buckwheat banana bread

“I wonder if the neighbors think the guy in 720 and I are having some tawdry affair, as we wander to and fro each other’s apartments in the early morning hours. He brings me coffee at 5:30am, and I stroll over when I’m done for a refill. The fact that I tiptoe down the hall in my nighty, covered up with a sweater, must make it even more intriguing.”

I shared this thought with my friends on Facebook last week. It illicited a few chuckles, and talks of writing a screenplay. I’m sitting in Woodstock writing this post but my heart is back in Maryland. Settling in has not come without some bumps in the road; life has taught me to expect them, even though the height of each hurdle is still unknown as I thrust myself towards them. But, yes, we’re settling into routines, finding our footing as we delve deeper into becoming an “us”.

When I glanced at the overripe bananas sitting on my kitchen counter last week, it was only natural to make two loaves instead of one. I turned on the oven, and began to pluck ingredients from the cupboards. This recipe is a departure from the dairy-free and refined sugar-free cooking style I spent  perfecting the last few months.

The main reason for the using dairy was because I’d run out of grapeseed oil the afternoon I decided to bake this quick bread. If you want to swap in an equal amount of oil in place of the melted butter, go for it. Grapeseed, sunflower, and safflower should all work fine. Coconut oil may be a little too dense, and might need to be reduced (4 to 6 tablespoons, instead of the full 8, is my suggestion). I’d be cautious of olive oil as its strong flavor might not play so nicely with the bananas. As for the sugar, my experience tells me that coconut sugar would work as an equal swap, but please share your results in the comments if you give it a try.

I realize not everyone stocks buckwheat flour in their pantry, but I really think it’s worth buying to use here. The buckwheat adds a layer of depth to the flavor of this cake; and in a different way than whole wheat flour, in case you were wondering about it. Buckwheat flour has a toasty, bold earthiness to it.

A word about the “00” flour. I realize this is typically used for making pizza dough. I wanted a flour light in weight to counter the heft of the buckwheat, and I didn’t want to use whole wheat pastry flour. Again, I was looking for something to balance the buckwheat’s strong flavor. So, I grabbed a bit of the “00”, figuring “what the heck”. Cake flour would be a fine enough substitute.

As you might have already gleaned, this is what life is like in my kitchen when I’m not officially working. Baking like this is so freeing, and how I restore my creative well. Cooking on instinct, and inspiration. I scribbled the recipe down in case I liked it, but had no real intention of posting it here. I mean, really. Do we need yet another banana bread recipe in the world? Since everyone in our family raved about this banana bread, I figured the answer is yes. If five of us could all agree this banana bread was a winner, then it was worth sharing with the rest of the world.

Need some more ideas for those overripe bananas?

Everyday Banana Bread

Bourbon Banana Bread

Brown Butter Banana Nut Muffins

Banana, Walnut & White Chocolate Chunk Scones

Buckwheat Banana Bread

Makes two 8-inch loaves

Music Pairing: Heatwave by Martha & The Vandellas

  • 1 cup (200 grams) brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (150 grams) 00 flour
  • 1/2 cup (60 grams) buckwheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons (10 grams) baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (112 grams) butter, melted
  • 4 very ripe bananas, mashed
  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line two 8-inch by 4-inch by 2-inch loaf pans with a piece of parchment long enough to hang over the sides (this helps to lift the cake out of the pan easily).
  2. In a large bowl, add the sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Beat with a whisk until well combined.
  3. Add the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir with a wooden spoon or spatula just long enough until blended, and there are no visible signs of flour in the batter.
  4. Fold the butter and bananas into the batter.
  5. Divide the batter between the prepared pans. Bake 40 minutes, until a metal skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Set the pans on a wire rack, and let cool for at least one hour before slicing. The cake will stay fresh, wrapped tightly in parchment paper, for up to three days.

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6 Comments

  • DamselflyDiary

    Gluten Free Girl (aka Shauna Ahern) uses buckwheat flour in her take on a grain free flour blend. So, I have some in the house. I may try making your bread using the buckwheat and her regular gluten free flour blend instead of the 00 flour in your recipe. I have two over-ripe bananas – maybe this will all happen yet today. I will try to remember to report back here.

  • Kenda

    I am always in search of ways to use buckwheat flour and as someone who can never eat her bananas before they’ve “gone too far” … this came at the right time. Have you tried adding nuts and/or chocolate chips?

  • Carolyn

    I’ve tried a banana buckwheat bread another time, and I too like buckwheat for what it is – tasty and different. My only issue was that the loaf was so dry, just one day after baking. What is your experience with this one Jennie?

  • Jennifer Perillo

    Hi Carolyn,

    This bread was not dry at all, and actually helped up very nicely a few days afterwards. Buckwheat is a “thirsty” flour, and generously absorbs liquid, so perhaps the other recipes you tried just needed some more liquid in them. Hope you like this one.

    -Jennie

  • DamselflyDiary

    I made this bread using Shauna Ahern’s gluten free flour recipe substituting for the flour.

    The taste is yummy (albeit a little sweet for me – I will cut back on the sugar next time). This was quite frankly the lightest, airiest gluten free baked good I have ever made. But it fell apart as I tried to eat it. I have some chilling in the frig now as that sometimes helps hold things together.

    Next time I make this recipe, I may try adding some psyllium or chia and see if that holds it together better. I normally don’t use zanthum gum.

  • Jennifer Perillo

    Thanks for letting us know. I’ve not used that flour. The only GF multi-purpose flour (most have been flops in my opinion, though I haven’t tried Cup4Cup) I’ve ever found to be successful as an even swap in recipes is Silvana Nardone’s. Her new blend is also Paleo. I haven’t tried it yet. You can find them here.
    http://cookingforisaiah.com