Gluten Free Banana Nut Bread – Baking Tips from Experience

Gluten free baking isn’t easy.  Recipes are often dry, crumbly, and even not tasty.  In our last two years, we’ve thrown away our fair share of baking experiments.  Here’s a recipe that my husband recently did and modified slightly.  First you’ll find the Original recipe below and (and can find it on Taste of Home).  Keep reading – I’ll share some of his cheats.


2 cups gluten-free all-purpose baking flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 eggs

2 cups mashed ripe bananas (4-5 medium)

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/3 cup canola oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, bananas, sugar, applesauce, oil and vanilla. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.
  2. Transfer to two 8-in. x 4-in. loaf pans coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with walnuts. Bake at 350° for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Yield: 2 loaves (12 slices each).

If you are new to GF baking, this recipe is an amazing starter recipe.  Using bananas and apple sauce to create moisture aids in preventing the breads from drying out and helps to make it sticky.  Gluten is like glue for baked goods — it makes things stick and hold together and traps moisture.  If you remove the gluten, you lose those things.  Flour selection is super important.  Some flours are more nutty flavored, more grainy.  Some flours, like coconut flour, tend to not hold as well in certain recipes.  If you can find a blend that you enjoy the flavor of, it’s often a great way to go.  If you like to experiment more, finding two or three types that you like best and making your own blend is a great way to  go too.  In this case, we use an imported flour from Germany.  It’s been one of the best we’ve come to find.  I’ll share a post about flours here in the coming future.

For ours, we don’t have any canola oil in the house and so he substituted butter for the oil.  His father is a baker from Germany and hates vanilla extract and brought us some vanilla sugar from Germany when he made our wedding cake back in May.  It’s a sweeter version and comes in granule form.  We also didn’t have baking soda and so he subbed baking powder .  Our applesauce was a strawberry container from Motts that was unsweetened.  Works just as well and add a small hint of additional flavors.

His changes aren’t particularly fancy but I want to highlight that there’s room for movement in gluten free baking.  As you get the hang of it, you can fudge around the recipes and create great items with the pieces you have in the house.  The goal is to remember fundamentals — the things you need to replace in the baking are important.  If this wasn’t full of banana, applesauce and eggs — I would have even likely thrown in some Xanthan Gum to poof it up a bit.  There’s hope in GF baking.

What are some of your favorite recipes?  Or tricks to banana bread?  I was used some GF chocolate and made a chocolate banana bread out of a similar recipe.  So yum!

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