Wednesday, March 30, 2011

100% Whole-Wheat Banana Bread

100% Whole-Wheat Banana Bread

I'm not sure why...but I prefer my banana bread without nuts. I love to just savor the fresh banana flavor all on its own without the nuts. I don't mind having nuts in my muffins, but I just like my banana bread plain. To make this banana bread healthier, I replace all-purpose flour with WHITE whole wheat flour. The banana bread is still quite moist and delicious with the replacement of the whole wheat flour. Instead of butter, I use EXTRA LIGHT olive oil. I'm replacing the saturated fat from the butter with a healthier fat from the olive oil. Lastly, I replace the sour cream with reduced-fat (or low fat) Greek yogurt which will be a healthier alternative. The results is a moist banana bread with the a rich banana flavor. My friends cannot believe they are eating 100% whole wheat banana bread. The banana bread tends to be more flavorful and more moist with age. This recipe makes two loaves. When the banana bread is completely cooled, I like to wrap each loaf in plastic wrap. and leave one out to eat. The second loaf is double-wrapped in heavy duty aluminum foil and placed in the freezer until l I'm ready to eat it. This banana bread freezes well.

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons plain reduced-fat (or low fat) Greek-style yogurt (5 ounces)
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 cups WHITE whole wheat flour (1:2.4 pounds)
4 teaspoons baking powder (0.6 ounce)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup EXTRA LIGHT olive oil or expeller-pressed canola oil (7 ounces)
2 cups granulated sugar (13.6 ounces)
4 large eggs
2 cups fork-mashed very ripe bananas, about 3-1/2 bananas (1:0.8 to 1:1.7 pounds)
2 cups chopped toasted walnuts or pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Position oven rack to the center of the oven.

Spray two 9- by 5-inch loaf pans with nonstick baking spray and line the bottom of each loaf pan with parchment paper. Set aside.

Combine the yogurt and baking soda in a small bowl. Set aside.

Sift flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl. Set aside.

Using an electric mixer with the wire whisk attachment, beat together the oil and sugar for 5 minutes on medium speed, scraping down sides once or twice. Beat in eggs, one at a time, on slow speed, scraping down sides of bowl and beating well after each addition. Add the bananas and yogurt mixture and mixing just until well combined. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions on slow speed, about 7 seconds per addition, scraping downsides of bowl before each addition. Flour mixture will not be completely incorporated, but that's okay. After the last addition of the flour and mixing on slow speed for 7 seconds, increase speed to medium for about 5 seconds; increase speed to medium-high for about 6 seconds; reduce speed back to medium for about 3 seconds. Remove from mixer and gently fold in nuts by hand, if using.

Divide batter into the prepared pans. Bake until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean and loaves are golden brown, about 60 minutes. Let loaves cool for about 5 minutes and then remove loaves from pan. Cool completely on a wire rack, about 1 hour. Wrap in plastic wrap.

Yields 2 loaves

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