Thursday, August 16, 2012

Almond Flour Banana Bread-Divine, Gluten-Free, Low-Carb, Grain-Free, & Sugar-free!

In the past I've covered real whole grain Gluten free Bread ,gluten free cookiesgluten free flour, and my all-time favorite gluten free pumpkin cookies. My Gluten Free Baking Class Notes and printable PDF are a great resource for those who are getting into gluten-free baking in general. As for those with lower-carbohydrate needs who are also gluten free...

Have you ever met my favorite Almond Flour? The first time I really highlighted this flour was when I shared an Evil Think Tank ( aka the ETT) with my diabetic-gluten-free sister Auntie Em, making these Almond Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies. 
I get the perk, while being the chef for Honeyville Grain to work with some of their most beautiful products. Their almond flour is amazing! I've been playing with it a lot this week. Yes. I've heard the cries of my gluten-free low carb friends. Most of the recipes online and in cookbooks that I've run into for almond flour bread and cakes have had a lot more fat added to them than I personally like to see or use, since almond flour is already pretty high in fat, it is a great choice for a bread or cookie that will remain moist naturally. I personally don't see the point in adding butter, oil, whole eggs and so forth. I want my recipes to also be pretty good for the heart. I do pretty great with weight loss when I watch my carbohydrate intake. However, and this is a big however...when you go low carb you also still have to watch your calories. This bread still has a relatively low calorie count and is sweetened with natural zero-carb sources. I'm a big fan of that!
Now for the Almond flour.

2 months ago I asked Chris Ondatje (Director of E-Commerce, Honeyville Food Products, Inc.) where they got the almonds for their flour and what was involved with the growing of the almonds. Why specifically are they not organic? This is what Chris said when I asked about the almond fields,
"I’ve been there. All of our Almonds are California grown and processed. The almond orchards are about an hour and a half southeast of San Francisco. The plant that we work with only processes almonds. The actual growth and harvesting of Almonds is really quite amazing. Almonds grow on trees in a number of varieties (Nonpareil, Carmel, California Group, and Mission). Almonds mature on the tree until harvest time. At harvest, the branches of the trees droop low with the weight of all of those almonds. A specialized tractor goes down the rows with a special shaker attachment that grabs the trunk of each trees and shakes the nuts right out of the tree. Sweepers come behind and sweep the nuts to the center of the orchard rows where they dry for a period of several days. 

It is interesting to note that this step is required to allow the outer skin of the almond to dry. It also is why there is no {current}...Organic Almond Flour. If pesticides were not used during this drying process, the almonds would be riddled with work holes and bugs. After the drying process is complete, the almonds are collected and taken to a sheller where the shells are removed and the almonds are graded and separated. From there they go to the various mills and processers that slice, dice, blanch, roast, season, mill and otherwise process almonds. Over 80% of the world supply of Almonds is grown and harvested in California. It is a heavily regulated industry and quality is put on a world stage."

So that is why they currently do not carry an organic almond flour. They've been waiting on the growers to get organic certification. 
However, today I received word from Chris with some updated great news! Chris said,
"Things have changed recently. We can get organic almonds now. They are about 3 times as expensive, but the demand has been there and the industry has reacted. We're working on getting an organic product that has the same mill quality that our current product has." 
Waaaawhooo! I'm so excited to hear that it will soon be available in organic!  All I know is that the almond flour is really remarkable for baking. I like it far better than any of the other brands I've tried. I'm not just saying that because I work for Honeyville either. It has a fine texture that can't be beat. 

Chef Tess'  Gluten-Free Sugar-Free Banana Bread
3 cups Almond Flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup granular erythritol (sugar free natural sweetener) or 1 tsp stevia drops
1T Xanthan gum (all natural gluten replacement) 
1/4 cup powdered egg whites*
2 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup water
2 ripe bananas, mashed (about 3/4 cup) 

 Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine almond flour, salt, baking powder, erythritol, xanthan gum and egg white powder. In a separate bowl combine vanilla, water, and mashed banana. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix completely. Divide between 2 6 inch by 3 inch loaf pans or 4 3 inch circular baking pans. Bake 350 degrees 35-40 minutes until the tops are golden brown and a a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let them cool in than 30 minutes, then serve. 

Nutritional Information:
Yields: 16 slices, each slice: 118 cal each; 7g carbs,  2.6g fiber (4.4 net carbs a slice)

*Someone mentioned that this product contains SLS as a foaming agent for the whites in very small amounts. From what I have read, it isn't something to worry about. If you are concerned, read the latest research here: The Truth about SLS via Decide for yourself. 

There you go! An awesome alternative to banana bread that is also lower carb and delicious! 
I'll be sharing a few other almond flour breads that I've developed lately here on the blog the next couple of days. I think you'll be in low-carb heaven!
Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef Tess 


Brian and Michelle said...

This looks so yummy! Is there any way regular egg whites could be substituted for the egg white powder?

Chef Tess said...

Yes. Use 1/2 cup egg whites in place of the water.

Evil TARA said...

This post made me giggle. I'm pretty sure Chef Hutchins showed as a video like this one back in the day:

Brian and Michelle said...