Best enjoyed with a cup of tea as a midday treat, banana bread is a fantastic, not to mention classic, option. It’s a breeze to throw together, and can easily be made gluten free, as Nicole Knegt from Four Spoons Bakery shows us…
A few years back, my husband and I ran a gluten-free micro-bakery at our local farmers’ market. Every Saturday, I would wake up while it was still dark to bake – I loved it. By the time I had finished, I had whipped up three versions of banana bread. All gluten free, of course, and all delightfully tempting, each in their own unique way.
For chocolate lovers, we threw in a handful of chocolate chips; for fruit lovers, we added blueberries or cherries (if in season); and sometimes we sprinkled in a dash of cinnamon.
This banana bread recipe is so simple, absolutely mouthwatering, and doesn’t require an extensive or expensive list of gluten-free flours. Apple sauce makes for a moist bread, while a touch of honey and vanilla bring lovely flavours to the table.
GLUTEN-FREE BANANA BREAD
Makes approx 10 thick slices
250g brown rice flour, plus extra for dusting
75g tapioca starch
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
250g ripe bananas (approximately 2 bananas)
185g apple sauce
70g sunflower oil
85g runny honey
2 free-range eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4. Grease and flour a 11cm x 21cm loaf tin, or line with greaseproof paper.
2. In a large mixing bowl, thoroughly combine all of the dry ingredients, together with ½ a teaspoon of sea salt.
3. In a separate bowl, mash the bananas with a fork, then add the remaining wet ingredients to the bananas and combine.
4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined (be careful not to overmix, as this can compromise the loaf’s ability to rise). Pour the batter into the prepared loaf tin.
5. Bake in the preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the loaf comes away clean. Once cooked, allow to cool in the pan before serving.
Once you’ve mastered this version, why not try mixing things up with these different twists?
- Cherry banana bread: Pour ⅓ of the batter into your pan and scoop in a few spoonfuls of cherry pie filling. Continue to layer batter and cherry filling, finishing with a few spoons of cherry filling the top of the loaf.
- Chocolate banana bread: Add 40g of cocoa powder to the dry ingredients.
- Cinnamon banana bread: Add 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon to the dry ingredients and leave out the vanilla.
- Chocolate chip banana bread: Add ½ cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips to the wet ingredients.
TRICKS FOR GLUTEN-FREE BAKING
- Xanthan gum is critical! It mimics gluten by thickening the batter – without it, the recipe will not work. If you prefer to bake without xanthan gum, it can be replaced with half a teaspoon of guar gum.
- Brown rice flour varies in texture. Some brands will have a fine grind, while others are much more coarse. I have found that it is always best to bake with a finely ground flour.
- Always allow your gluten-free baking to cool in the pan, as it will need time to set once removed from the oven.