My first experiment with veganization was a resounding success! I have never veganized an already-vegetarian recipe before, but one of my goals this month was to try some simple substitutions, and this one worked very well. About two weeks ago I made the standard recipe for Jeanne Lemlin's banana bran bread from Vegetarian Classics. It was a great bread. It is less sweet than standard banana bread, and the bran gives it a nice chewiness. Both aspects make it more breakfasty and less desserty than normal banana bread. As written, the recipe contains eggs and melted butter. I made it as written first to make sure it was a good recipe before I started messing with things. In the vegan version, which I made last week, I used flax seeds mixed with water in place of the eggs and vegetable oil in place of the butter. I was worried that my naive substitutions would mess up the chemistry completely, but when it came out of the oven, it was great. I didn't have a piece of the first batch to compare it to, but it didn't seem to suffer at all from being veganized. Hooray! I look forward to using the flax-egg substitution in the future. Flax has a lot of fiber and omega-3's and is much lower in calories than eggs, so it is a good healthy alternative.
Veganized Banana Bran Bread
You can probably substitute whole wheat pastry flour for the all-purpose flour with no problems. I was out, so I didn't.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup wheat bran
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg, optional
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
2 tbsp ground flax seed mixed with 6 tbsp water
2-3 mashed ripe bananas
6 tbsp vegetable or nut oil
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Use shortening or oil to greast a 9x5-inch loaf pan. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients and mix. In a medium bowl mix together the flax mixture, bananas, and oil. Scrape into the flour mixture and stir just to combine. Pour into the prepared pan.
Bake for 50 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing from the pan. If you have superhuman self-control, cool completely before slicing.
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