A Loaf of Bread

Start 2019 with More Whole Grains and  Less Kitchen Waste

Photo by Lorelle Del Matto

January is time for fresh starts and circling back healthful practices that have slipped away after a month or two of merry-making. The gym is crowded.  One person I know is getting up early to start a 5-minute meditation routine. Another is hitting reset with a “Dry January” experiment.

One of my goals is to de-clutter. An easy place to start was my freezer where I found a stash of overripe, frozen bananas – perfect to make this yeasted banana loaf. It’s healthier than cake-like banana quick bread and sets up my household for quick, wholesome mini-meal and snack options.

In this world of waste-not, I was patting myself on the back for using up frozen bananas when I heard Evan Kleinman, the host of the Good Food, interview Lindsay Jean Hard, author of Cooking with Scraps (1). I was humbled. Hard uses the banana peels too,

Photo by Lorelle Del Matto

cooking and pureeing them for banana cake. Her book includes intriguing recipes with “pumpkin guts”, coffee grounds and more. I’ve added her book to my 2019 reading list.

This recipe includes over half whole wheat flour, just about matching the U.S. Dietary Guidelines to make “half your grains whole grains” (2). More whole grains mean more dietary fiber, vitamins like E, minerals such as magnesium, and health-promoting phytoestrogens, lignans and phenolic compounds that are found in the bran and germ.

If you think the road to healthy eating does not include whole grains, consider Harvard research published in the journal Circulation (3) which found an inverse relationship between eating whole grains and total and cause-specific mortality.  Eating more whole grains is also associated with weight maintenance, a topic on many minds this month. These are just some of the research-supported benefits.

Most people fall short of meeting their whole grain needs – 3 servings daily for a 2000 calorie eating plan.  One serving is not much – 1 ounce of bread or ½ cup of cooked grain. Today’s grain and noodle bowls likely include 2 to 4 servings. One bagel from my local bagel shop equates to 6 grain servings.

Had enough avocado toast?  Probably not. But in my photo are a few banana toast ideas for breakfast or snacking: One triangle is topped with Justin’s chocolate hazelnut spread (Nutella-like) and a toasted hazelnut, another is peanut butter with sliced banana and crushed peanuts. The third is a tahini-honey blend sprinkled with black sesame and chia seeds.

 Whole Wheat Banana Bread

These directions are to make the dough by hand.  I save time by mixing the dough in my bread machine and then bake it in a conventional oven. The trick to a moist, flavorful dough is to keep it sticky – don’t knead in too much flour.  For rising, coat the top of the dough with nonstick spray and then cover with plastic wrap.

Makes 1 loaf.

2 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour or regular whole wheat flour

2 tablespoons packed brown sugar

2 ½ teaspoons instant yeast

1 teaspoon salt

1 heaping cup mashed ripe banana (about 3 large)

½ cup buttermilk

¼ cup water

2 tablespoons flavorless vegetable oil such as avocado

1 1/2 to 1 ¾ cups bread flour


  1. In a large bowl, combine whole wheat flour, brown sugar, yeast and salt. Stir to blend well.  Heat banana, buttermilk, water and oil until very warm (120° to 130° F). Stir into flour mixture.  Stir in just enough bread flour to make a soft dough.
  2. Scrape dough out of bowl onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for a few minutes, until the ball of dough is smooth and elastic. (Keep the dough as sticky as you can handle so the bread is moist and full of flavor.)
  3. Place the ball of dough in a clean, oiled bowl. Oil top of dough or spray with nonstick spray. Cover with plastic wrap or a lightweight, clean towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  4. Return the dough to a lightly floured surface. Pat to an 8-12-inch rectangle. Starting at a short end, roll up the dough to a cylinder. Pinch the seam and ends to seal; place, seam side down, in an oiled 9-x-5-inch bread pan. Oil top of dough; cover, and let rise in a warm place for 30 to 45 minutes or until almost doubled in size.
  5. Preheat the oven to 375°F about 15 minutes before the loaf is ready to bake. Uncover loaf. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until golden brown (center registers 190° on an instant-read thermometer), covering with foil if needed to prevent over-browning.
  6. Remove loaf from pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Slice and serve.


  1. Getting Creative with Food Scraps  Evan Kleinman at Good Food KCRW.com
  2.  Dietary Guidelines and Whole Grains  wholegrainscouncil.org
  3. Whole Grain Intake and Mortality from All Causes, Cardiovascular Disease, and Cancer, A Meta-Analysis of Prospective Cohort Studies. Geng Zong, Alisa Gao, Frank B. Hu, and Qi Sun. Circulation. Originally published Jun 14,2016

© 2019 Lorelle Del Matto


lorelle About lorelle

Crazy about cooking, eating and sharing good food – my work and leisure revolve around the kitchen. As a culinary dietitian my professional life encompasses nutrition counseling and education, recipe development, product development, food and nutrition writing, marketing communications, corporate test kitchen and consumer affairs management, food styling and work as a product spokesperson.

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