Sunday, February 10, 2013

Sugarless Whole Wheat Banana Nut Bread first ever reader request Post!! Requested by none other than a very very close family friend of ours..Poonam Di, this one's for you :)

Di or Didi is how you respectfully address an elder sister in Hindi. Poonam Di and her family are very dear to us..we have a lot of fun with them. She is a wonderful cook herself and believes in homemade food a lot. In fact, although I loved cooking, as a student I didn't find much time. After moving to the Bay area from Chico State, seeing her cook in her kitchen was truly inspiring. She made and still makes so many things from scratch, grinds fresh garlic and ginger in a mortar and pestle and kneads flour in a food is all quite balanced, wonderful and delicious.
The Whole Wheat Banana Bread has a funny story. The first time I made it, Vibes & I quickly visited them to share it. Coincidentally, Poonam Di had 2 loaf pans baking in the oven of..guess what..Banana Bread. That was some really good Banana bread..agreed it had all the good things in it, but was a wonderful wonderful recipe..hmm, now I think I should ask if she has it.

The whole wheat bread, on the other hand was a lot chewy, not moist and very dense. The results with white flour have to be different, but what I wanted to work for my recipe was the sugarless part of it. The sweetness in my bread comes from Dates. The idea came from my father's silly joke. He would always pop a couple of dates after dinner. When asked , "What are you eating Papa?" The answer would always be a goofy, "Poor man's dessert..Dates." Dad has had healthy food habits forever, so he would always choose dates over an ice-cream, which is what we would have occasionally. (Anyone remember Choco Bar? ;) :D..Anyways, the ice-creams were quite expensive, at least for he would mock at us by calling dates as a poor man's dessert..LOL

This is a very healthy recipe. No sugar, no butter, made with  wheat flour and added nuts make it the best evening snack when we come home from work with a super growling tummy :). I have been working on it for over 3 years now. Every batch is better than before. I have too many notes and alterations, but today I played with a few more ingredients, and may I say, it is the best batch ever. It rose perfectly. The wet dry ingredient proportion seemed to finally work. It is moist and very much bread like. I sometimes have it as a quick breakfast, while stepping out the door. Definitely Growling Tummies Approved..Oh and an original Growling Tummies recipe too. (Copyrights Reserved ;)

Sugarless Whole Wheat Banana Nut Bread
Original recipe by Jyoti Choudhary
2 1/2 cups Wheat Flour
2 teaspoons Baking Soda
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
3/4 cup Walnuts
1/4 cup Raisins (optional)
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Cinnamon (optional, but awesome)

4 medium sized Ripe Bananas
1 Whole Egg + 1 Egg White
1/2 cup Buttermilk (See Notes Below)
1 cup Chopped Dates
2 tablespoons Honey

Mix the first 7 dry ingredients well in a big enough bowl. Whisk and keep aside.

Blend 1 cup chopped dates with 1/2 cup buttermilk to get a smooth paste. If you do find the dates to be a little tough to grind up, add a banana to this paste and you will start to get a shake like consistency.

Add the remaining 3 bananas one at a time and keep blending the mixture well.

Add this date/buttermilk/banana blend to the flour mixture in the bowl. Mix well.

Add the eggs and honey and mix well. The batter will be thick.

Spray a 9x5 inch loaf pan with some cooking spray (Pam)

Pour batter in the prepared loaf pan. Smooth out the top with a spatula. Allow to rest for 10-15 minutes in the pan.

Meanwhile, arrange the oven rack in the middle and preheat the oven to 350°F

Place the pan in the oven once heated, for 40-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the bread comes out clean. After the 30 minute mark keep checking every 10 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes. Unmold and allow the bread to cool completely on a wire rack.

All set to be buttered up..Pair it with my Cinnamon n Spice Peanut Butter..or make it into a French toast..tastes great!! Let me know how you like it!!

  •  Buttermilk: I make my own. For a 1/2 cup of buttermilk; add 1/2 tablespoon white vinegar to an empty measuring cup and then add milk to bring it to the 1/2 cup measuring mark.
  • Aluminium or Stoneware Loaf Pan: I use a stoneware loaf pan and it took me 50 minutes with my oven. If you are using an aluminium loaf pan the baking time may differ. It is said that glass baking dish attains and retains the heat around cakes and breads, hence takes less time to bake. So, in my head the bread could take a while longer, so always keep checking with a toothpick after the 30 minute mark.
  • Eggs: I used 2 whole eggs but experimented by eliminating one egg yolk and the results were great. Next time I might use 3 egg whites instead. If you try this, please let me know the results.
  • Flavors: You can really mix it up to make different flavors of Banana Nut Bread. I have used a teaspoon of Cinnamon in here. But, I have used 3 tablespoons of Unsweetened Cocoa powder to give it a lovely chocolate flavor. I have also added 2 tablespoons of Instant Coffee, lovely lovely coffee flavor.You could also add 1/2 teaspoon of Vanilla essence, if you like that...Let your imagination wild.

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