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Monday, May 24, 2010

Experiments with Stevia or "Finally a Banana Bread I like that meets my standards"

I've been experimenting quite a bit with non-dairy baking for the wee ones and also with eliminating sugar from our diets and adding whole grains too.

Whole grains are tricky to get used to unless you've grown up exposed to them- I was, but the bulk of my family was not, so the dense texture bothers them. I found white whole wheat flour (flour ground from white wheat instead of red). It's much finer in texture and I find that I can substitute it cup for cup for AP flour in most recipes. Also I like to use whole wheat pastry flour, which is easier for me to get. Not every place in town has the white whole wheat flour-- King Arthur Fours makes a good white whole wheat flour and Bob's Red mill does too I think. Sadly-- I've never found a WW banana bread that still tasted like banana bread to me-- the WW flavor always outweighs the mild banana taste I love so much. And I've found that in order to compensate by adding more banana then you have a loaf that is too mushy and moist, ick!

I like to use stevia in my baking instead of sugar. Previously I would sub out 1 teeny tsp of pure stevia extract in the powdered form (the size that comes in the jar) for 1/4 cup sugar and add non fat dry milk (1/4 cup) to make up for the bulk lost by not including the sugar. I found that in most recipes you can make the substitution successfully. However, when you have dairy free ones that trick no longer works! In order to avoid the stevia aftertaste I've found that you MUST include a small portion of other sweetener in your baking. Here, I've used white sugar-- next time I'll try it with succanat, but you could also use agave nectar or honey if you prefer. I can usually cut all but 1/4-1/2 cup of sugar out of the recipe depending on the size of the batch. This one makes two loaves. Any less than two loaves is futile in my house-- the kids can devour a loaf in minutes flat! I've been experimenting further and found a different product it's a stevia compound that is primarily stevia but also includes honey powder. Many stevia recipes are not written using the stronger straight stevia like the one I showed you at first-- they use tsp. as a measurement and if you use a tsp of pure stevia in anything you'll be gagging like crazy!! The stevia compound appears to be about 1tsp. of compound to 1 cup sugar- with 1/4 cup of other sweetener for a good substitution and then add 1/2 cup of some bulking agent such as eggs, banana, pumpkin puree, yogurt, or applesauce. Increase the liquid as well by 2T.

In order to make this recipe non- dairy I use either Spectrum's solid shortening or a good high quality coconut oil- but if dairy isn't an issue you can use real butter. I have a terrific recipe that uses buttermilk, but I simply can't replace buttermilk successfully -- I don't like all the non-dairy subs, they just don't cut it.. IMHO.

So here it is:

Good Enough Banana Bread

1c. + 2T. butter, shortening (spectrum), or coconut oil

1/2 c. sugar or other sweetener ( I've used honey, agave nectar or succannat)

2 tsp. stevia compound

5 large eggs

6 med bananas, mashed

2 tsp. vanilla extract

3 c. white ww flour

1 T. baking powder- aluminum free

1 tsp. fine sea salt like Orsa or Celtic

Blend together shortening, stevia, sugar and eggs till smooth. Add banana puree , vanilla, and in a separate bowl mix all dry ingredients together- blend with the wet ingredients and bake in a 350 degree oven for an hour in greased pans. Makes two large loaves of banana bread or enough to last an hour!

* this would be divine with chopped walnuts or sunflower seeds 1 c. should do it-- but at our house we get grumbles so I don't add it usually. If I want to add nuts I usually grind them up first so they are undetectable.

1 comment:

kitchenrecovery said...

This banana bread recipe looks great!