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Made with Love, Not Sodium Part 2

August 11, 2011 by Joanna Drake, Registered Dietitian

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If you've never experimented with different ingredients, making changes to a recipe may seem daunting. To be fair, sometimes simple changes can ruin a recipe. But with some knowledge of the ingredients' functions, you can lower the risk of having to put your creation go right from the oven into the garbage.

In my banana bread recipe (and other "quick breads" like muffins), the role of salt is simply to add flavour. Therefore, removing it should only affect the taste. By comparison, in bread made with yeast, salt also control how quickly bread rises. You cannot remove it without making other changes to the recipe.

Once I understood the function of salt, I looked what ingredients in my banana bread contained sodium: margarine and baking soda. The margarine was an easy switch; I just bought a salt-free version and used it instead. But the baking soda change required more investigation. Baking soda is used for its leavening effects (making the banana bread rise). Baking powder also has leavening properties but, is less powerful than baking soda. Therefore, if you use baking powder instead of baking soda, it is generally recommended to use 2-3 times the amount of baking powder as you would soda. Instead of 1 teaspoon of baking soda, I used 2 teaspoons of baking powder. And it worked!

Original Recipe: (*Sodium Content)

  • 3 bananas (*3mg)
  • 1 cup sugar (*2mg)
  • 2 eggs (*116 mg)
  • 1/4 cup non-hydrogenated margarine (*640mg)
  • 1/4 appple sauce (*2mg)
  • 1 1/4 cups flour (*0mg)
  • 1 tsp baking soda (*1284mg)

*Total Sodium = 2,047 mg per 12 slices = 170 mg per slice

New! Sodium-Reduce Recipe (*Sodium Content)

  • 3 bananas (*3mg)
  • 1 cup sugar (*2mg)
  • 2 eggs (*116mg)
  • 1/4 cup salt-free non-hydrogenated margarine (*16mg)
  • 1/4 cup apple sauce (*2mg)
  • 1 1/4 cups flour (*0mg)
  • 2 tsp baking powder (*618mg)

*Total Sodium = 757 mg per 12 slices = 63mg per slice

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350F. Line the loaf pan with parchment or wax paper (to prevent the banana bread from sticking to the pan).
  • In one bowl, cream together the bananas, sugar, eggs, margarine and apple sauce until they are well mixed (will still be slightly lumpy).
  • In another bowl, mix flour and baking powder together.
  • Then lightly fold the dry mixture into the wet mixture until mixed through.
  • Pour the batter into the lined loaf pan.
  • Bake for 1 hour, or until the loaf is firm and no uncooked batter sticks to a toothpick when poked into the center of the loaf.
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