Add the banana mixture and beat well again, then add the dry ingredients and beat just until mixed. (I’m never sure, if you’re using gf flour, if it even matters if you overbeat something! I mean, there’s no gluten to develop, so who really gives a fuck? But still I err on the side of caution because #goodgirl.)

Scrape the batter into the pan and bake for 55 minutes, or until the loaf looks done and a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs on it. Cool briefly in the pan—3 minutes?—then tip onto a cooling rack and really, really try to cool it completely, or for at least ½ hour, before slicing.

Note about the flour: I use 1/3 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour (from Trader Joe’s), 1/3 cup coconut flour, and 1/3 cup of this crazy and delicious whole-grain flour I mix up to make the beautiful breads from this book. That blend is equal parts brown-rice flour, teff flour, sorghum flour, and (gf) oat flour. I know. I might as well add bone meal and pine starch, but what can I tell you. It’s a blend I love. And it has xanthan gum in it—around 1 teaspoon per cup of flour, I think, is how it works out. What I recommend is using either ½ cup of a flour with xanthan gum in it, or adding 1/2 teaspoon to the recipe if none of your flours have xanthan gum. Does that make sense? (I just drank a beer really quickly.)

You could just use 1 ½ cups of your favorite GF flour, or try a mix of almond, oat, rice, whatever you think would be good. Please report back!

A note about oats: Oats are only gluten-free if they say they're gluten-free, and this is for one of two reasons: some oats are grown in fields where wheat seeds blow in and grow companionably alongside, everyone harvested all together to the bellyache of unsuspecting celiac folks; other oats grow unaccompanied by wheat, but are processed in gluten-contaminated facilities. Gluten-free oats are safely unmolested by other sneaky grains.


  1. Anonymous8:59 PM

    Flours make my head spin - I bought the wrong kind of flour for a cake but it didn't mater, can't find flour to make pasta, and thought oat had gluten but now see it's a little complicated. Try Vietnamese food?

  2. You know? What I have read about gluten-free baking (from the fine folks at America's Test Kitchen) is that you can't really overbeat your batter. And that gluten-free flour blends need resting time, to soak up the liquid and get nicely moisturized.

  3. eakesin10:20 AM

    Thank you for sharing this recipe. Are you familiar with Alanna Taylor-Tobin ( Her book The Alternative Baker has only gluten-free recipes and her Instagram feed is another source of inspiration.

  4. Thank you for this (although my nearly-diabetic state makes banana-oat bread a little dangerous). I am so looking forward to seeing more your recipes become gluten free.

  5. Two years after half our family was diagnosed with Celiac Disease, we have yet to find a good/successful banana bread recipe. Can't wait to try your recipe! Also, your note about GF oats cracked me up, that's almost the exact same way I explain it to people all the time.

  6. Lovely wordy writer and celiac baker Shauna James Ahern also posts intriguing recipes although I don't do the gf thing and so can't vouch for their success. Here's a link to her banana bread with ginger and choc chips

  7. I can't remember if I commented this before or not, so I'm saying it again anyway. The gluten free folks in our family really love the Pamela's GF baking mix and use it one for one in recipes.

  8. One of my first years of GF baking I made a carrot cake for Easter that was The Best Ever. I remember it was made with Bob's Red Mill Pizza Dough Mix for the flour, but that has not been sufficient for me to re-Google it, and it's lost to the ages. Here's hoping this banana bread (which of one of my daughters will want me to make with chocolate chips in it) will be just as amazing and not lost so soon.

  9. Blech. I'm dealing with a newly celiac husband who's also a ridiculously picky eater. He just wants spagettios and McNuggets, dammit.

  10. Here's a GF cake recipe I enjoy:

    It's a little quirky, but in a good way.

  11. Welcome to the world of GF eating and baking. We are happy to have you!

  12. Catherine,

    I feel your gluten-free pain. Baking is such an experiment, and it's really awesome when something turns out well. I've had many ups and downs with gluten-free baking over the years. Here are three triumphs that are so good anyone will enjoy them (no qualifiers needed!).

    Cocoa Banana Bread
    (Just sub gf flour for the all-purpose. I use the sour cream and skip the banana on top. This is the BEST banana bread recipe I've ever made. Since discovering it, I can't stop making it.)

    Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

    Lemon Ricotta Cake Muffins
    (Really more like a cupcake than a muffin. So good!)

    Best wishes in your gluten free baking pursuits!

  13. Anonymous12:14 PM

    Love all the GF comments for all the GF struggles, totes. But can we address the 45% match posting, as well as the hilarious Zumba article? C'mon people, this stuff is gold and needs the proper amount of adulation and respect :) Love you K-$ and you Shaky Shaky self...

  14. I love that you have to do gluten free things now, but I am sorry for the inconvenience.

    I will definitely make your bread!

  15. Hello! I love your blog and have been following it for at least 13 years. Now I'm finally going to comment. :) We've been GF for over ten years. Lot's of trial and error has led to this: Pamela's All Purpose Gluten Free flour is pound-for-pound as reliable as All Purpose Wheat for things like cake and banana bread BUT, you must add 1/3 cup of mayonnaise, 1-2 tbsp baking powder, and one extra egg to ALL cake/bread recipes to get lift and moisture. I always beat the eggs, sugar, and mayo together before adding the liquid or dry items. Also, we make pecan and meringue pies without crust, or just use rice-krispy or GF granola to make a graham-cracker-substitute crust. Barilla makes EXCELLENT GF pastas. And finally, we found the best thing for bread is to just let it go. I've probably spent thousands of dollars ordering breads from all over the world trying to find a good one. My trials have led me to believe there is no such thing as good GF sandwhich or french bread. We give up! We wrap sandwich ingredients in lettuce or just pile the ingredients on top of a bowl of greens. Good luck! Try make cake trick, I've fooled hundreds of guests over the years. They had no clue our desserts were GF.

    1. This blend: