Having worked on lots of gluten-free options for a pizza dough over the past couple of months, I would say that this is my favorite by far. The reason for that isn’t to do with how well the pizza turned out, although it did turn out perfectly, Instead, I loved the recipe for the ease of preparation and the health benefits I’ve read about working with banana flour.
If you have no idea of how good banana flour is, well let me briefly point out some of its advantages:
- It is a much denser source of starch, meaning you’ll be using less of it in place of all-purpose flour in most standard recipes.
- It provides, or rather mimics, the effects of wheat flour in baking, meaning it would be familiar to work with in most recipes.
- It is very neutral tasting and works really well in combination with other gluten-free starches.
- It bakes smooth and fluffy rather than grainy or gritty like most other gluten-free grain-based flours.
- It is certainly gluten-free. Enough said.
- Most important of all, it contains resistant starch, a type that is indigestible in the small intestine. To explain briefly, this type of starch will not be absorbed by the body, leading to reduced sugar and calorie intake.
On top of all these reasons, this dough just takes no effort at all to pull off. It’s as simple as putting all the ingredients together and shaping a crust out of the mix.
I’ve added coconut milk to bring these dry ingredients together. I’m sure water would also be enough if you’re trying to keep those calories down.
The dough will begin as a slightly wet lump which should smoothen out after a few minutes of massaging by hand.
Here’s how your dough should look like.
Being a slightly wet dough, it’s easier to work on it if placed in between sheets of parchment paper.
I’ve pre-baked my dough for about 7 minutes at 425F so it could finish crisp as my toppings bake.
I was extremely impressed with the way that it behaved, particularly when used with coconut flour and tapioca starch. I already mentioned some of the key advantages earlier in this post and there are also other things that make banana flour interesting.
As you can probably guess, banana flour is just flour made from bananas. The less obvious aspect is that the flour is created from unripe green bananas, rather than ripe ones. This is a key reason for the relatively mild flavor of the flour, along with the high level of resistant starch. The use of green bananas also means that the flour basically has no sugar content, despite the fact that it comes from a type of fruit.
Like most wheat flour alternatives, banana flour is also extremely natural. It is simply created by peeling, drying and grinding green bananas. With that in mind, you could theoretically make the flour yourself, although the process probably isn’t worth the effort.
The end result is that this type of flour is extremely good for health and it also works well in a wide range of recipes.
Interestingly, banana flour isn’t just a gluten-free option either. Instead, it can be used as a replacement for wheat flour in many recipes or as an addition. Doing so is powerful for the nutritional component alone and supporters argue that the substitution can also help with weight loss.
Many types of gluten-free flour are challenging because they are excluded from various diets. For example, you can’t include quinoa flour on most diets that exclude grains, even though it isn’t technically a grain. But, banana flour is considerably more flexible and can be used for the majority of diet approaches.
For example, the flour is paleo friendly and can be used on Whole30 as well. Likewise, the flour is thought to help people with immune challenges, so it tends to be allowed on diets like GAPS.
As mentioned previously, the flour is also extremely low in sugar, despite the fact that it comes from bananas. This makes it a viable inclusion in a low carb or a keto diet.
For that matter, the main challenge with banana flour is simply that it is fairly uncommon, although its popularity is increasing. This means that there are relatively few recipes out there that take advantage of the flour. Still, with enough digging, you can find some, such as these Banana Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies or these Banana Flour and Raspberry Muffins.