So, after taking a look at this recipe for gluten-free banana bread on Maseca’s website, I decided that it might be cool to try and make a version that uses just masa harina (nixtamalized corn flour) and uses non-dairy fats to avoid casein.
I suspect that the reason for the increased fat content (cream cheese on top of butter) is to counteract the drying caused by using rice flour in the mix. Certainly, the eggs are a part of the drying problem, but you need those to provide structure. The good news is that we don’t need a TON of structure.
Banana bread is a type of quick bread, like muffins, that does not rely heavily on gluten to hold it together. This is good news for a gluten-free banana bread! Ironically, if you mix a wheat-based quick bread too much, you will get tunnels that look like worm burrows because the gluten got too strong. That’s not a problem with masa, and I suspect that the relatively fine texture of masa will not need the superfine rice flour to make a decent banana bread. So, without further ado, here is:
Gluten-Free Banana Bread w/ Masa Harina
- Loaf Pan or Muffin Tins
- 2 Mixing Bowls (medium)
- Fork (to stir)
- Coconut Oil, Lard, or Oil to grease baking pan
- Butter Knife
- Cooling Rack
- 2 cups Masa Harina
- 3-4 mashed, super ripe Bananas (lots of brown spots)
- 5 Eggs
- 1 tbsp. Baking Powder
- 1 cup Brown Sugar
- 3/4 cup Coconut Oil or Lard, melted but cool (substitute vegetable oil if need be)
- 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
- 1/4 tsp. Salt – Optional
- 1/2 tsp. Nutmeg, Cinnamon, or Allspice (or a mix of the three) – Optional
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease baking pan and flour with a little of the masa. Mix masa, salt, spices, and baking powder in one bowl. Break eggs into second bowl and mix well. Beat sugar, banana, vanilla, and oil into the eggs.
Pour wet mix over the dry mix and work it together well. In a wheat quick bread, you want to avoid over-mixing, but this is less of an issue here. We just want to make sure everything is well combined with no big lumps.
Pour into the baking pan. Bake loaf for 50-55 minutes or muffins for 40-45. Test with toothpick for doneness.
After you remove it from the oven, run a butter knife around the edges of the loaf pan or muffin cups to help the bread separate from the dish. As soon as the pan is cool enough to handle by hand, tip the bread out onto a cooling rack to allow it to cool without getting soggy.
My test recipe used 1 cup of fat, not the 3/4 cup shown in the recipe. This is because there was enough leftover fat that the test loaf felt greasy. If you find that your bread is too dry, go back to 1 cup.
The reason for the spices is to help the banana flavor compete with the corn taste. The masa flavor is noticeable, so if you find it too strong, try doubling the spices. You can substitute other fruits and vegetables in the recipe for the banana.
There are about 2 cups of bananas in this recipe. Be aware that if you use applesauce, you might need to add some extra masa flour to dry out the dough. Likewise, with shredded carrots, you may need to add a little water or non-milk.