Gluten-free Curious…

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Gluten-free Curious…

No, I’m not Celiac… I guess you can call me gluten-free curious. Working towards the launch of the new gluten sensitive menu at BRAVO! forced me to reevaluate the nutritional value of using only white flour in my baked goods and explore the added health benefits of flour alternatives. I choose whole grains for bread, cereal and crackers, and I have dabbled with whole wheat flour in baking…never to a satisfying end. So, when I read about gluten free almond flour, I was intrigued. Why not use a flour that is low in carbs, high in protein and fiber, as well as low on the Glycemic index? The question is how will it taste?

After sifting through blog taste tests, I settled on Honeyville Farms Blanched Almond Flour and ordered a 5lb bag. When the bananas in my fruit basket started to turn, I jumped at the chance to play with my new ingredient. Unable to find a reliable suggested ratio of white flour to almond flour, I decided to start with a one to one. The result? A delectable banana bread with a nice crumb and surprisingly light texture.

Flour Power Banana Bread

Wet ingredients

  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • Dry ingredients
  • 1 cup all purpose flour or brown rice flour
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup Greek yogurt (hot water or apple sauce may be substituted) – I happened to use Oikos Peach for this test

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Mash the bananas with a fork (or your clean hands!) and whisk in eggs and butter. In a separate bowl, whisk dry ingredients together. Combine wet and dry ingredients. Fold in water, applesauce or yogurt.
  3. Spray metal loaf pan with Baker’s Joy (cooking spray with added flour) or use a silicon loaf pan. Pour batter into pan and bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a toothpick, once inserted, pulls out clean.

The banana bread passed the taste test. No one suspected the difference, but the down-side of the almond flour is the added calories. Nutritionist Joy Bauer recommends substituting only 1/3 cup of flour with almond flour to reap the benefit of the almond flour without adding excessive calories to your white, wheat or brown rice flour mixture. Whether you are gluten sensitive or just looking to maximize the health benefits of your ingredients, almond flour is worth a try.

Happy eating,

CB

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