Weekend baking project! And GO.
Ben can’t tell how he feels about the crackle in this bread. I, on the other hand, love the crackle. (Just so we’re clear, by crackle I mean raw millet, aka birdseed, aka don’t look at me in that tone of voice because it tastes good, okay?)
So, yeah. Birdseed banana bread. Have I lost you yet?
Though it’s used in birdseed, yes, millet is actually a human food. It’s a kind of ancient seed, healthy and full of nutrients, which happens to be having a renaissance in the bulk food aisle, somewhere between the multicolored quinoa and the chia seeds (and the general pretension, yes). And whatever, it’s great in banana bread! With a bit of rye flour and coconut oil and not very much in the way of sugar, the loaf sings and crackles and makes you feel better when you pull a back muscle and have to hobble around like someone three times your age. It’s great in thick slices for breakfast or thin, half slices when you’re not supposed to be snacking but just can’t help yourself (I’m told).
Banana bread is a staple, for me. One that gets tweaked and twisted and changed according to how I feel, or what’s in my pantry, or which books or blogs I’m reading this week. I mean, how many recipes for banana bread have I tried, at this point in my almost-30-year-old life? A bunch. But this one, with its depth and crackle, is my favorite version yet.
Crackly Rye Banana Bread
If you can’t handle the crunch and crackle (or can’t find any), feel free to leave out the millet — just don’t call it crackly. You could also use all-purpose flour entirely, skipping the rye, but that would be a mistake, in the depth-of-flavor department. Finally, if you can’t find coconut oil,
go back to Whole Foods and hang your head in shame feel free to substitute olive oil, instead.
Adapted from the venerable Deb of Smitten Kitchen
- 3 large very ripe bananas
- 1 large egg
- 1/3 cup virgin coconut oil, warmed until it liquefies
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon table salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup dark rye flour
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup uncooked millet
Preheat your oven to 350°F and grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan. Line the pan with parchment paper, leaving an inch or so of overhang on each side. Grease the parchment, too.
In a large bowl, mash bananas with a fork until mostly smooth but a few tiny lumps remain. Whisk in egg, then oil, brown sugar, syrup and vanilla extract. Sprinkle baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg over mixture and stir until combined. Stir in flours until just combined, then fold in the millet.
Pour mixture into prepared pan and bake until a tester comes out clean, about 40 to 50 minutes. Cool loaf in pan on rack.
Banana bread will keep, tightly wrapped at room temperature, for about a week (getting moister each day). Loaves also keep well in the freezer, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, for a month or more.
Makes 1 loaf.