This year, I didn’t make a submission to the Oregon State Fair as part of my annual list – but fear not, I fully intend to enter a couple items for judging (can you imagine a life without me participating in the state fair? Perish the thought!). For 2015, I am entering vegan bread and the infamous table decorating category.
I’ve been thinking a lot about my theme for table decorating (and I’ll post plenty about it in the near future), but today I’m going to talk about my vegan bread recipe.
When Thor and I first got married, he was strictly vegan. So much so, the food at our wedding was mostly vegan and we pretty much had a circuit on the only four restaurants that served good vegan dishes in town (can you believe that only 10 years ago it was really hard to find vegan food in Portland?!). I considered his dietary restriction a challenge, and made masterful attempts at transforming normally delicious foods into some semblance of their vegan-version. Some recipes didn’t go so well (damn those brownies!), but I discovered many awesome ways of cooking healthier without losing flavor (frosting made with avocados!).
One such recipe is my banana bread. Ok, it’s more like Betty Crocker’s banana bread, but with my vegan substitutions I consider the recipe my own. I know you’re probably not thinking about cranking up the oven when it’s 92 degrees outside, but this morning Thor left the house saying, “Your job today is to eat some bananas – we have way too many and they are going to go bad.” Considering the fact that I haven’t had carbs for, like, two months, I figured it was a good excuse to make a practice loaf.
It came out PERFECT. Like seriously – I’m giving it my own blue ribbon.
VEGAN BANANA BREAD
2 cups flour (I use whole wheat pastry flour)
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup granulated sugar (sometimes I swap for coconut sugar, but you will lose sweetness)
2 tbsp powdered egg replacement (I use Ener-G)
1/2 cup vegetable oil or vegan margarine (I use the vegan Smart Balance)
1 1/2 cups pureed bananas (I just throw mine in a food processor)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a loaf pan with coconut oil spray.
In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves (I usually sift it). In another mixing bowl, whisk the egg replacer with 2 tbsp water until it’s frothy. Then add sugar, oil, and pureed bananas. Mix well. Add the banana mixture to the flour and fold until just moistened. Scrape the mixture into the baking pan and bake for 40 – 50 minutes (depends on the size of your dish). Insert a toothpick and when it comes out clean, your bread it ready.
Every recipe always says to let it cool, but I’m too impatient for that – so I just have at it.
I’ve had sooooooo many people recommend vegan products, claiming how you’ll never know the difference, only to find out that it still tastes like crap. You know that saying about never trust a skinny cook? Well, I’m in favor of never trusting a vegan-only palate. Since I eat everything under the sun, my tastebuds are reliable. I’m sorry – but sometimes you just have to own up that your vegan BLT takes like cardboard, or your vegan brownies are not at all brownies, but more of a dry cake. My vegan banana bread, however, tastes like the real thing.
Judging-wise at the fair, they have a lot more than taste as a criteria. Something about the uniformity of the “dome” on your loaf, and the texture and color. I’m not a professional baker so if I don’t get those things right, I’m ok with that, but you can’t win if you don’t try.