After last week’s frustration with rising bread, I decided to go back to an old staple, the quickbread. I have made many a batch of banana bread in my time. My Hubby and my old roommates can bear witness to the fact that I could have a loaf of banana bread up and cooking in the oven in 20 minutes, PRE-Kitchenaid! Now that I’m eating gluten-free, the old Betty Crocker recipe I grew up with doesn’t stand. So I looked, as usual, to the queen of gluten-free, the Gluten-Free Girl.
I remember reading once that in order to properly know how to cook, one must properly know what the purpose of each ingredient and direction is. Why do you cook at 350 vs 400? What is the correct ratio of eggs to flour? What is the difference between baking soda and baking powder? These are questions everyone must ask, but gluten-free bakers must ask more questions. To gum or not to gum? If yes, Guar or Xantham? What ratio of starch to grit should a flour have? Do I want to add a flour with extra protein, and if so, how does that affect the flavour from sweetness to bitterness? The recipe calls for X flour, what in my stash is an appropriate substitute so I don’t have to a) track down a store that sells GF weirdness and b) spend anywhere between $4 and $14 dollars to achieve the generally little noticed effect. Cooking gluten-free will make me a better cook because I have to learn to answer these questions. I can’t just be satisfied with just following the measurements anymore. I’ll go broke, and end up with a plethora of flours in not enough quantity to actually do something with!
This banana bread turned out pretty lovely. I added a hint of cardamom, and next time will add some walnut and chocolate chips (if I can find them without corn syrup!). It felt good to have a success after a few failures (ok, failures to me. By other accounts the food was fine).