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CarlHmS

Paleo Banana Bread

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I just made a "paleo" banana bread by simply adding bananas to a coconut bread recipe I found online. The coconut bread was okay. This banana bread is awesome. I see no reason to even label it as "paleo". You could just tell people it's banana bread. I don't even taste coconut either so I'm calling it coconut purely for the fact that it identifies it as using coconut flour rather than normal flour. I normally weigh ingredients by gram but this is the first time making this recipe so I haven't translated it into grams yet. If I make it again I will do so and update.

Coconut Banana Bread

Ingredients:

6 eggs

1 tablespoon honey

3/4 cups coconut flour (84g)

1/2 cup coconut oil (if you don't mind dairy you can also use butter)

1/2 teaspoon salt (if you're not picky just sprinkle some salt in there, doesn't have to be exact)

1 teaspoon baking powder

3 medium bananas (300g)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 300F. Grease a small (9"x 5") loaf pan. Put flour, salt, and baking powder in a large mixing bowl. Blend together eggs and banana. Melt coconut oil or butter. Add eggs, banana, oil, and honey together and mix. Then pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredient bowl and mix well. Typically you'll have to let this rest for a few minutes, stirring occasionally to get the coconut flour to absorb. Try to get it smooth with no lumps. You'll probably need something that plugs into the wall to assist you there. Pour into the loaf pan and bake for about 1 hour. If you bake at 350 the edges will threaten to burn while the middle will still be uncooked so it's better to cook lower for longer. In the future I'm going to experiment more with adding protein powder to help dry it out. I've tried using 15g of whey so far and it was still a bit moist.

Nutrition:

You get a really moist and delicious banana bread as the result. Macros are far better than normal banana bread. To be fair, the fat is mostly from coconut with some contributed by eggs, so at least it's good fats. The carbs are from coconut, banana, and a little honey, so not too bad there. Tons of fiber because coconut is a fiber powerhouse. And most of the protein is from eggs with a bit coming from the coconut and banana as well.

For the whole loaf:

calories: 2246 / fat: 166 / protein: 63 / carbs: 194 (125 net) / fiber: 69

For 1 slice, which to me is about 1/9 of the loaf, maybe 1" thick:

calories: 250 / fat: 18.5 / protein: 7 / carbs: 21.5 (14 net) / fiber: 7.5

For comparison, an equal piece of banana bread from the typical recipe gives you:

calories: 347 / fat: 13.5 / protein: 4.5 / carbs: 52.5 (51 net) / fiber: 1.5

And keep in mind that in the traditional recipe the fat is from either butter or margarine, the protein is mostly gluten, and the carbs are primarily from wheat and sugar.

Despite being high in fat, the paleo recipe has less calories because it's not packed with an ungodly amount of sugar and flour. To be fair, I'm sure you could find a lower calorie traditional recipe somewhere, I just took that one from food network because it's the first one I saw. I'm not gonna figure out the nutrition for a bunch of different recipes, unless you want to pay me to do it. In any case, the best you're probably going to do is match calorie for calorie with the paleo bread but it will be made of junk ingredients. So you can't win with the traditional recipe. The paleo bread tastes great, in my opinion, so no problem there either. And I just ate it plain, no topping at all, and it's still tasty. The only downside to the paleo bread is that coconut products are expensive.

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Your serving is a pretty chunky "slice" ;)

I will attempt to reproduce your results this weekend. Strictly in the interest of science, of course.

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Yeah, I admit that's pretty large. It's probably better to make it 1/9th the loaf which would be about 1 inch. I'll update.

Of course, it's all about the science. That's also why I lift and pose in front of the mirror. I'm running an experiment.

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Ran your recipe. Taste was pretty good, everybody in the family was willing to eat it. As you mentioned, though, the rise was almost nonexistent. Came out quite flat with a texture similar to a bar cookie.

A couple ideas I think might help:

  1. Sift flour before measuring.
  2. Replace about 1/4 coconut flour with some other nut flour like almond.
  3. Add in some soluble fiber like psyllium or xanthan gum.

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Those are all good ideas. Mine did not come out like a cookie bar at all, that's interesting. Mine was pretty much a dense cake, like banana bread or pound cake.

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I think a lot has to do with the density of the particular coconut flour one uses. Measuring by weight should help to ensure consistent quantity. But I think particle size matters too. I'm using some generic bulk bin stuff so who knows.

But regardless, bread needs some "glue" to soften the texture, mitigate some of the protein rubbery-ness, and harden up to provide structural support after cooling. This function is normally accomplished by the starch in regular grain flours; nut flour breads and especially coconut flour are lacking in this department, hence the need for some supplemental starch or mucilage to get closer to a "bready" texture and prevent "deflation" as it cools.

Another thing I thought of is that traditionally I use only baking soda for banana bread; perhaps using the baking powder left it with too low a pH and that killed the bubbles. Bananas actually are fairly acidic.

At any rate, caught the youngest snitching some so it must taste pretty good.

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What do you think about white rice flour, would that work for the starch? I've done my fair share of baking but I don't know the science of it all. Next time I make it I will omit the baking powder, sift the flour, and measure everything by weight.

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Anything starchy will make the texture more "bready". Macro-wise, though, it'll add empty carbs, which isn't ideal.

If you're going to weigh, I don't think sifting is really necessary. The main advantage of sifting is that it evens out the density of the flour for more consistent measurement. Not a problem if measuring by weight.

My next attempt I'll make these adjustments:

Add 2 tbsp psyllium powder (pre-hydrated to a thick gel)

Add 1/4 tsp baking soda (I'm also hoping the extra alkaline will improve browning of the crust.)

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Second attempt didn't improve much. Still collapsed after baking into a fairly dense mass. Mucilage is clearly not the answer here.

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My second attempt turned about about the same as my first. I measured all ingredients by weight this time and blended it up to make sure it was super smooth. That made it a little better then my previous attempt in that regard. It does collapse a little bit after it cools but mine still has the consistency of a banana bread, not a cookie. I use Bob's Red Mill flour if that makes any difference. I'll have one more go of it probably today and I'll omit the baking powder and use baking soda instead.

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After miscellaneous other experiments with other recipes, I'm beginning to think that using coconut flour exclusively reliably leads to a slimy texture. At least, the bulk bin coconut flour I happen to have on hand does.

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That's interesting. My bread definitely comes out really moist, but it's not what I'd call "slimy". I've got another loaf in the oven now. I used baking soda and not baking powder. I weighed everything. I blended it really smooth. And since I know protein powder really dries things out I added 15g of whey to the mix. We'll see how it works out. Mine comes out well enough that even if I can't improve it it's still worth making for myself. It's not cheap though with the coconut flour and coconut oil. I guess you could sub that out for butter though.

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Well the middle still collapsed when it cooled, even with the changes. Other than that it's basically the same. It might be a little drier for having the protein powder. Perhaps even more protein powder would help. In any case it's still good. The only thing I could say is perhaps the Bob's Red Mill coconut flour is different than the bulk stuff you bought.

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A convection oven helps. 

 

If it's too moist, cook it longer. Here's my recipe btw, based on almond flour. I make my own coconut bread as well. 

 

Coconut Almond Bread: https://www.dropbox.com/s/jcrjolp5out6ogc/Coconut%20Almond%20Bread.docx

 

Cacao Banana Bread: https://www.dropbox.com/s/puirsg3sqs74afj/Cacao%20Banana%20Almond%20Bread.docx

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