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Steamed Banana Breads with Cinnamon and Fennel

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Anonymous baker (not verified)

Steamed Banana Breads with Cinnamon and Fennel

I go hiking almost every Saturday, and when I do, I have a tradition of baking a snack to take along the Friday night before. I've recently been especially dabbling in steaming breads, and this was my most recent experiment.

The ingredients I used were mostly chosen out of convenience; I had a couple very ripe bananas and a surplus of brown rice flour. I do think non-wheat flours work fairly well for steamed breads, though, since in my experience steamed breads usually end up with denser crumbs anyway. Dense breads like these are also ideal for hiking and backpacking because they take up a lot less space.

I should also note that while I was planning for this to be more of a quick bread, I did include a little bit of ripe sourdough starter. This was primarily for flavor, but also because I was curious to see if combining it with some baking soda would have any effect on the crumb structure. If there was any impact, it was imperceptible, but I did like the taste.

Rice Flour

310 g


Mashed Banana

180 g


Active Starter (100% hydration, rye flour-based)

80 g


Baking Soda

8 g



8 g


Fennel seeds, ground

4 g



6 g


Thoroughly mix all the ingredients and form into about 12 evenly sized buns. I let them rest for about half an hour then steamed them for 20 minutes.

They ended up a beautiful brown color (probably mostly due to the cinnamon) and smelled just like a baked banana bread. However, it ended up with a very savory taste overall. They actually almost reminded me of a pretzel because of the alkalinity of the baking soda, but it also was somehow a little sour from the starter. The fennel flavor wasn't overwhelming but it did add some nice anisey notes, and much to my disappointment, the cinnamon disappeared entirely.

Not exactly what I'd intended flavorwise, but a hearty snack is always appreciated on the trail!


PalwithnoovenP's picture

From my experience too, gluten free flours work well in steamed breads. Dense bread has its own charm.