Who wouldn’t want Banana Bread that is good tasting and good for you? Cooks across the country have purchased grain mills to bake better whole grain bread. Fresh milled flour is certainly better than anything found in the grocery isles, but it stops short of releasing the full nutritional potential of whole grains.
For cooks looking to add optimal nutrition to their baked goods, sprouting grains or soaking fresh milled flour is the optimal way to go. Soaking the flour overnight increases the vitamin content and absorption of the beneficial nutrients in grains. This important step also breaks down the phytic acid that blocks absorption of important minerals and interferes with digestion. As described in Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon, soaking allows enzymes, lactobacilli and other helpful organisms to break down and neutralize phytic acid.
Wheat, spelt, or kamut flour works well for this recipe. Soft white wheat is lower in protein and higher in carbohydrates than hard wheat varieties making it ideal for pastries, cookies, muffins, cakes, pancakes, and waffles. Less sweet than traditional recipes, this Banana Spice Bread recipe produces a moist, tender crumb, rich banana flavor, and all the nutrition you would expect from whole grains. Fresh milled flour soaked overnight and loaded with six ripe bananas provides a healthy on-the-go breakfast or snack.
- 1¾ cups fresh ground soft white wheat flour, sifted
- 1¼ cups buttermilk or kefir
- 2 whole eggs, lightly beaten
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ⅓ cup maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ cup butter, melted
- 6 very ripe bananas, dark brown is best
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ginger
- ½ cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
- Mix freshly ground flour in buttermilk or kefir just until moist, cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit in a warm place for 12-24 hours.
- Preheat oven to 350°. Line the bottom of a loaf pan with parchment paper and spray loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- Place 5 peeled bananas in a microwave-safe bowl, or large 4-cup measuring cup. Cover with a plate as a lid, set slightly askew to allow steam to escape. Set the measuring cup/bowl on another plate in case the banana juices run over. Microwave on high for about 5 minutes until bananas have released liquid. Transfer bananas to a mesh strainer placed over a bowl. Allow to drain, stirring occasionally.
- While bananas are draining, combine melted butter, egg, baking soda, salt, spices, maple syrup, vanilla, and stir well.
- Once bananas have released their liquid, transfer liquid to a saucepan and cook over med-high heat to reduce and concentrate. You should end up with about ¼ cup of liquid. Mash bananas and add to mixture of butter, eggs, and spices. Once the banana liquid is reduced, combine with wet mixture.
- Stir soaked flour and nuts into wet mixture until well combined. Pour into prepared loaf pan.
- Slice 1 banana into ¼ inch thick slices. Shingle banana slices on each side of loaf, leaving a wide space down center of the loaf so it rises properly. Bake for 1½ hours, or until toothpick inserted in the center, comes out clean. Begin checking loaf at 1 hour--depending on the size of the loaf pan, the cooking time will vary. Cool in the pan on wire rack 15 minutes before removing loaf. Continue to cool on wire rack.
- Best when served warm.
If you are not yet ready to make a commitment to buy a grain mill to grind your own, but want the benefits of sprouted grain, there are commercial sources available for purchasing such flours. If sprouted grain flour is used, you can skip soaking the flour.
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