Grain-Free Banana Bread

By • August 23, 2013 • 56 Comments

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Author Notes: Once you are released from gluten, you find out something you didn't know when you automatically reached for that bag of all-purpose bleached wheat flour. Flours have flavors.

It's true. Flours have flavors. Quinoa flour is a little grassy, very savory. Buckwheat is nutty, sometimes toasted nutty if you use toasted buckwheat flour. Teff flour has a faint chocolate, molasses taste. If you choose the flours you use for the baked good you want to make by the ingredients you intend to stir together, you might stop thinking about gluten altogether. You'll choose the flours you have for how they can make a banana bread good enough to make small children say yum after they take their first bite. This is that banana bread.
shauna.ahern

Serves 8

  • 100 grams finely ground almond flour
  • 60 grams arrowroot powder
  • 50 grams buckwheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup (we prefer grade B)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 80 grams coconut oil, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 ripe large bananas
  • 3/4 cup crushed hazelnuts
  1. Preparing to bake. Heat the oven to 375° F. Grease a 1-pound loaf pan.
  2. Mixing the dry ingredients. Whisk together the almond flour, arrowroot powder, and buckwheat flour in a large bowl. (If you want to really aerate your flour, pulse them together in the food processor before beginning to bake.) Add the baking soda and salt and whisk them all together. Set aside.
  3. Combining the wet ingredients. In another bowl, stir together the maple syrup, eggs, coconut oil, and vanilla. Mash the bananas, add them, and whisk until everything is combined well.
  4. Finishing the batter. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, stirring as you go, a bit at a time. When all the flour has disappeared into the batter, and you can't find any more hiding at the bottom of the bowl, add the hazelnuts and stir.
  5. Baking the banana bread. Pour the banana bread batter into the greased pan. Bake until the banana bread is springy to the touch, the edges are pulling away from the pan, and the top is browned, about 45 to 60 minutes. Cool before slicing.
Jump to Comments (56)

Comments (56) Questions (2)

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6 days ago ReeceAmy

Every week I get 3 bananas in my CSA box. Every weekend I make your amazing bread and we feast on it all week! Thanks for all the effort you put into creating your recipes.
PS am so looking forward to my Kickstarter flour mix!

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6 days ago scrapper

pub-lish
1. (of an author or company) prepare and issue (a book, journal, piece of music, or other work) for the public.

Shauna, since your recipes are published, for the public, not just for your own personal use, I think it would be doing a great service to people who have followed and loved your books from inception, if you would include both weight measurements and volume measurements in all your recipes. Yes, it's a little extra work for you as the author but it shows a tuning-in and respect for your readers.
I purchased your book, Gluten Free Girl, the moment it became available. I have made many of your recipes and purchased every other book that you and the Chef have written. But I find myself becoming increasingly irritated and aggravated by assumptions that you seem to make as far as availability of ingredients to the average person living in the average community. Most people do not live in wonderful Seattle where you can literally get anything you want as far as ingredients go. When you publish a recipe and blithely assume that everyone has a local pig farmer that they can consult about the exact cut of meat and the pigs diet, I start to roll my eyes and lose interest.

I also bake using weight measurements but most people don't. When I share a recipe with a friend who I know does not have a gram scale I am always careful to give them the approximate equivalent in a volume measurement. I realize that this is not an exact science but the recipes turn out fine and lovely even when the volume measurements are used.

We all live in a real world. Your readers, and fans, live in a wide assortment of communities. It would be much appreciated if you were able to acknowledge this fact.

Many thanks

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7 days ago Kris

Poor Shauna! I was amazed to read some of the nit picky and outright aggressive comments below. People, figure out how you need to eat for 'you' and your needs. If you don't eat sugar, or meat, or dairy that's just super. But why beat someone up for being patient enough to deconstruct a much loved baked good recipe so that it's grain free? And then shares it! I have to shake my head at people who have nothing better to do than whine that a recipe wasn't custom made for them or worse: accuse a kind and well meaning person of being disingenuous.

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10 months ago taryn

I made this nut-free and it is honestly the best banana bread I've ever had! I have a whole grain GF mix of equal parts buckwheat, millet, and sorghum so I used 150 grams of that in place of the buckwheat and almond. Also used tapioca instead of arrowroot because that's what I had in my fridge, and butter instead of coconut oil. I upped the butter to 90 grams to account for the lack of almonds but it may not have been necessary. I also used chocolate chips instead of hazelnuts. :) Of course, it's no longer grain free or dairy free at this point, but this recipe will definitely be my go-to for banana bread from now on. Thanks, Shauna!

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10 months ago Lisade

Simple and delicious! Thanks for awesome recipe.

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about 1 year ago Rita

My son can't stand the taste of almonds and seems to taste it even when it's hiding amongst other flavours. Do you have any other suggestions for the almond four? Thanks.

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6 months ago Michelle

Ground up sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds have always worked beautifully as an almond substitute.

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6 months ago Rita

Thanks - will give it a go. Cheers

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about 1 year ago Daphne

I have made this at least five times now, and it never fails. Delicious and easy - the only "prep" is buying bananas in advance and waiting for them to ripen. Thanks for this great recipe.

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about 1 year ago Julie Hyland

Oh my yumminess!!! I was drooling reading the ingredients!!! If only I knew where to buy half of them, though!!! :( Iowa is so slow to progress!!!!!

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about 1 year ago soleilnyc

Yes, need to point out the cinnamon omission as well! Would love to know how you prefer it, Shauna!

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about 1 month ago NoONE

I like to add grated fresh nutmeg!

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about 1 year ago Daniella Price González

Is there a substitute for arrowroot?

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about 1 year ago jillcarsonie

when you first click on the link for this recipe it calls for 1/4t cinnamon. however, when you click the "save and print" link to get the full instructions to make the bread, the cinnamon is omitted. I made the bread from that link and thus omitted the cinnamon. It was DELICIOUS, however, when I make it again I will definitely add the cinnamon!

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about 1 year ago Rebecca

Shauna, thank you so much for this wonderful recipe! We are gluten free and mostly dairy free and moving more and more towards grain free. My whole family loved this bread! My kids don't like nuts in their baked goods so I used chocolate chips instead. Oh so good!

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about 1 year ago GoodFoodie

As a follow up, I made this earlier today and brought it to a gathering. Followed the recipe pretty much to the letter except I needed to add some almonds to get to the 3/4 cup of nuts. It was a big hit, so moist and not too sweet. And 6 hours later, it's still moist and yummy. Yay!

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about 1 year ago GoodFoodie

Shauna I am thrilled that you are moving away from refined carbs in your recipes. I too am coming to the realization that I don't feel great after refined gluten free flours. And people, no one will ever confuse a nice 'sweet' bread from a savory one. Ya gotta have a little sweetness in your life!

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about 1 year ago jblock

I have this recipe in the oven. Can't wait to try it. I think of the recipes on this website as a "baseline" for my own experimentaion. The fact that Shauna went to the trouble of sharing is much appreciated, and good enough for me. I will experiment with sweeteners, etc., as I see fit, and hold Shauna and her opinions and comments about such, as interesting, perhaps helpful, however, inconsequential to my personal taste, experience, and most important, free will. If one does not agree with someone's approach to a recipe, they should keep it to themselves, it takes the fun out of the whole purpose of this website! There is a place for helpful and casual comments, but, where has common courtesy gone? I say, thank you to Shauna, and I will let you know how my bread turns out!!

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about 1 year ago DeliciousBaby

I have one child who is Gluten Free and two who are not. It has been tricky to find baked goods that they all enjoy. I'm happy to say that this recipe knocked the ball out of the park - I made it as mini muffins and the kids devoured the whole batch before they had time to cool.

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about 1 year ago Valerie

I made this last night, and we are all enjoying it for breakfast this morning. My 2 1/2 year old cannot eat gluten, and I really appreciate your website and recipes for giving me the confidence to bake and cook gluten-free. Thank you!

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over 1 year ago nycnomad

Seriously awesome! I added agave instead of maple syrup, and a little less than the recipe called for primarily because I like things a little less sweet but still, truly divine!

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over 1 year ago shauna.ahern

Goodness, I sit down to the computer for the first time today and find a firestorm of comments! Good. Conversation is the point here.

First of all, I probably don't have to say this, but I certainly haven't deleted any comments! I don't have access to the system here. I merely wrote the recipe and sent it to my editor. Nor would I delete a comment about maple syrup.

To answer the question about maple syrup, I don't believe it's any healthier than refined sugar. Sweeteners are sweeteners. There are many folks who talk about the fact that maple syrup still has some vitamins and minerals, while refined sugar has none. I don't get my vitamins from maple syrup, however. If you choose to make a baked good, for the most part you need a sweetener. (You're free to try a baked good without one. Let me know how it works!) And so, I like the maple syrup here because I like the flavor of the maple with the almonds and the bananas here. As I wrote, this is really about the flavors.

In fact, as you will see if you look at the headnote again, I never said this banana bread was healthier than a banana bread made with sugar. I wrote that I like the flavor better.

Healthy is a subjective term. A vegan wouldn't believe that a meat eater's diet is healthy. Someone who eschews all sweeteners, including fruit, would never approve of this recipe. Recipes are really just offerings. If it appeals to you, then make it!

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over 1 year ago Kaye

Thank you for addressing this, Shauna. I guess what I found confusing was that in that blog post you wrote that you "threw sugar out" and later "I'm done with sugar." (paraphrasing)

This seems at odds with still using maple syrup and possibly other sweeteners. I hope you can see how a reader could become confused over what you are saying. You are done with sugar, but maybe you meant white sugar, but then you just said that all sugars are essentially the same (which is correct, they're all simple carbs and none of them are very good for us).

If you still want to have the occasional sweet bite, fine, but when you also say that you've quit sugar, it seems a bit disingenuous.

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over 1 year ago Gwyneth

I'm confused by this passive-aggressive aside: "You're free to try a baked good without one. Let me know how it works!"... there are tons of wonderful savoury baked goods recipes out there that don't call for any sweeteners at all.

Do you mean trying to make *sweet* baked goods without any sweeteners?

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over 1 year ago shauna.ahern

Kaye, even if I am avoiding too many sweets or baked goods my days, I still bake for other people, including my daughter and husband.

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over 1 year ago shauna.ahern

Gwyneth, it wasn't meant as a passive-aggressive aside. I'd like to see someone make a banana bread without added sweeteners! That's what I love about baking: the creativity, the experimenting. I think that any baker will tell you that sweeteners in a banana bread are for more than flavor. They add structure to the baked good. Since this is a banana bread recipe, I was certainly talking about making a banana bread without sweeteners.

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over 1 year ago Liz

Gwyneth, I often make banana bread that's grain-free, gluten-free, and uses only fruit as sweeteners. The trick is using super-ripe bananas and measuring a set amount of mashed banana as opposed to adding a specific number of them. If added sweetness is desired, I add half a cup of date puree made by soaking dates in water and then zapping them in the food processor. Or, for some variation, you can omit dates and use almond or sunflower seed butter. Or you can add homemade apple sauce, freshly squeezed orange juice, etc - you'd have to play with the recipe to adjust accordingly, but it can be done. Cinnamon, cardamom, etc also help bring out the natural sweetness of the fruit.

If you've been avoiding non-fruit-derived sugar for a little while, it's plenty sweet, and has a great texture as well. It definitely looks and feels like a baked good, albeit a gluten-free one. Not quite the same as the stuff you'd buy at your regular bakery, but I got over that three years ago when I gave up gluten. You can't go into this expecting to see, for lack of a better word, mainstream banana bread. But you can go in expecting to get a yummy, wholesome, and, yes, sweet treat that has a mouthfeel much like bread.

My final two cents: I think this just comes down to the definition of "sweetener". Fruits, whether dried, fresh, or juiced, are all sweeteners. The argument is they are metabolized in a healthful way and come with the added value of vitamins and nutrients.

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over 1 year ago Kaye

One more thing that I should have mentioned before but I guess I forgot about it: what set the tone for me when reading this was this line toward the end and I think it was in a tweet that you tweeted about this Food52 column:
"The fact that it's gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, and refined sugar-free?" To me that implies that being free of refined sugar some how makes it nutritionally better than the same recipe with refined white sugar. If all sweeteners are pretty much the same thing nutritionally, as you have said here, then why the need to point out that there's no white sugar in this recipe?

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about 1 month ago NoONE

I use the full flavor, not the light agave in my Banana Bread, and it comes out perfect.

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over 1 year ago gentianviolet

Please use volume measurements, at least for liquids. A cup of water is a cup of water. A 1/2 cup of coconut oil is a 1/2 cup of coconut oil. I can go either way on measuring flours by volume or by weight, I don't have a preference because my baked goods come out great no matter how I measure them. However, I really appreciate it when recipe writers include both weight and volume measurements for dry ingredients. That way, nobody is left out.

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over 1 year ago shauna.ahern

You know, I bake by weight. Once the scale is out, it's much easier to measure the amount of coconut oil by weight. And the water. Fewer dishes! I don't use cups anymore. If you the measurements of ingredients like coconut oil or water are standard, then they should be pretty easy for you to find.

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over 1 year ago SuzyQueu

I wonder why they allow comments if they don't respond to the questions...

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over 1 year ago SuzyQueu

I tried posting my question under the Questions tab to see if I get a response

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over 1 year ago shauna.ahern

I was away from the computer and just sat down to these questions. There was no refusal to answer. It's August and we took a day off work.

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over 1 year ago SuzyQueu

Sorry, I'm a newbie to gluten free baking and got so excited about the prospect of GF pumpkin bread that I lost my manners. I hope you had a fabulous day off!

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over 1 year ago Kaye

I was just saying that maple syrup is not significantly different from refined white sugar as far as nutrition goes, but many people seem to think that it's superior. Same thing with honey and other "natural" sweeteners. Both my comment and someone else's on the subject disappeared. Are substantive discussions not allowed on this site?

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over 1 year ago Slimfender

Kaye,
I sometimes have trouble with my comments being posted, content isn't an issue. It's just a glitch in the system! :) Substantive discussions are very allowed!
I was wondering the same thing... and infact, thinking about substituting agave for the maple syrup, just because it's not quite as rich. What do you think?

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over 1 year ago Kaye

Oh ok, it just seemed odd because there was also another question about the sugar thing right after mine and that disappeared, too, but all the general comments were still there. As for agave, it's also a simple carb and really no better than white sugar. I don't about substituting it, my issue is with bloggers implying that alternative sweeteners are somehow more healthy for you than white sugar. They're not.

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over 1 year ago Slimfender

I think maybe what she was saying is that white sugar is refined and processed, where as sweeteners such as agave, honey, raw sugar, maple syrup etc. are less processed or "refined" and thus still contain some of their natural health benefits, for example... raw honey, which contains additional benefits which refined sugar does not. I absolutely agree with you, however... there isn't a difference in how the body processes it. It would be interesting to see what this recipe tastes like without ANY sweetener. I think bananas are pretty sweet themselves, don't you agree?

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over 1 year ago Slimfender

I also think it's important to note that the recipe's author said "Without the refined sugars, this banana bread tastes more of bananas than sweetness. You taste the nuts and their fats. You taste bananas and almonds and maple syrup."
This statement says nothing of health benefits of maple syrup vs refined sugar, but of a difference in taste. I don't know that it was her intent to imply that maple syrup is by any means healthier. I think what she's saying is that it has it's own flavor component, which it adds to the bread, where as white sugar just adds sweetness.

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over 1 year ago Kaye

Slimfender, if you read this in the context of her blog, then it does take on a different meaning. One of her recent blog posts was all about cutting sugar out of her diet and how much better she feels as a result. So when she points out that this recipe is free of refined sugar, it seems not so much that she is saying that the flavor is enhanced by maple sugar, it's that somehow maple sugar isn't as bad as white sugar. But they're basically the same thing, which is a simple carb. They boost your blood sugar the same way and then burn out quickly the same way.

Glutenfreegirl isn't the only one who seems to believe that alternative sugars are more healthy than refined sugar. There is an epidemic of it lately in the blog world.

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over 1 year ago Atlanta

I use a sugar substitute because I don't metabolize sugars well. However, this was a somewhat recent discovery after a blood test. At the time had it been implied to me that maple syrup &c. was a good "substitute" for refined white sugar I'd have used it thinking that I wouldn't get sleepy and tired as usual (and then would have been frustrated when I did anyways). The discussion here indicates that Shauna is being unclear as to why she is making subs for regular sugar. Is it for taste? Or does she persist in attributing a health benefit to non-refined sugars? She has no nutritional (or culinary) training, it should be noted--just a note to be wary for anyone who like me has health vulnerabilities relating to sugar!

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over 1 year ago shauna.ahern

Some people really don't like agave. It's a funny thing. Some insist maple syrup or honey or coconut nectar or agave are the healthiest sweetener. I tend to think they are all sweeteners and make the choice based on flavor and texture of the baked goods.

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over 1 year ago shauna.ahern

If you read the blog post I wrote about cutting down on my sugars, you'll know that I wrote "However, I do not believe that my path to better health is to switch that deeply ingrained need for sweetness to all-day treats with alternative sweeteners. I’m still only eating something sweet at the end of the evening. Most of the time, it’s a ripe peach, a handful of blackberries, or cherries off the tree. When you give up sugar, you can taste how sweet a roasted beet actually is." If I do decide to eat a baked good, I make it as good as I can to make it worth the work and the sweeteners.

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over 1 year ago shauna.ahern

This comment confuses me. Not only do I make it clear in the headnote that I chose maple syrup for its flavors, but I also wrote here in the comments that I don't think maple syrup is any healthier than refined sugars. Sweeteners are sweeteners. My discussion on it is pretty darned clear! I'm sorry that you have found you have health vulnerabilities relating to sugar. But since this is a baked good recipe, there are going to be sweeteners involved.

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over 1 year ago Kaye

Why was my comment about sugar deleted?

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over 1 year ago Gwyneth

It had an "accident," no doubt.

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over 1 year ago Kaye

I think I figured it out. There are two pages for this thing--the blog page and a separate recipe page. On the blog page right now there are 18 comments, some of them I think the same as on the recipe page but the recipe page has a lot of comments that aren't on the blog page. This really should be consolidated. Also, the blog page is very hard to find! You should be able to get to it by clicking on shauna's name at the very least. And as of this moment it is not even showing up when you click on her column.

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over 1 year ago Becky

I made this today and it is wonderful. Very moist and rich tasting. This is my banana bread recipe from now on.

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over 1 year ago shauna.ahern

I'm so glad you enjoyed it!

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over 1 year ago Janne Brorup Weston

Yes please can we have volume measurements

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over 1 year ago cathy

Your recipes always sound so good..wish you would include ounces as a measurement.

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over 1 year ago Jana

How much cinnamon? It's mentioned in the directions but not the ingredient list.

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over 1 year ago shauna.ahern

I can't figure out how to add it to the ingredient list here, since I don't know this website's system well. So I took the cinnamon out instead. However, if you'd like to put some in, I'd use about 1/2 teaspoon.

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over 1 year ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Shauna -- let me know if you'd like me to add back the cinnamon. I can do it!

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over 1 year ago SuzyQueu

Pumpkin bread is my favorite... what flour would you recommend using for pumpkin bread?