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Unless otherwise noted, all recipes on this blog are free of gluten, peanuts, soy, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, shellfish, cane sugar, oranges, and yeast. Most recipes are also free of egg, dairy, and tree nuts (if used, reliable substitutions will be provided for these when possible). Check out my recipe index for a full list of recipes by category. 

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Friday
Dec172010

Buckwheat Banana Bread (gluten-free, vegan, low sugar)

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After a wild winter storm that dumped nearly 20" of snow upon the streets of Minneapolis in one day, I needed to feel cozy. I wanted to bake. And immediately, I thought of banana bread. Truthfully, I can't take credit for the idea - I was influenced by one of my most favorite blogs, My New Roots.  Sarah wrote a lovely post that discusses the Danish interest in hygge, the concept of being cozy, and her amazingly cozy recipe for Banana Bread. I have always loved the notion of hygge (perhaps my Danish ancestry makes me predisposed?), and was giddy to see her writing about it, especially in relationship to a lovely bread recipe.So, I found my way into the kitchen - where I spent most of last weekend - and made a batch of this lovely bread.  Sarah's culinary style is right up my alley, so I didn't need to do much to tweak the bread. I made the recipe gluten-free, using freshly ground flours, and made a few other small changes, but kept the spirit true to the original.

The result was lovely. It is sweet, but not too sweet. It is dense but still has a well-defined crumb. It is moist, but not gummy. It is flavorful and soft and chewy and makes me feel cozy inside. I really like this bread. And the bread stored well at room-temperature for almost 4 days (I don't believe it lasted that long). We all agreed it was best toasted or warmed up, but it was also good eaten plain.  I think it would make great french toast.  My housemate Mike (a guy who can eat everything) said, "This is good. Can I have another slice?" while chewing the last bite of a warm slice. He promptly returned from the kitchen with more, and ate it up. Over the next few days, we devoured the loaf, eating it slightly toasted, smeared with ghee. So good! My grain-free eating plan went totally out the window when the temperatures started diving toward the 0º F mark.  

I like to grind my flours fresh for the best flavor and freshness. For this recipe, the bulk of the flour is freshly ground hulled buckwheat groats and freshly ground millet.  If you've never baked with freshly ground buckwheat flour made from buckwheat groats, you're missing out. It has all the same great texture as regular dark buckwheat flour, but with a lighter, more neutral flavor and a light tan color. Regular buckwheat flour is made from buckwheat groats that still have the dark hull, which lend a dark color. When you grind hulled groats, you get light buckwheat flour. Pretty cool, right? Freshly ground millet flour is no different than what you'd buy in stores, except that it tastes better and is fresher.

I use a Vitamix to grind my flours. You can also use another high-powered blender like a Blendtech, a grain mill, a coffee or spice grinder, or perhaps a really good high-quality regular blender. Just grind until you have a fine powder, like flour. Done!

I think you'll really like this bread. It made me feel cozy inside and out, and filled the house with a warm, lovely smell that made us all smile. Winter is totally bearable with food like this around, isn't it?

Oh, and one more thing...

I'm starting a monthly newsletter! I think it will be fun. Sign up here, and I'll start sending out newsletters in January 2011. It's free and should be lots of fun. I plan to include all sorts of unique information, tips, featured foods, and a recipe each month. So sign up!

This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesday for 1/11/11 on Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free. Yay!

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Buckwheat Banana Bread, Gluten-Free and Vegan

adapted from My New Roots | yield 1 loaf pan 

This recipe calls for freshly ground flour. If you don't have a high-powered blender like  a Vitamix or a Blendtech, you can use a coffee grinder, spice grinder, grain mill, or even a high-quality regular blender - you just want to get a very fine flour.  If you don't want to grind them yourself, feel free to use pre-ground millet and light/white buckwheat flour.  

If you are vegan, be sure to choose a vegan oil instead of butter/ghee.

  • ¼ cup water or milk of your choice (coconut, rice, almond, hemp, cow, goat, soy…)
  • 1 cup whole buckwheat groats (or 1 cup + 2 Tbsp LIGHT buckwheat flour)
  • 1/2 cup whole millet grains (or 1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp millet flour)
  • 1/4 cup dark buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 cup arrowroot starch/flour, tapioca starch/flour, or a mixture of both
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum or guar gum (you can omit, but bread will be slightly crumbly)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • 6 Tbsp. olive oil or melted butter, ghee, or coconut oil
  • 6 Tbsp. maple syrup 
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 2 ¼ cups mashed ripe bananas (approximately 5 medium bananas)
  • 1 cup chopped nuts/seeds (I used cashews and sunflower seeds)
  • optional: 1/3 cup raw cacao nibs OR 1/2-3/4 cup chopped dark chocolate, Enjoy Life chocolate chips, unsweetened chocolate, carob chips, or homemade chocolate/carob chips
  • more cashews + chocolate/cocao for sprinkling on top 

Preheat oven to 350º F.  Line a loaf pan with baking paper.

Grind buckwheat groats and millet in a high-powered blender, coffee grinder, grain mill, or a very high quality regular blender. Transfer to a large bowl and combine with other dry ingredients, and set aside.

Put the milk, oil, maple syrup, vanilla, and bananas in the blender and blend until smooth.  Add banana mixture and combine using as few stroked as possible. Fold in nuts/seeds and chocolate/cacao. 

Spread into a cake pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle with additional nuts/chocolate. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Do not overbake. 

Let cool for 5-10 minutes, then remove from pan by lifting on the sides of the baking paper. Finish cooling on a rack, and store cooled loaf in an airtight container. This bread is delicious toasted, and freezes very well. 

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Reader Comments (13)

I have been craving banana bread for weeks, but having sugar issues I was having a hard time finding a vegan, GF, low sugar option - thanks!

Quick question about grinding in the Vitamix. Do you have the dry blade container made for grain grinding, or do you just use the regular wet blade container?

December 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMetta

Beautiful! We are such fans of your recipes. We also do Gluten-free vegan recipes, it's the best way to eat! I'm going to start ecperiementing more with buckwheat, thanks for the inspiration! :)

@Metta - I have the dry blade container, so I generally use it for grinding grains. However, you can use the wet blade container without a problem, I've done it many times. I hope it works for you!

@Jennifer and Jaclyn - I love buckwheat! I think you'll like baking with it. Buckwheat has a naturally gooey consistency that works super well in vegan baking, since it is already kind of sticky you don't need to worry about the "egg" factor quite as much. :) It makes great pancakes. The dark buckwheat has a very overpowering flavor that I enjoy, but is sometimes too much for delicately flavored things - so the light buckwheat works really well. Good luck!

December 17, 2010 | Registered CommenterKim @ Affairs of Living

Kim - this looks wonderful. I am definitely going to try it as I was just craving banana bread today. I will probably sub quinoa flour for millet as my goal is to not buy new grain-based flours (or any new grains for that matter) and work with the ones I have. I am slowly transitioning to more grain-free baking and eating as well and bought duck eggs yesterday. Fingers crossed I can tolerate them, as chicken eggs and I do not get along. Reducing my grain consumption has made a big difference for me, but I find eliminating them completely is not necessarily working for me. I am still figuring that one out.

December 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterValerie @ City|Life|Eats

Just wanted to stop by to say I made a half recipe of this loaf (using a slightly smaller loaf pan) and subbed quinoa flour for the millet and it worked out beautiful. It was the perfect Christmas morning breakfast :) Thank you :)

December 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterValerie @ City|Life|Eats

Yummy. I can' have bananas, so I converted this to pumpkin bread. It needs a tad more sweetener because bananas are sweeter than pumpkin, but my husband is begging for more. The texture is amazing - something I have had a challenge with in GF pumpkin bread. Thanks for the inspiration.

January 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLaurie Erdman

MMMMMMMMM,..I always love the combo fo buckwheat with bananas!! This bread rocks!!

MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM,..a great food present too!

Kisses from Brussels to you!

January 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSophie

Wow Kim! This looks awesome! Thanks for putting a spin on the recipe, and I am so glad to hear the gluten-free version worked out.
I appreciate the link to my site and I will be sure to post a link in my article to this adaptation.
You're the best!

Sarah B.

January 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarah B.

This looks really good! I love banana bread, especially healthy banana bread!

I've never tried grinding my own fresh flours. How do they compare to the store bought pre-ground flours?

January 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChristine

I made this and it was wonderful! I put it into muffin tins and froze most of them. They defrost wonderfully.

January 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMetta

That bread looks so comforting, I want to slather it with coconut oil and chow down! I have some very ripe bananas on the counter at the moment , can't wait to try this!

January 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMelanie

I have Candida issues. Is there a substitute for the maple syrup?

July 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

HI Melissa,
I've never made this without maple syrup, so I don't know how this substitute would work. But, you could try subbing 5 Tbsp water mixed with 1 Tbsp arrowroot starch and 30-40 drops of stevia liquid. I can't guarantee the result, but that is what I would do if I were trying it myself.

However, if you have Candida issues, this may not be the best bread for you anyway, since it contains bananas and bananas are highly concentrated in natural sugars. Just a thought. When my Candida issues were bad, I avoided bananas like the plague! Now I only eat them occasionally. Good luck!

Sorry, no comments/questions allowed right now.
Hi reader! My schedule as full-time grad student with two part-time jobs doesn't allow me the time to manage comments. I hope you enjoy what you find and can figure out answers to any questions you may have. xo