Gluten-Free Ratio Rally: Quick Breads


Sugar crust



Welcome to round two of the Gluten-Free Ratio Rally! If you’ve stumbled upon this post and are interested in reading more about what
the Rally is all about, check out the post from our inaugural run when we all shared ratios and recipes for pancakes. This week we’re giving youquick breads, a category that comprises muffins as well.

The nice thing about quick breads is that, in addition to being delicious, they’re pretty darn quick. That is, quick compared to yeasted breads, since they employ either baking powder or soda (or a combination) as leavening. Use roughly 1 teaspoon of baking powder for every 4 oz of flour, though I tend to think gluten-free baked goods benefit from a little extra oomph. Rulhman’s basic ratio for quick breads, which was used to create the recipe below, is:

2 parts flour : 2 parts liquid : 1 part egg : 1 part butter



For a few years when we were young, after my parents’ divorce, my brother and I would spend the summers at my dad’s house. He worked during the day and we passed the time watching Nickelodeon, playing Nintendo, and biking to the local “aquatic center”. One day, bored and in the mood to bake, I sifted through the kitchen cupboards and came across a blue box of date bread mix.

I remember very distinctly opening the package and pulling out the tiny packet of flour-dusted dates. What were dates anyway? From what I could see, they were hard little brown bits and unlike anything I knew. I placed them in my mind somewhere between a dried fruit and a nut. Maybe they were somehow a bit of both?




I don’t recall making the actual bread—though there isn’t much remarkable about stirring together a mix, is there? I do, however, remember thoroughly enjoying the end result. I’d never eaten date bread before and was not entirely sure how the mix wound up in my dad’s cupboards, but I was glad that it did.

Since that summer, “date bread” is something that has stuck with me. I’m now well-acquainted with the fruit: stirring them into brown rice porridge first thing in the morning, folding them into scones, and downing more than my fair share the past couple years in the form of Larabars. And every time I come across them, I remember that blue box (and to be fair, the marketplace scene from Aladdin).


Dates and walnuts


When I set to work on this month’s Ratio Rally post, I spied a container of dates in our kitchen and thought once more of that bread. I wanted to recreate the soft, humble loaf, studded throughout with bits of honey-sweet dates and punctuated this time with walnuts. Date bread isn’t quite as showy as other quick breads, like the coveted banana or the crowd-pleasing zucchini. Maybe that’s what makes it so particularly good. Not overly fragrant or loudly spiced, it sits smelling sweet, faintly of butter, but looking rather harmless. It’s unexpected. And it has a way of staying in your mind.


Date walnut bread slice



Date & Walnut Bread

3 oz millet flour
3 oz sorghum flour
1 oz potato starch
1 oz tapioca starch
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 oz (1 stick) butter, softened
4 oz brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 oz water
¾ cup chopped, pitted dates (8-10 Medjool dates) (See prep note below.)
½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts
Raw or white sugar for sprinkling (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the millet and sorghum flours, the tapioca and potato starches, the xanthan gum, baking powder, and salt.

Prep note: Remove a roughly 1/4 cup portion of the flour mixture to a small bowl. When preparing the dates, coat the chopped pieces in the flour mixture. Dates are very sticky and doing this will help to keep them separated when they are mixed into the batter. Transfer the excess flour back to the flour bowl.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla.

Mix one third of the flour mixture into the butter and sugar mixture. Next, mix in one third of the water. Continue adding the flour mixture and the water alternately until all the ingredients are combined. Stir in the dates and walnuts.

Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan. Sprinkle the top generously with raw sugar, if desired, and bake for 50-55 minutes. The bread will be golden and a knife inserted in the center will come out clean when it is done.



Hey, one cannot rally alone! We have an even bigger group this time around with tons of delicious-looking gluten-free quick breads for you to try. Our wonderful host this month, Silvana, has posted a full list of links on her site. Head on over to her kitchen and check them out. With lovelies like her own Chocolate-Coated Marshmallow-Topped Vanilla Cupcakes, Jenn’s Chocolate Chestnut Quickbread, and Gretchen’s Gingerbread Fig Loaf, you’re not going to want to miss a single one.


  1. Caneel said...

    I love dates in almost anything and love date bread. This looks delicious!!

  2. Karen said...

    Your flour combo looks like a good one and it has been so long since we have had dates…a must try.

  3. With Style and Grace said...

    Oh, I love dates!! This recipe sounds delicious – I think I need to give it try. So happy to be apart of this group and connecting with so many other gf bloggers!

  4. Lisa at Gluten Free Canteen said...

    First, may I say that I love dates, too. They deserve more attention, I think. And second, I love the way you write – "loudly spiced" – what a great description. Growing up we had date breads, but mostly the stuff that came in a can (ick). I so would enjoy this one more – looks fabulous (as do the photos)!

  5. Jenn said...

    What a beautiful bread and wonderful photos! My husband loves dates, I'm sure he would love your version :)

  6. gretchen said...

    thanks for the shout out! your date bread looks delightful… this rallying is fun! :)

  7. Caroline @ The G-Spot said...

    What a wonderful story! And, wow, that bread looks fantastic! Can't wait to try it. :)

  8. Tara Barker said...

    Dates are so wonderful – funny to hear so many "I love dates" when I tend to think of dates as a neglected fruit. I can't believe I've never had date bread, though. Must remedy that soon! Thanks for the recipe!

  9. shauna said...

    It's hours since I first saw this bread and I am still thinking about it. Come visit this coast so we can bake together!

  10. Claire Berman said...

    I, too, love dates, although I have yet to use them in baked goods. But this recipe will be the perfect excuse to do so! Reading about how you spent your summer days totally brought back very similar memories for me, and of all the Nickelodeon shows of the 80s and 90s. :)

  11. chocswirl said...

    Beautiful photos! Wow, this really looks yum. I haven't baked much with dates, I'm kinda not sure of them, but this looks like a great recipe to start with!

  12. brooke said...

    Actually not a fan of dates, but your bread might convert me. :) Love the childhood memories. I have some similar ones.

  13. The Healthy Apple said...

    Date and Walnut Bread…love this idea. What a great recipe and I am going to bake this tomorrow; thank you for sharing this great recipe with all of us. It's great to meet another gluten-free fabulous Manhattan blogger! I hope to meet you soon.

  14. melanie said...

    I love dates too – but somehow I've forgotten. thanks for the reminder, I've got to do something about this – perhaps I'll start with your bread recipe which sounds so good! Love you pictures also.

  15. Niv said...

    I tried this bread last night and it was really easy to make and came out delicious. I did have one question about the baking powder, do we really 1 tbsp coz I felt that made it lil dry and crumbles very easily, plus I felt it had a lil chalky after taste but my picky hubby gobbled it up and went for seconds. I would definitely make this again, but if you have any suggestions on reducing the baking powder I would appreciate that. Thanks for a easy, quick and delicious bread.

    • Britt said...

      Hi Niv! 1 tablespoon of baking powder worked well for me with no strange aftertastes or anything. You could try reducing it to 2 teaspoons, though, and see if that works better for you. Did you make any ingredient substitutions? Also, maybe it needed a few more minutes in the oven? I feel like underbaking can make things taste chalky sometimes. And, as with many things, letting it cool completely before cutting into it should help keep it together (I know it can be hard to wait!).

      Thanks for reporting back–I’m glad that you and your husband enjoyed it for the most part. ;) Hopefully these things will help!

  16. gluten free bread flour said...

    Thanks for supporting the gluten free family.

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