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Buttermilk Banana Bread


The richness in this reduced fat banana bread is from buttermilk, not butter, so it has 1/4 the saturated fat.

12 slices (each has 200 calories, 5.7 grams fat, just 0.9 grams saturated fat)

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  • 2 1/8 cups (250 grams) whole wheat flour (white spring wheat has a milder taste than traditional red wheat)
  • 1/2 cup (60-grams) walnuts, chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking powder (double-acting)
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon (3.4-grams) chia seed (optional, but improves omega-3:omega-6 ratio)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice (optional)
  • 1 3/4 cups (454-grams) very ripe bananas (about 5 to 6 sweet, brown speckled ones, 1 1/2 pounds before peeling)
  • 1/2 cup (110-grams) brown sugar (or 2/3 cup raw sugar such as Turbinado or Sucanat, which has a lighter caramel taste)
  • 1/2 cup (124-grams) buttermilk (reduced fat is fine)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon (16-grams) melted butter (or canola oil)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon (3-grams) kosher sal (or 1/2 teaspoon table salt)
  • OIL & FLOUR PAN with:
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1/8 cup flour


Servings 12
Preparation time 20mins
Cooking time 95mins


Step 1

If you are planning ahead, buy bananas one week before and store in a paper bag at room temperature or warmer. I put them into a paper bag in my oven, which stays around 85 degrees because of the pilot light.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Grease a 10.5x5x3-inch loaf pan with 1 teaspoon butter and powder with 1 tablespoon flour and set aside. (A standard 9x5x3-inch pan will also work. You'll have a slightly higher loaf and maybe a little more cooking time.)

If adding walnuts, chop 1/2 cup walnuts (60-grams) into pea-sized pieces, about one-quarter of a walnut half, and set aside.

In a medium bowl (I use my pyrex 1-quart measuring cup), combine bananas, sugar, vanilla and salt. Mix with a potato masher until smooth. Whisk in any spices (cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice) and a teaspoon of chia seed if you want to improve the omega-3 to omega-6 ratio. Set aside

Add the remaining wet ingredients (eggs and buttermilk, melted butter or oil) and mix thoroughly. You should have about 3-1/4 cups of the wet ingredients.

In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients, except walnuts. Sift the flour and whisk in the leavening agents (baking powder and baking soda).

Mix the wet banana mixture into the dry flour mixture, just until moistened. Use a spatula or whisk and stir from the bottom, but don’t mix too thoroughly or you will bake a banana brick. You don't want pockets of flour, but it is fine if the batter still has some streaks of flour.

Pour the batter into the oiled-and-floured pan. If adding nuts, pour batter one-third at a time, and alternate with a sprinkling of half the chopped walnuts, keeping them 1/2-inch away from the edge of the pan.

Let the batter rest in the pan at room temperature for 10 minutes.

Bake for 1 hour, 15 minutes at 350°F, or until center registers 210°F and a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean.

Allow to cool on stove top for 15 minutes then remove from pan and transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before slicing.

Tightly wrapped the bread would keep at room temperature for about 5 days. If your banana bread didn't rise sufficiently, you either used expired baking powder, mixed the batter too much, or forgot to add the sugar or buttermilk. Don't fret: make french toast.

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