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Help me pack a little more protein into banana bread

I love this recipe: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Whole-Gr... 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? http://www.chow.com/recipes/29597-spa...

        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.

              2. Peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, or hazelnut butter Goes great with bananas and is loaded with protein.

                1. If you don't have problems with soy, adding pureed silken tofu will add protein (about 11 grams per half cup) and very little fat and make for a super-moist loaf. I think if you were to add a little wheat germ as well, it might balance out the extra moisture. Also, since there's very little egg white in the recipe, I can't see the harm in adding one egg white more.

                  1. you discuss nut flour subs, but i would simply add chopped walnuts/pecans to the existing recipe to add a little protein. you could omit the choc chips and just do nuts, just sayin.'

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: soupkitten

                      I like nuts in general, but not usually chunks of nuts in baked goods.

                      1. re: jvanderh

                        fair enough. i'll throw out poppyseeds as an idea, then :)

                        1. re: soupkitten

                          hulled hemp seeds, avail in bulk at whole foods, and chia seeds in the packaged foods. I add it to my oatmeal or cereal every day


                    2. Thanks very much for the help, everyone. I'm gonna give it a shot, one batch with tofu and one with pureed beans, according to ipse's recipe. The store was out of flax, and I am too lazy to go to another one, so it won't be a very scientific experiment.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: jvanderh

                        i supplement baked goods with kinako. nutty and tasty.

                      2. This recipe is very similar to yours, but it adds whey powder, more egg white and uses apple sauce instead of sour cream. Might be just what you're looking for.


                        1. So, I had a slice of the tofu stuff this morning. The verdict was that it was tasty, but unpleasantly wet. In the past, replacing the flax with flour has seemed to result in a drier bread, so I think this was due to the tofu. I think next time I would try replacing one of the bananas with an equal weight of tofu, rather than reducing the flour and sour cream. This would increase the total protein more, also.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: jvanderh

                            you could try draining the tofu first, if you didn't, or lowering any oil the recipe calls for, since tofu has plenty of fat.

                            1. re: mcf

                              No oil in the recipe. I didn't make a concerted effort to drain the tofu, just kind of scooped it out with a slotted spoon or my fingers. The bean one has the same texture as the tofu one. I think it was just too many wet ingredients. If my next loaf is any good, I'll post the recipe for anyone who's interested.

                          2. You know you don't have to invent the wheel on this. Here is a link to a banana bread with tofu recipe. I imagine you can find others, or you could search directly for high-protein banana bread.


                            The recipe promotes itself as low fat, not high protein, but you could get an idea of the tofu to other ingredients proportions from checking this or similar recipes.

                            When I bake banana bread I like more banana and less fat and sugar. But I've never baked a loaf for protein.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: sueatmo

                              Thanks, but that one uses half white flour and fewer bananas. I started with the recipe in the OP because I like it so much.

                            2. Since no one has really weighed in on the protein powder yet - I use it all the time in my baking. I am diabetic so I need to boost the fibre count of every food I can so I use either a fibre booster or protein powder.

                              My typical recipe substitution method is - I measure out the dry ingredients (less anything leavening) eg. 2 cups whole wheat flour + 1/4 cup oat bran then I remove the amount I want to add in eg. remove 1/2 cup of the previously mentioned mixture then add in 1/4 ground or whole flaxseeds + scoop of protein powder + scoop of fibre booster. Then I don't have the whole - it's too wet, it's too dry situation (most of the time). The protein powder and fibre booster I use are all natural health products - they contain no preservatives/fillers, etc. so I get the boost without affecting the end product. For my banana bread recipe this works great! I have a cookie recipe that it works excellent with as well. Bran Muffins I only add the fibre booster with no problem. The fibre booster can be added to anything - soup, salad, water, baking, cooking, etc.

                              Hope that helps answer a little of what you are looking for. Good luck and happy experimenting!

                              1. instead of regular skim milk, try the "skim plus" stuff. It also tastes fantastic!