As some of you may be aware, I did a vegan week a couple of weeks back- you can read about my plans for that here. This is sort of a follow up to that really as I didn’t have time to schedule a post nearer the time, and also a lovely recipe that I created for a dairy free banana bread.
The vegan week itself was really interesting because even though I’d been a vegetarian for 8/9 years before this, I’ve never really committed to another type of diet before- the thought of excluding carbs from my diet is just sacrilege to me. It’s also really difficult to constantly be asking yourself ‘Can I eat this? Does it contain ___?’ especially with things that you wouldn’t even think about such as pasta. However what the week did teach me was that I actually don’t miss the excessive amounts of dairy (particularly cheese/milk) that I was giving myself in my diet beforehand.
The reason behind creating this recipe is that I still don’t really eat much dairy since that week. I’ve continued eating meat although on a small scale (one meal a week will be meat, 2/3 will be fish, and the rest will be veggie options), I’ve cut down on the amount of wheat and gluten in my diet and also dairy, by switching out regular skimmed milk for coconut- although never almond milk, that stuff tastes like soil… I mean, just earthy. It’s vile, don’t do it.
I wanted to create a dairy free recipe for cake but was too nervous as I’ve made muffins with an oil substitute before and they turned out like solid dumplings with an oil base. They were honestly horrific and I try not to think about them. After quite a while thinking about it, I came up with a way to get the ratio between banana, oil and flour right and I think the end result went quite well! My first attempt was flatter and a lot sweeter, and my second was still quite small but a lot more bitter- I couldn’t quite make up my mind with the sugar quantity so this is still very much a work in progress and the quantity will vary depending on how ripe (and therefore sweet) your bananas are and the type of sugar you’re using- you can see the differences in the photos below
Attempt #1 with more sugar
Attempt #2 with less sugar but 10 mins longer in oven
- 2 ripe, spotted bananas
- 1.5 cups self-raising flour
- 1/2 cup oil- I used sunflower, you can use vegetable oil etc
- 1/2 cup sugar- I used light brown soft which is sweeter so only used just over 1/4 cup in my second batch
- 1tbsp cinnamon powder
- 1tbsp vanilla extract
- 1tbsp chia seeds- you can also use sunflower seeds, crushed walnuts etc
- 1tsp baking powder
- Drizzle of honey
- Pre-heat the oven to 180C and line a loaf tin with greaseproof paper, leaving a little over the edges so that you can lift the loaf out whilst it’s still hot after baking. Place onto a small baking tray to help with lifting in and out of the oven.
- Chop up the bananas and place in a mixing bowl along with the sugar. Mash until there are no more lumps- I actually found it easier mashing them on a plate because the flat surface meant it was easier to see all of the mixture.
- Once you’ve finished the mashing, add the oil and stir until fully incorporated. It should be a really loose liquid at this point and won’t look particularly appealing, don’t worry- this is normal!
- Next, add your cinnamon powder and honey. At this point you can also add nutmeg or any other spices to enhance the flavour of the loaf and give it more depth rather than just being banana-y.
- Sieve the flour, baking powder and salt into the mixture and fold don’t stir or overwork- you want it to have a bread-like quality so overworking will cause the loaf to deflate in the oven and it’ll be really small and sad looking!
- Once you’ve folded the mixture, add the chia seeds or whatever seeds you’re using at this point. Fold again until the seeds are incorporated.
- Spoon the batter into the loaf tin and bake in the centre of the oven. Baking time varies from loaf to loaf depending on what ingredients you’ve used and the sugar content etc, but I’ve found that it takes around 50-60 minutes so set 40 minutes on a timer as a benchmark and work in 10 minute increments from then, using the knife test to see whether the loaf is fully cooked.
- When you’re sure it’s cooked through, remove the loaf tin from the oven and use the excess baking parchment to lift it out of the tin and onto a cooling rack for about 20 minutes before slicing.
This loaf keeps in an air-tight container for about 2-3 days and is a perfect accompaniment to a cup of tea on a rainy day; or while watching the GBBO finale which is what I did when I made this on Wednesday! You can make this recipe vegan by excluding the honey and using a non bleached flour such as whole wheat flour (some people debate that white flour isn’t vegan as it’s bleached using animal bone product but this isn’t a fact so take this with a pinch of salt). Have fun with this recipe and experiment!
Have a lovely weekend,