Monday, May 10, 2010

Gluten Free Banana Cardamom Bread

Photo by Steve Apps of The State Journal.

I had no idea when the article was going to be printed so I didn't get a chance to warn people to keep an eye out for it.  So in the ennui filled late hours of the afternoon when they were both probably hiding from work in separate break rooms both the fella and my friend Tim texted me nearly the same sarcastic message.  "There's a great article on going gluten free in the paper you should look at."  

And there I was in the paper.  Well not technically me, more like my bread.  Even Lindsay who wrote the article isn't sure why there are three pictures of bread and no pictures of me in  the print article.  I guess the bread was just more photogenic than me.  Le sigh.  Given how great the pictures of my baking came out I'm thrilled they got all that attention though.

This loaf doesn't technically fit in with the French Diet considering the higher GI flours and the bananas but for the weight maintenance phase it would be a nice breakfast bread.  The diet aside, this bread is surprisingly good,  I made it and even I was blown away.  

The fella had this great recipe for a banana cardamon loaf he used to make when we were first dating so when I needed an idea for another bread recipe I decided to use that recipe to reverse engineer it into a gluten free version.  And it worked out really nice.  Gluten free it isn't quite as fluffy but since it's a desserty bread it doesn't interfere with the enjoyment of it at all.  Smeared with a little honey the fella and I really enjoyed nibbling on it with Lindsay and her fella literally seconds after the photographer got done with it.  It smelled that good we couldn't resist any longer.

Gluten Free Banana Cardamom Bread

2/3 cup warm water (temperature around 110 is best)
1 teaspoon yeast
1 generous pinch of sugar

3 cups Bob Red Mill Baking and Biscuit Flour blend
1/2 cup ground flax seed
1 tablespoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons honey or agave nectar
2 very ripe bananas well mashed

arrowroot or tapioca starch to flour work surfaces
1 teaspoon sesame seeds

Put the warm water in a small bowl.  Whisk in the yeast and sugar and let stand about 10 minutes or until it turns bubbly.  If the water doesn't become frothy it means the yeast isn't active and you need new yeast or the water was too hot or cold to activate it so try again.

Stir together the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.  When well combined add in the yeasty water, honey, and bananas.  Gradually incorporate the mix into a soft dough with a wooden spoon and your fingers, adding a little more water if necessary to get a dough like consistency that isn't too dry and crumbly. 
Dust a cutting board or very clean counter with arrowroot or tapioca starch (you don't want to add anymore flour to the dough, you want to use a sticky starch that won't dry out the bread for this purpose).  Knead the dough for a minute or so until it is sticky and well combined.  Return it to the bowl and cover with a damp dish towel to allow to rise for about 2 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.

After it has risen, remove the dough from the bowl back to the dusted work surface and divide into three equal pieces.  Roll each piece into a short fat oblong shape and braid the three together.  Place the dough on a greased baking sheet and loosely cover with plastic wrap.  Let stand until it rises a little bit again.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Brush the dough with a bit of water and then sprinkle with sesame seeds.  Bake for 10 minutes then lower temperature of oven to 400 degrees.  Cook for a further 15 minutes or until the loaf is browned and sounds hollow when tapped.

This will be a very dense dessert like loaf of bread and is best served with a little honey or raspberry jam.  Store in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator. 

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