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Jul 30, 2011 04:44 PM

Help me pack a little more protein into banana bread

I love this recipe: but I need to increase the protein per calorie a little in order to justify eating it for breakfast every morning (especially because I am using real sugar in place of Splenda and adding chocolate chips). I am wondering about adding more egg whites, more sour cream, or some greek yogurt, but am open to other suggestions too. I see that nuts have about the same protein per calorie as ww flour and oats, but they also have more good fat and fewer carbs per calorie, which is probably a good thing since I tend to get plenty of carbs. So, I'm happy to replace some flour with ground-up nuts if that would yield a good result. I would rather use traditional ingredients, but am willing to use protein powder or dry milk or something if that will work best. Though I have perused some other banana bread threads here, I am worried about messing up the moistness, so I am seeking specific advice from people who are more experienced than me in tinkering with recipes. Any advice much appreciated.

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  1. I like to add a few tablespoons of ground flaxseed (Omega 3, fibre, protein) as well as toasted nuts to mine.

    1. Wheat germ is very high in protein. Has a great nutty flavor works super well in baked breads like banana bread and doesn't mess with the chemistry. I add wheatgerm to nearly every tea bread I make for my family; work it into granola bars, add it to crumb toppings, crisps and muffins. So my vote is wheatgerm.

      1. In nearly all my quick breads and muffins, I use white whole wheat flour rather than AP, AND sub for a third of it with almond meal, which Trader Joe's sells. If you want to make your own nut meal, add some of the sugar from the recipe to the whole nuts, which will prevent them from turning into nut butter when you whizz them in the food processor.

        At the risk of tooting my own horn, may I suggest you consider the proportions in my Healthy Hummingbird Muffin recipe, which was a finalist in the recent CHOW muffin contest?

        No reason why you could not use all banana plus chocolate chips instead of the pineapple and coconut, and bake in a loaf pan.

        3 Replies
        1. re: greygarious

          If you want to make your own nut meal, add some of the sugar from the recipe to the whole nuts, which will prevent them from turning into nut butter when you whizz them in the food processor.
          excellent tip!

          1. re: HillJ

            Much appreciated. The recipe does already have flax and whole wheat flour, but the nut thing sounds good.

            Hill J, do you sub the wheat germ for flour, or just add it? Do you mix it in or put it on top?

            1. re: jvanderh

              To a 9x5 loaf I'd add no more than 2 tablespoons in addition to the flax and flour. Or, as you suggested sprinkle the wheat germ over the top as a crunch topping.

        2. I'd look into subbing Greek style yogurt for sour cream. If memory serves, there is more protein in Greek style yogurt than in sour cream. Adding flax seeds or flax seed meal to a recipe is a good idea as well. The flax seeds can actually be used in place of flour--they bake up light. However, the taste is not the same as flour. You could probably replace at least a couple of tablespoons for the same of flour. Wheat germ is wonderful, if higher in carb. I also seem to remember that King Arthur white whole wheat has a bit more protein than regular whole wheat flour. You can check packages at the market to double check this. The best way to add protein might be in making several small adjustments.

          There are some protein powders out there, some made of whey and others made of soy. Perhaps there are other Hounds who have a better knowledge of these products, and whether they can be added to baked products.

          3 Replies
          1. re: sueatmo

            It appears that flax actually has a little less protein per calorie than flour. That surprised me! Happily, KA white whole wheat is exactly what I have.

            1. re: jvanderh

              Flax is not a source of protein, it's almost all fat and fiber. If you use too much, you get a weird, soap bubbly mouth feel.

            2. re: sueatmo

              Yes, I would try the Greek yogurt too in place of the sour cream. Just to give you an idea, a 7oz container of 2% Greek Fage has 20 grams of protein. The no fat version has slightly less.

              You could also opt just to have a protein shake along with your slice of banana bread each morning and solve everything. Thats basically what I do to make sure I'm getting enough protein with breakfast everyday. I use a whey protein powder and just mix it with water, I have 20 grams of protein each morning. If you start adding fruit then you get into more carbs. I'm sure it would be okay to also add it to the batter if you prefer but think you would consistently know how much protein you were getting each morning the other way.

              I also like the Chia seed that MoCoMe mentioned. I try to sprinkle them into everything. Some say they have a nutty flavor but I don't notice anything. They are very high in fiber and the richest known vegetable source of Omega 3 fatty acids. They have 3x the antioxidants of blueberries, more calcium then milk, more iron then spinach, and is a better protein source then beans and soy. (I compared the ground flaxseed I have with the bag of chia seeds and the CSeeds almost has double. For 1 tblspn CS= 2.5gm protein vs 2 tblspn Flax= 3gm protein) I know your recipe calls for flaxseed meal so it may be different along with the consistency factor but in general you should definately try the CS sometimes and see what you think. Good luck!

            3. Bacon? Ok, just kidding.

              But on a serious note.

              Try pureed beans. Yes, beans. Try adding pureed beans to your banana bread mixture. Reduce the amount of flour you use, as well as the butter, and sub with pureed beans.

              4 Replies
              1. re: ipsedixit

                Intriguing. It looks like beans have about 30% more protein per calorie than ww flour. How does one go about making the substitution? There is no butter in my recipe.

                1. re: jvanderh

                  Give me your recipe and I'll give you the ratios and substitutions.

                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    145 g brown sugar
                    85 g flax
                    5 ripe bananas, mashed
                    60 ml skim milk
                    60 g low-fat sour cream
                    10 ml egg whites
                    240 g whole wheat flour
                    5 g baking soda
                    3 g salt

                    Link in the OP has it by volume. Do you recommend pureed beans or tofu?

                    1. re: jvanderh

                      I would reduce the sour cream by 20 grams (or 15), and about 1/4 of the ww flour -- maybe about 50 or 60 grams. Then add in about the same amount of pureed beans, maybe a bit more, say about 70-80 grams, or maybe even a half cup (~100 grams).

                      You could probably just sub out the entire sour cream with pureed beans to make your life a bit simpler.