SPELT BANANA BREAD
Who can say they don't love banana bread? Warm out of the oven, perfect for late night snacking, broken into bread pudding, or battered into french toast, it might just be my all time favorite bread to throw together and is also the perfect excuse to use up those spotty overripe bananas. Also, whose Mom didn't have this in her cooking arsenal growing up? It's so nostalgic and it makes your house smell lovely. When I think of a summer night out on the stoop, after a good meal, nothing sounds better than picking apart a warm thick slice of banana bread with a dollop of cold homemade spiced cream, silky whipped cream with fresh nutmeg, on top. There are different versions...Some like it with nuts, or raisins, buttermilk or sour cream, but for me the dairy and nuts aren't necessary. Like most perfect recipes handed down in life, it's best to keep it simple.
I tried a few versions and discovered it's best when it's moist, almost to the point of being able to spoon out like bread pudding, and the key to that moisture is adding an extra banana. Most recipes call for 2-3 but adding 4 bananas per loaf makes for the best banana bread hands down. Also, in place of wheat flour in most traditional recipes, I love to use spelt flour instead. Buckwheat works too but thats about it as far as wheat alternatives go. Spelt isn't mass produced so it hasn't been stripped of its nutrients like wheat. Unlike wheat which is hard to digest, your body recognizes spelt as a whole food and it's water soluble so the gluten it does contain is easily digestible, leading to anti-inflammatory qualities. Spelt contains an impressive nutritional profile including huge doses of B2, manganese, niacin, thiamin, and copper, which are all particularly useful for people dealing with migraines, atherosclerosis, or diabetes. It also has a nutty flavor and texture that works better for a soft banana bread and it doesn't make you feel as full. I'll be the first person to say that I love wheat especially since it's so addicting but sadly it's been so genetically altered throughout the years to the point that the grain has now become, even organic, not good for our bodies. More info on wheat flour in a great book I highly recommend called Wheat Belly.
Here's the best banana bread, in my opinion. Try it and tell me what you think!
4 ripe organic bananas
1 cup spelt flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup (unpacked) brown sugar
1/2 stick butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees fahrenheit. Butter a loaf pan (8 x 3 7/8).
2. Mash bananas in a small bowl.
3. In another bowl add dry ingredients - flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
4. In another bowl whisk together sugar and softened butter, then add the eggs and vanilla.
5. Now, to the wet ingredient bowl - add your dry ingredients and bananas and whisk until combined but don't over mix. You want the marbled bits of banana to show through.
6. Pour the mixture into your loaf pan and bake on the middle rack for 1 hour. Test with a fork through the middle. It should be barely cooked through (without the batter sticking).
7. Cover with foil for a few hours as it will still cook inside the loaf pan. It will come out moist as can be. Don't cut until cool (although I usually can't wait). Slather with a tab of creamy butter, tuck in and enjoy!