Banana chocolate chip bread

Here’s a slightly different way to make bread that I’ve been playing around with the past few weeks.

Much as I hate to admit it, using wheat flour does have its advantages–in baking, though not in health. There is no denying that wheat, due to the unique properties of the glutenin polymer in gluten, has extraordinary strength, pliability, and flexibility when molded into various shapes, and also achieves a lightness through the process of “rising” with the assistance of yeast. We lose all that when we eliminate wheat for health.

So we struggle to recreate two characteristics in our wheat-free baking:

1) How do we generate “rise”?
2) How do we create strength and flexibility?

Rise is generally created by mixing an acid and a base to create carbon dioxide, while strength is provided by polymers other than glutenin.

(The photo is a version of the recipe I made without chocolate chips.)

This bread demonstrates two variations from many of the other bread recipes featured here in this blog and in Wheat Belly:

1) The use of lemon juice as an acid to react with the alkaline sodium bicarbonate in baking soda to yield carbon dioxide, and
2) The use of guar gum to increase cohesiveness of the bread.

Both techniques are optional. You can make perfectly fine “bread” without the use of guar gum or lemon juice, but their use of improves the quality of your bread.

Note that this bread is bit higher in carbohydrate content, given that it contains one banana and a cup of chocolate chips. Using one medium-sized banana and Trader Joe’s dark chocolate chips, this totals around 150 grams carbohydrate (“net”) for the entire loaf, or 15 grams per slice. Use half a banana and 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips, or a higher cocoa, lower sugar brand of chips, and you can cut this nearly in half.

Makes 10 servings

2 cups almond meal
½ cup ground golden flaxseed
2 tablespoons coconut flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon guar gum
Sweetener equivalent to 1 cup sugar
1 cup dark chocolate chips
2 eggs, separated
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
½ cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ripe banana, sliced
½ lemon

Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease bread pan.

In large bowl, combine almond meal, flaxseed, coconut flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, guar gum, sweetener, chocolate chips and mix together.

In medium mixing bowl, whip egg whites with cream of tartar until stiff. Blend in egg yolks, coconut milk, vanilla, and banana. Alternatively, combine coconut milk, vanilla, and banana in food processor or food chopper and pulse until blended and smooth, then add to egg white and egg yolks and whip until blended. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon into the egg mixture and blend together.

Pour the egg mixture into the almond meal mixture and mix together thoroughly.

Pour dough into bread pan and bake for 45 minutes or until toothpick withdraws dry.

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Comments & Feedback...

  1. Fusion

    I enjoy reading your site! My question is all the recipies you have on here can you please tell me how often one can enjoy them? Every day? several times a day? If I were to make this and live alone and eat it all myself how many days should it last? Thanks

    • Dr. Davis

      The recipes here, Fusion, are meant to supplement real, whole foods like vegetables, healthy oils, meats, poultry, fish, avocados, olives, olive oil, etc. They are not generally meant to be the centerpiece of your diet.

      There are no specific limitations. Keep in mind that, minus wheat, calorie intake goes down, on average, 440 calories per day. Most people naturally revert to a healthy and physiologic calorie intake without having to worry about calories.

      Eat to live . . . and enjoy it!

  2. Gail

    Dr. Daviis, Thank you so much for book, and recipes. I have been wheat free ,grain free since reading your book in Sept. I lost 14 lbs in the first 2 mos. ( 5’10, 165 lbs.). At the end of Nov. my previously well controlled blood pressure (with medication) suddenly went up quite a bit. I ended up in hospital,had many tests, and cardiologist could find no reason for rise. He did discover an aortic aneurysm. Blood pressure mostly under control, but still have weeks where it is fairly high, even with heavy doses of meds. Wondering if diet could have been the cause of this, if I am missing some nutrients…etc. I know you can’t diagnose through an e mail, any tests to suggest to Dr. As I go next week. Thank you for your time.

    • Dr. Davis

      One potential explanation, Gail, is the flood of fatty acids into the bloodstream that occurs when you lose substantial weight. This reflects the mobilization of visceral fat.

      Occasionally, this results in a transient rise in BP, though I have never seen this reach dangerous levels. If this is the case, it subsides with a plateau in weight.

    • ThatWriterChick

      You are misreading the recipe. It does not contain sugar. Sweetener equivalent to sugar means use a no-cal artificial sweetener of your choice (erythritol, liquid stevia, liquid sucralose are all possibilities).

  3. Graham

    Dr Davis, thanks for another delicious sounding/looking recipe, I’ve just created my own slightly-modified version and it’s in the oven now. I think the description is based on the no-chocolate version as you make no mention of adding the chocolate although the chips are in the ingredient list.

    • Dr. Davis

      Ooops, again!

      You know, I fussed with this recipe so many times that I overlooked little details like this.

      Fixed!

    • Dr. Davis

      I got it at a local health food store/grocery store. Many stores did not have it, however.

      It doesn’t have to be guar gum, Carol. In fact, the improvement in cohesiveness is very modest. You can do just fine without until you locate some.

      • Carol

        Thank you Dr. Davis. By the way, I am enjoying this eating plan very much. For years, my PCP has been trying to get me on Cholesterol meds. I tried 2 different ones and could not stand the reactions I experienced so I quit them. I have been wheat free for 3 months & my total cholesteral has dropped 20 points! All the other numbers have improved and I am no longer cosidered a risk for heart disease! There are so many other benefits I have experienced that are too numerous to list. I wnat to extend a huge thank you for your research, the information contained in this book & your wonderful recipes. This eating plan has changed my life and given me freedom that I have never experienced. I tell everyone I know & meet about this plan. Thank you again!
        Carol

        • Dr. Davis

          That’s wonderful, Carol!

          You can see why being wheat-free is a 2 + 2 = 11 proposition!

    • CJ

      Guar Gum, nuts, seeds, oils are all available @ Nuts.com. They ship quickly & have lots of organic options available also. I been using them for over 4 years.
      CJ

  4. Erin

    This recipe looks very good. I am wondering if I substitute egg-replacer (chia or flax seed “eggs”) will this be enough to hold it together?

    I can’t eat eggs. I have tried another recipe for blueberry muffins that uses 1/2 cup almond flour and 1 1/2 cup brown rice flour and “chia or flax eggs” and it turned out wonderfully.

    What do you think? I don’t want to waste 2 cups of almond flour! Thanks!!!

    • Dr. Davis

      Gotta watch those rice flours, Erin: They can make you fat and diabetic in no time.

      I’ve never tried this technique. Should you give it a go, let us know what you find. But, even if it doesn’t work out, you shouldn’t have to toss it out. You might use it for something else, e.g., “bread” pudding.

  5. Brian

    Can you use xanthan gum instead of guar gum?
    What about just adding a little no wheat/gluten yeast to help with the rise of breads?

    • Dr. Davis

      Sure, Brian.

      The increased strength of the end product with either xanthan or guar is modest.

  6. Julia Kay Grace

    Is there a recipe for corn bread? Is the basic idea of mixing corn meal with “flour” and modest amount of sweetener the place to start? Will Hazelnut flour work? Might one achieve rise using yogurt (Greek for low-’tang’) and vinegar or lemon juice and baking soda?

    My husband and I have been “wheat free” for about a month. Both of us are “type 2″ and watching our sugar levels daily. Neither of us has, “graduated” to insulin. My PCP is concerned b/c my kidney functioning lab results suddenly dropped from 75% functioning to 50%. No “panic” yet, but re-test in the next few days. Might there be some readjustment of systems responsive to the wheat-free diet that I should be alert to?

    • Dr. Davis

      Stay away from cornmeal, Julia, unless you want to make diabetes WORSE.

      No, there are no implications for kidney function. However, I have unexpectedly witnessed improved kidney function (reductions in creatinine) in people following this approach. I’ve watched creatinine levels of 1.9, for instance, drop to 1.4 or 1.5, representing a substantial return of function.

  7. Brian

    I wasn’t sure where to put my question (my main one, a couple less important ones to follow), so I figured in a comment with a bread recipe would be a good place since it sort of fits.

    Main question: For some reason making homemade bread is difficult for me (muffins, etc., no problem), plus it takes a lot of time and heats up the house with the oven (not good in summer). I am strongly considering getting a bread maker. Many now even have a “gluten free” mode. I saw a book that had gluten-free bread machine recipes, but all the recipes used things you advise against (especially types of starches you discourage in your book). I searched the book and this blog and didn’t find any bread machine bread recipes. Do you have any of those?

    Other questions:
    In several recipes you mention ground almonds, measured in cups. Does that just mean almond flour? Just a little confused on that.

    You talk a lot about starches in your book. What is your opinion on whole grain corn (like you’d find in Corn Chex or corn tortillas…. I do realize cornstarch is down the ingredient list for Corn Chex)?

    What about whole grain white/brown/wild rice? Didn’t see anything about those in the book nor in the index.

    I was also wondering if you could elaborate on your opinion on organic rolled oats from a blood sugar perspective? This ingredient is in a few recipes in the book, and on p. 230 you suggest it is at times made using machines that also make things with wheat, and thus should be avoided for people sensitive to gluten (I’d think going with organic oats would help with this concern), but don’t talk about blood sugar issues with it.

    For the corn/rice/oats they wouldn’t be diet staples. But I’m wondering if they are so bad as to avoid them entirely, or if it is OK to have them once in a while.

    I’m still going through the book, but as a scientist I love all the references. I also love seeing the few first and second order “line of best fit” plots. :) About ten years ago before low carb became popular I read a book called Natural Hormonal Enhancement that was well ahead of its time (didn’t go into all the problems with modern wheat in particular, though). But it didn’t have any practical advice on how to make the transition. I’m not very creative in the kitchen, and your book is the missing piece.

    • Brian

      Just found the University of Sydney’s GI lookup tool online (glycemicindex.com). Corn Chex… GI of 83 and glycemic load of 23. Yikes! The corn tortillas were better… 49 and 11. Still not that low (technically “low” per the scale, but high compared to totally unprocessed whole foods).

      Still wondering about the almond flour, bread maker recipes, and rolled oats stuff. Thanks!

      • Myrna Silva

        Rolled oats are a no-no if you want optimum health. No corn either. There are a few people working on bread in a bread maker. I follow Pinterest for a variety of recipes. I make a MIM (muffin in s mug/muffin in a minute) in a flat bottom bowl. It’s big enough to be a loaf of bread and rises just enough. Double the recipe and cook for 2 minutes.

    • Dr. Davis

      HI, Brian–

      A breadmaker is unnecessary, as there is no kneading process. The rise is generated in these recipes by mixing a base with an acid and generating CO2. My current favorite way is to mix all dry ingredients, mix all wet ingredients separately to include the juice of half a lemon, then combine wet to dry. Mix thoroughly (just for 30 seconds or so) and you will see the rise. Put this in the oven. Unavoidably, there is cooking involved, as these are inedible raw.

      Corn Chex is nothing more than sugar–plain awful. Corn tortillas are slightly better, but hardly. While corn lacks the breadth of problems of wheat, corn is probably second in line after wheat as societal bugaboo in diet. Corn products are best consumed minimally.

      You are getting into the issue of carbohydrate sensitivity. We discussed this several months ago. Please scroll back to last fall.

  8. IME, nothing else works for yeast-raised bread like wheat.

    But… you can do quickbreads rather easily. My basic recipe for coconut bread makes 9 slices @ 7g carbohydrate 7g protein and 82 calories each.

    Preheat oven to 350 and butter a large bread pan. Sift 3/4 c coconut flour, 2 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp sea salt into a large bowl. Beat 6 eggs in a second bowl, then add 1/2 c melted butter and 2 TB honey and stir. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and pour into pan. Bake 40 minutes. Cool on rack before cutting into slices.

    This makes a very basic “quickbread”.

    You can make other types of quickbreads by replacing the honey with an appropriate sugar-free DaVinci syrup, like banana or pumpkin, and adding a few chopped pecans or walnuts.

    Or add a flavor like blueberry syrup instead of the honey, a cup or two of blueberries to the batter, and bake in muffin cups instead.

    The sugar-free DaVinci syrups are sucralose-based, and pretty much crap as far as nutrition is concerned, but it gives a decent quickbread.

  9. Michelle Phillips

    I made this bread today. I didn’t have any chocolate or bananas. I thought it sounds tasty with out it. Boy I was right, came out great. Although next time I would either add a 1/4 cup of water or something moist. Bananas do add a bit of moist to it so I guess it would need the water…. very little though.

  10. Amy

    Are there Wheat Belly friendly fruit smoothies? I used to make smoothies with fruit and skim milk and stirred in cold pressed flax seed oil. How can I make fruit smoothies WB friendly??

    • Dr. Davis

      Absolutely!

      First, no wheat! Then, limit carbohydrates, meaning be careful and use only as little fruit as required to make your smoothie palatable.

      Third, use lots of oils and proteins, such as nut butters, coconut milk, a bit of ground golden flaxseed and chia.

      By the way, the current (or last week’s?) issue of Woman’s World carried some of my smoothie recipes.

  11. Marie

    Any recommendations on what to use for protein instead of powdered whey in your smoothies? I am finding that the best diet combination for my digestion, my swelling and cyst problems, and for appetite control and because I am vegan: my diet includes no wheat, no cow’s milk, no beef, no BGH and low oil, so I really don’t want to use whey since it comes from milk. I tried using nut butters for protein but I think the high oil content first thing in the morning is what has upset my stomach lately… I am one of those people who started eating cereals and other wheat-containing stuff for breakfast because I didn’t know what else to eat when I stopped eating eggs, bacon, and sausage in the morning because I didn’t want to eat animals anymore, and because the oily fatty foods give me an upset stomach all day! So anyway, what can I use in place of whey for protein that won’t have such a high oil content? Thanks!

  12. patty bueck

    Chia seed gel helps hold things together,,, put 3 or 4 tbsp of chia in a couple cups of water stir let sit for 10 minutes and stir again will form a nice gel, great for smoothies and i add it to my baking as part of the liquid.

  13. Steve & Kate Cook

    Well, as I sit here and read this blog my husband is reading Wheat Belly. We got it yesterday and he’s’ almost done. I’m next to read it but he is just blown away about what he’s reading. We are traveling in our motor home and are currently in S.C. He keeps coming in the bedroom where I am and telling me what he’s read. Stunned, amazed and intrigued !! He told me last night when we get home I am going to want to clean out ALL of my cupboards. We did try the vegan way of life for over two years and did pretty well but have added back a few things into our diets.. NO red meats or fish.
    This blog is going to be very helpful to us. Just wanted to say thank you. And although I have not read the book yet, we’ve already began getting off the wheat. Just so much to learn and read and watch for on labels. It’s a bit overwhelming and scary. But then becoming vegan was too.. we managed!
    I’m sure the questions will come. In the meantime… it’s nice to have a place to go and I have a feeling we’re going to be VERY happy we heard about this book!!

    • Dr. Davis

      That’s great, Kate!

      Please come back and update us with you and your husband’s experiences.

  14. anthonydellarosa@gmail.com

    Can anyone recommend a better sweetener than stevia extract. This recipe had lots of aftertaste

  15. Sydney

    This recipe has become our family’s favorite! I add chopped pecans or walnuts and it is delicious. My only problem is that it is SO good, I want a slice every day. Thank you for your recipes. I have tried several from your book and have had great success… And my husband likes them all, too. I do not miss bread or grains at all. I have been eating more vegetables than I have in years and love them.

  16. Elsa

    I’d like to make muffins instead of a bread. I would cut the baking to about 20 minutes Do you foresee any problems?

    • Dr. Davis

      Nope!

      But use the toothpick method to be sure 20 minutes is sufficient, especially if you have a convection oven.

  17. Cynthia

    I’m a 64 yr old, active woman with hypothyroidism, tummy trouble and weight gain. My daughter suggested that maybe I had a wheat intolerance. I feel like I eat well, whole grains, whole wheat bread lots of fruit and veggies, but I’ve been gaining weight lately and started shopping around looking at different diets. My friend put me onto your book. I’ve always been a big fan of veggies and fruit, but I never thought that maybe the whole grains/wheat were hurting my system. I’ve started using other flours and making gluten free items and I don’t get that heavy kicked in the stomach feeling anymore. Thanks for the recipes and opening up a new way of baking.
    Cynthia

  18. Logan

    Say Dr. D, what causes you to choose Guar Gum in this recipe over Xanthan Gum that you use in other recipes? I under stand they are similar but why one rather than the other in a given recipe?
    Thanks, Logan

  19. snead

    What about using einkorn flour? I don’t have any gluten problems. Is a little pre-historic gluten forbidden?

  20. Linda Lee

    need help with recipes that aren’t working the biscuts and shones didn’t taste good and wouldn’t hold together what might I be doing wrong

  21. I have been making the BEST banana bread without xanthum gum. So good, it does not need any choco chips of any kind… It has unofficially won the Banana Bread Cup in my heart. I revised it after a traditional family recipe. The lemon juice is the key!!

    Ass Kicking Banana Walnut Bread

    DRY INGREDIENTS:
    1 cup almond meal/flour
    1/2 cup golden flax meal
    1 tsp baking soda
    1 tsp baking powder
    1/4 tsp salt
    1 tbs stevia powder
    1/8 tsp allspice
    1/8 tsp nutmeg
    1 tsp cinnamon

    WET INGREDIENTS:
    1/2 cup grapeseed oil
    2 eggs, whisked
    2 mashed bananas
    2 tbs lemon juice
    1/2 tsp vanilla

    3/4 cup chopped walnuts

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    Mix your dry ingredients together – put aside. Mix together wet ingredients, then gently incorporate into dry ingredients until thoroughly mixed. Mix in walnuts then spoon into oiled loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 – 50 minutes. Let it sit for 10 minutes, then enjoy! Needs no butter or margarine.

    • Dr. Davis

      Ah, you discovered one of my secrets, Jeannine: the lemon juice!

      I stumbled on this trick, also, trying to generate vigorous acid-base reactions to create carbon dioxide.

      • Anne-marie

        Does it have to be lemon juice from a freshly squeezed lemon or can you use a bottled variety such as RealLemon?

  22. Jeannine

    I have used both and they work fine! The fresh a bit better. It’s really nice to add orange and lemon rind to the recipe – about a teaspoon or so. The flavour is amazing.

  23. sylvia forest

    I believe almonds have a very high omega 6 to 3 ratio – which can cause problems with inflammation when eaten in large quantities. If using almond flour as a substitute for wheat flour in all kinds of baking, is there not a danger of replacing one kind of problem with another? Is there some alternative to almond flour for those who want to regularly eat baked goods?

    • Barbara in New Jersey

      Use some of the alternate flours like coconut, flax seed, chia seed, garbanzo bean among many others. Make sure you eat a lot of omega 3 foods and don’t snack on nuts. Most recipes for baked goods are nutrient dense and rather filling. You eat less than you would with wheat products.
      Dr. Davis has stated this many times. Unless you are eating almond flour baked goods for most of your meals, there isn’t any problem.

      • BarbinNC

        I’ve been using more coconut flour than almond flour lately, but love baking with the almond flour, I made an apple cake today, and used my Tahini to make another loaf of the Almost Paleo Bread, but baked it as Bagels – I have to say they are amazing, esp. toasted, with some cream cheese and smoked salmon …

        But my main point is – I’ve started adding Chia seeds to just about everything I bake now, in the hope that it’s adding lots of Omega 3 to our diet.

        Does anyone know if the heat of baking alters the quality of the Omega 3? I have also made pudding with the Chia and love it, but baking with it has added moisture and flexibility to the baked goods, which is very attractive.

  24. Anita

    This recipe is a staple at my home and I’ve shared both the bread and the recipe with others who voice concerns over their health – it’s converted folks to eating grain-free and lower carbohydrate by proving that there are delicious options available.
    I wanted to share that I’ve subbed 1 cup of canned pumpkin for the banana and tossed in some pecans for a completely different and delicious bread.
    Thank you so much for your work – I’ve been steroid-free for one and a half years now!