I was actually thinking about making this banana bread paleo. I really like the idea of the paleo diet, not as a weight loss technique but as a conscious way of eating. I had seen a lot of paleo baking going around and it really made me think, maybe I could do it!
So I was very curious and first tried making banana bread using coconut flour. Oh how that went terribly wrong. It was just this dense doughy mess that was just unable to bake at all and it left me all depressed, eventually mindlessly playing with it like play-doh.
And then I was pretty shocked how many whole grain flours out there aren’t considered paleo. And those that are considered paleo (almond flour and other nut flours) are just crazy expensive to the point where you are most likely eating a 5 dollar slice of banana bread. Yeah, I don’t think so.
I learned that basically you can’t have any form of grain on the paleo diet (I know I’m pretty slow). Turns out eating paleo might not really be for me after all! I mean I eat brown rice and brown rice anything like there is no tomorrow. Cause hey! I thought brown rice was good for you!
Well APPARENTLY NOT. Or at least that’s what a lot of paleo gurus and articles on the web are now saying which leaves me all dumbfounded, as if all my morals were just suddenly contradicted. I see words like ‘anti-nutrients’ and ‘high-glycemic’ being thrown around and then I am being told that you should eat white rice over brown rice. Ehrrmm excuse me?? It’s like when I was told that kale is bad for you. The world is starting to not make a bit of sense.
I am saying no to the paleo masters and sticking with brown rice, despite what they say about the potentially toxic compounds that are found in it’s outer shell. That outer shell contains the micronutrients and when you strip it away you are just left with white starch. And I don’t want to eat just starch. Luckily though I am able to digest brown rice and I feel fabulous afterwards but I also understand that they are saying it might not be the same for everyone. Case closed.
Soooo back to banana bread, I decided to make my own flour blend and learned that a good 70 percent grain and 30 percent starch formula really does the trick. Of course I stuck with brown rice flour and I used tapioca flour (which I always have left over when ever I make pão de queijo) for the starch (this is a good article to read about making your own flour mixture).
I also used a bit almond flour to give it a little bit of texture. Such a good idea if you ask me. You don’t feel to bad when you are not using 2 cups of it for the batter. You can get a way with using a bit to still add some almond-graininess to your gluten-free bake (graininess is apparently a word, it looks funny).
Coconut flour does add a nice and surprising flavor but I feel it sucks out a lot of the moisture and deters us from that spiced and nutty flavor we have learned to love in our banana breads. And quite frankly the consistency is just never right. You could replace the 1/4 cup of almond flour with coconut flour instead into the mixture if you want that sweet bite of coconut.
But after two tries (the second time I still tried using some coconut flour but it wasn’t able to redeem itself after that dreadful first attempt) the third won by a landslide. Of course I am in a position to marvel at my bakes but this is by far the best banana bread I have ever had. Better than the many gluten-full banana breads I have tasted before. I have tested it on other people and they were blown away as well. Banana bread success!
Without a doubt it’s the brown butter and the molasses that makes this so darn delicious. It’s no surprise that I am obsessed with brown butter (here, here and here just to name a few) but I am becoming fond of molasses too. I just love how it transforms the color of the batter and the taste is just unexplainable.
Once again I ate two or three slices as I was shooting this. I mean it was just so HARD not too. Especially when it is this banana bread which once again I have to mention is AMAZING.
Rule of thumb for food photography: don’t shoot on an empty stomach. Unless you are like me and totally mean to eat it anyways.
Spiced Brown Butter Banana Bread [GF]
makes 1 9×5-inch loaf
for the banana bread:
1 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/4 cup almond flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
12 tablespoons grass-fed butter
1/2 cup coconut palm sugar
1/4 cup honey
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons molasses
3 large ripe bananas
1/3 cup almond milk
Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously butter a 9×5-inch loaf pan and set aside. In a bowl, whisk together the brown rice flour, tapioca flour, almond flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and set aside.
Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Keep an eye on the butter and stir occasionally. Soon the butter will start to brown fairly quickly. Remove from heat when butter solids become an amber color and butter smells slightly nutty. Immediately pour hot butter into a small bowl and set aside, or the butter will burn. Make sure you get all the brown bits into the bowl as well cause that’s where all the flavor is!
In a large mixing bowl, mix the butter, coconut sugar and honey together. Add eggs, one at a time and mix well until combined, then add in vanilla and molasses. Mash in the bananas together with the almond milk, making sure their aren’t any big lumps. Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture, mixing well until no flour is seen.
Spoon batter into prepared pan and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to rest in the pan for 15 minutes, before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.