Friday, August 6, 2010

Better For You Banana Bread

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to muck with my Mom's Banana Bread recipe to see what I could do to make it a smidge healthier.  I nixed all the white flour, cut the butter in half, got rid of a third of the sugar, added a banana, and threw in graham flour for some whole grains and fiber.

Wait.  Whoa.  Graham flour?  Yeah, I had no idea that it even existed until I bumped into a recipe calling for it a few months back.  According to the Whole Foods website, Graham flour is "Hard whole wheat flour with a coarse and flaky outer bran layer and finely ground germ. Though its most famous use is in crackers, it adds texture to all baked goods."  Basically, it's like using whole wheat flour and wheat germ.  Most sites say to substitute graham for part of the white flour in a recipe.  I decided to go all out and eliminate every speck of the white flour.  Survey says?  Yum!! 

I'm really, really happy with how my recipe mods turned out.  While it's still not what I'd call health food, it tastes scrumptious, and it's a little bit healthier than the original version.  We rate it a big 5 Spoons, and I'll be adding this recipe to my permanent collection.


Better For You Banana Bread
1/4 c. unsalted butter, room temp
2/3 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/4 c. Graham flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 c. mashed, overripe bananas (3 large or 4 medium)
1/4 c. buttermilk **

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray.

Stir flour, salt, and baking soda in a separate bowl and set aside.  Using a mixer with a large or medium bowl, cream butter and sugar on low speed, scraping the bowl and beater often.  Add in eggs and vanilla and mix until combined.  Add in dry ingredients, half at a time, scraping the bowl between each addition.  Add the mashed bananas, mixing until combined.  Scrape the bowl and then pour in the buttermilk, mixing until combined.  Pour batter into prepared baking pan, and bake for approximately an hour, or until it passes the toothpick test.

Cool in pan for 5 minutes, before turning out onto a cooling rack.  Allow to completely cool before slicing with a serrated knife.

** Note 1:  If you don't have buttermilk, you can substitute 1/2 c. sour cream.  Or you can "make" buttermilk by stirring 1 Tbsp. lemon juice or vinegar into 1/4 c. regular milk.  Let the lemon juice-milk mixture "sour" while you're mixing all the other banana bread ingredients.
** Note 2:  When I buy buttermilk for a recipe, I divide up the entire carton into 1 cups and freeze them in individual quart size freezer bags.  This way, I always have buttermilk on hand, and I don't waste leftovers.  I've used thawed buttermilk in my cornbread and banana bread recipes with great results.

Behold, Graham Flour:

It looks (and is) like wheat flour with wheat germ.

Ingredient lineup.
(Note:  I use my pastry blender to mash bananas.)

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan.

Yum City.

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  1. I'm surprised that the all-graham flour substitution didn't turn it into a brick: having all that bran and germ in there doesn't make for light and fully!

    When we have a spare banana going toward mush, I pop it in the freezer until time or accumulation get to be too much. One defrosted (doesn't take long) you snip off the tip of the banana and it's like instant puree squeeze from a banana-tube. And, thanks to the freezing, the banana mixes into the dry ingredients easier.

  2. I do the same I think I have 6 in the freezer now, we don't waste those, we also have a fantastic recipe that gets eaten in a day so we try not to make it often, it's my sisters rec. and it's yummy keep ingredient is the sour creme, never knew you could do that for buttermilk 1. make your own, and 2. freeze it cause that's why I dont like to buy it for recipes is because the rest is always a waste..

    sara your the best i'm glad your a part of this blog, your gonna make me more obese though...

    The Buzz, Brandy

  3. @Brandy, I'm so laughing out loud over your comment, HA!!

    @Scraps, I cut back the amount of flour in the recipe, because I was worried about baking up a whole wheat brick :) I think the extra banana also helped add some much-needed moisture to the wheat flour. This version turned out just as moist and light as the original, I'm so happy!

  4. We love banana bread in my house. Last time I baked some, well, it didn't turn out well...I am giving this recipe a try soon! I just need my bananas to ripen...


  5. I understood that graham flour was just another name for flour made from garbonzo beans. And then there is coconut flour. Sence you are now in Atlanta you can by both at DeKalb Farmers Market but sometimes not in one trip as they often run out & have to wait for a new shipment. I use Tapioca flour as well because I try to avoid Wheat. Tapioca is light like wheat flour. The other two are a bit heavy.

    1. No, graham flour comes from wheat. Flour from garbanzo beans can sometimes be called "gram flour" - super close in name! Anyway, I love going to both the DeKalb and Buford Hwy farmer's markets. They have so many fun things in there!!


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