The Wood-Fired Blog

Hiding the Healthy Stuff

There has been a lot written recently by Mark Bittman, Michael Pollan and others about how important it is that our society reclaim some control over what we eat from the big multinationals by cooking at home more. Which makes a lot of sense. The theory is that big business has taught us that cooking is drudgery, better left to the nation’s fast food companies, but that in reality cooking is easy, can (should) be fun, and that once you are in control of your own ingredients, you will make healthy food. I really believe this.

banana bread

So here is my contribution with a quick bread recipe that is both really easy and healthier than the original. Banana bread.

The basic recipe is really easy (lots of round numbers of cups and teaspoons).

Dry Ingredients

2 cups AP flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon

Wet Ingredients

4 ripe bananas
2 eggs
1 tsp real vanilla
1/2 cup melted butter
1 Tbs milk

Here is the healthy stuff.

1. Replace 1 cup of AP flour with White Whole Wheat Flour
2. Add 1/2 cup of flax (or oat) bran
3. Replace the 1/2 cup of melted butter with 1/4 cup of olive oil and 1/2 cup of applesauce
4. Cut the sugar to 3/4 cup
5. Increase the milk to 2 Tbs.

You will love this bread, and your family won’t have any idea that you are hiding lots of good stuff in it. This is by no measure a health food, but it’s a nice way to eat what you like, knowing that it’s a lot better than the store-bought equivalent.

One trick. Use one measuring teaspoon and one measuring cup for all of the dry ingredients (estimate the fractions of a cup; which minimizes clean up) and use the measuring spoon to mix the dry ingredients before adding the web ingredients directly into the mixing bowl (it’s fast and easier and it works). You can make this bread and completely clean up the kitchen in about 5 minutes — faster than you can pre-heat your oven to 350F.

Here is the photo journal version.


1 cup AP flour, 1 cup white whole wheat flour, 3/4 cup of sugar, and 1/2 cup flax or oat ban

dry ingredients

1 tsp of baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon (one measuring spoon).

dry ingredients

The dry ingredients.

dry ingredients mixed

Mix the dry ingredients with the measuring spoon.

wet ingredients

1/4 cup olive oil, 1/2 cup apple sauce, 1 tsp vanilla, two eggs, four bananas, and two Tbs. milk.

wet ingredients

Throw the wet ingredient on top.


Mix on low for 5 minutes.


Lightly oil and flour the loaf pan.

ready to go

Ready for the oven.


Bake at 350F for about 60 minutes; until an internal temperature of 195F+.




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