Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Multi Grain Banana Bread

Sweet breads are typically white flour, laden with vegetable oil and white sugar, just because there are a couple cups of bananas or zucchini does not overcome the fact that these breads are no better than a birthday cake. With a little know how, these three major issues can be remedied.

First off, mild flavored whole grains can be used to a a whole lot of nutrition. I recommend barley, oats, kamut and soft white wheat, any combination from one to all four will give good results. To give the whole grains a lift, increase the baking powder by 1/2 teaspoon.

Next, we address vegetable oil, which is the lowest class of oil next to hydrogenated (why must they taint the glorious "V" word?) My oil of choice in this case is coconut oil, followed by light olive oil and expeller pressed canola oil. No need for a full cup, the bananas and kefir give moisture a boost, while taking care to not over bake makes a world of difference.

Lastly, the dreaded over processed white sugar. It is true that texture of, lets face it-cake, is benefited by white sugar. But surely 2 cups is over doing it. For me and my kids 1/4 cup white sugar and 1/4 cup maple syrup is sweet enough to be a treat. Jarom adds a sprinkle of powdered sugar to his slices. Consider cutting back on sugar little by little, if you go too far just garnish with powdered sugar. Another trick is sprinkling a couple tablespoons on top of the batter before cooking, coarse sugars like turbinado work great for this.

Once we had banana bread for breakfast the and kids thought I was being naughty. Layne said "We did not have a very healthy breakfast today, Mom." Of coarse I argued that we did.

1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup of white sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons coconut oil
3 tablespoons kefir or buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 medium bananas
2/3 cup barley flour
2/3 cup oat flour
2/3 cup soft white wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 5x9 inch loaf pan. Cut a 5x9 inch piece of parchment and place in the bottom of the pan.In blender place syrup, sugar and egg. Blend on low for 45 seconds. Add oil, kefir, vanilla and bananas. Blend again for 30 seconds. Place the remaining ingredients on top of mixture. Pulse until mostly combined, finish mixing with a spatula and pour into loaf pan. Bake for about 45 minutes.

Be sure to check the bread a couple times in the last 10 minutes for doneness. Press gently on the middle of the loaf, firm is done. When you remove loaf from the oven, let cool 5-10 minutes in the pan, then turn out on a wire rack and peel the parchment from the bottom.


  1. I would love to learn the secret of transforming some of our old favorites into healthy ones. Any suggestions? Could you subsitute honey for the white sugar? I will definately try this one. I bought a ton of bananas yesterday at the Good Apple 3lbs/$1. : ) Thanks for sharing. Do you have a healthy pumpkin bread recipie? -Cindy

  2. This recipe can really give you a basic formula that can be used for any sweet bread. I don't have a pumpkin bread recipe measured out, but when I work one up I will let you know.

    The trouble with honey is it doesn't mix well with cold ingredients and if it is crystalized it need to be heated before adding to a batter. I like agave and maple syrup better for ease of use, but honey will work if you get it nice and runny before using it.

  3. Okay, I just love you and your blog! It is my new 'bible' of healthy recipes that my family will enjoy. I am excited to try this banana bread recipe, because I had the same reservations about making 'regular' banana bread before - it's pretty much cake. So thanks for being a healthy mom and sharing all your stuff!

  4. As always, I'm sure this recipe is stellar. I love the blog makeover, bytheway.

  5. Made this for breakfast this morning and it was so moist and delicious. I doubled the recipe, added 1/4 cup chia seeds (which blend in so nicely with the banana seeds :) and some extra oats (not flour) just for fiber. Split into three loaves, one loaf got some 70% dark chocolate chips sprinkled in...that's the one I'm hiding in the freezer for meeeee. Thanks for another great recipe Kara.

  6. I just made these for the second time, and I love them. The maple syrup adds wonderful flavor.

  7. Throwing in chocolate chips is very nice for a treat, I must say. This is great. I love how it crackles on the top.
    I made two batches, and one of them I did in muffin tins. They cook in about 15 minutes that way, and you can do add-ins to preference. Nice.
    Thanks, as always.

  8. Thanks for sharing the variations. I have a variation of my own I am working on; soaked and white sugar free. It doesn't crackle on top though :( but is still moist and delicious.

  9. Oooh. I want to try the varations, though the crackles will be missed. :)
    I posted and linked to you on yet another blog.

  10. Thanks for the link and your picture is way better than mine. I need to remember to get that one up.

  11. Do you have an updated soaked recipe?

    And this is unrelated but your meatball recipe is also a staple and I'm wondering if you still add the oats, soak them ahead of time, etc....?


  12. I have been making sourdough banana bread with good results. I use my cupcake recipe, leave out the chocolate and add mashed bananas. I use less sugar and more flour because the bananas make the batter wetter. Makes 2 loaves.

    I add the oats if I have some leftover from breakfast that week, which I soak. I also have used quinoa, millet and rice.

  13. Thank you!
    And sorry, I hadn't seen that the oats were soaked. Good to know about the other grains too!


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