Healthy, Heartful Bread

I read this post on My New Roots that claimed this was "The Life Changing Loaf of Bread." Here's why:

First of all, when I make bread, there are bowls, spoons, measuring cups and flour everywhere. There is always a mess to clean up, and my biggest pet peeve is trying to get the very last bit of dough unstuck from the mixing bowl. The only thing this bread leaves you with is a used spoon and a measuring cup. Everything you mix, you do so right in the loaf pan. Genius.
Second, bread almost always requires some kneading, then some waiting, and then perhaps more kneading. This bread, on the other hand, is super straightforward. Dump all the ingredients into the loaf pan, stir, and let it sit for a couple hours. Or overnight. Or all day. Or however long or short you find convenient. No pressure.
Third. Bread recipes are specific. Use this kind of flour, and that kind of yeast…
What if I told you that if you don’t have hazelnut, you could use almonds? If you don’t like oats, you could use rolled spelt. Out of maple syrup? Use honey! Just replace the ingredients in the same proportion and with a similar ingredient for the best results. 
Fourth, breads require a rising agent, whether that is a sourdough starter (this takes days to make) or commercial yeast (which should really be avoided if possible). This bread doesn’t. End of story.
Fifth, your typical loaf of bread is not really that healthy. It uses flour, which has often been stripped of much of its fiber, bran, essential fats, and unless milled mere hours before baking has lost most of its nutrients through oxidation. It is high in carbohydrates (often refined ones at that) and low in protein and healthy fats. It is high in gluten and sometimes has kooky ingredients like corn syrup and food coloring. Unlike your typical bread, this recipe uses whole grains, nuts, and seeds. It is high in protein, fiber, and is gluten-free and vegan. Everything gets soaked for optimal nutrition and digestion making this bread good for you.

The Life-Changing Loaf of Bread
Makes 1 loaf
1 cup / 135g sunflower seeds
½ cup / 90g flax seeds
½ cup / 65g hazelnuts or almonds (Use pre-sliced versions; not the whole nuts as pictured in this post)
1 ½ cups / 145g rolled oats
2 Tbsp. chia seeds
4 Tbsp. psyllium seed husks (3 Tbsp. if using psyllium husk powder)
1 tsp. fine grain sea salt (add ½ tsp. if using coarse salt)
1 Tbsp. maple syrup (for sugar-free diets, use a pinch of stevia)
3 Tbsp. melted coconut oil or butter
1 ½ cups / 350ml water
In a loaf pan, combine all of the dry ingredients and stir them well.

Whisk the oil, water, and maple syrup (see my favorite syrup below). Then, add them to the dry ingredients in the loaf pan. Mix everything until the dough is soaked and becomes very thick (if the dough is too thick to stir, add one or two teaspoons of water until the dough is manageable).

This is my new, favorite maple syrup. My dad and I bought it on a whim in the food aisle at our local Marshall's. This vanilla bean maple syrup is seriously phenomenal, and worked great with this recipe. If you have the means, I highly recommend purchasing it for this recipe and others in the future.

Put saran wrap over the dough and let it sit at room temperature over night. 

After sitting over night, you are ready to bake! Preheat the oven to 350°F / 175°C. Place the loaf pan in the oven on the middle rack, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the bread from the loaf pan and place it upside down directly on the rack and bake for another 30-40 minutes. The bread is done when it sounds hollow when tapped. Let it cool completely before slicing. 

Now, dig in! I microwaved my slice of bread for 30 seconds in the microwave before spreading some honey butter on top. It was delicious and definitely different. My best description of this recipe is an energy-packed granola bar turned bread-lover's BFF (minus the carbs). It has the consistency of a hearty bread with the grit and health benefits of a granola bar. Ultimately, I really liked this recipe as a bread enthusiast who is always open to healthier alternatives. Give it a try and let me know what you think. Happy baking!

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