About a month ago I came across a recipe for a loaf of bread. It was the title and the sub-line that drew me in.
The whole-grain, gluten-free, no-knead, no-mess, life-changing loaf of bread.
How could I not have a look? This sounded like the bread of my dreams (apart from that gluten-free crunchy crusty yet soft and oh so slightly doughy in the middle French bread that has yet to appear in reality).
Easy to make, dense and rugged, packed with enough energy giving ingredients to keep you going for the whole morning, and it supposedly made great toast. Things were looking good.
Until I discovered that it had oats in it. However, not to be undeterred, I set about thinking of alternatives to use.
My first attempt used a mixture of millet flour and rice flakes instead of the oats. It worked fine. But.
I forgot, didn’t I, like a numpty, that rice has a propensity to turn slightly lethal after a few days. Rice flakes are, after all, cooked rice flattened into flakes and dried. They only need a little bit of liquid to revive them. And cooked rice can give you rice poisoning (just like pasta can) after a couple of days, even if it has been kept in the fridge. So imagine what a loaf of bread could do if it has been sat, wrapped in foil, in a tin at room temperature.
It took me a while to work out why my stomach was so sore and upset. As far as I had known, I hadn’t eaten anything I shouldn’t have. Then the penny dropped, when I opened the foil one morning, having geared myself up for poached eggs and toast, to discover my bread was sporting a rather fetching furry green coat. It was mighty impressive. But not in the least bit edible.
However, I am not saying that you can’t use rice flakes. Please do, if you want to or that is what you have around at the time. But please, please, please, slice it up once it is cold and freeze it. This should avoid any upsets of the gastrointestinal kind (apologies if you are eating anything whilst reading this. I hope I haven’t put you off your food. I could have been more graphic).
Next time round I used millet flakes instead of the oats. Also perfectly acceptable, and that is the version I have given you below. If you can eat oats, then you can of course use them instead.
The first loaf also had pumpkin seeds instead of chia seeds, because I didn’t have any. But I did use them in the next loaf. I prefer them to the pumpkin seeds as they disappear into the loaf and are one less thing to chew.
There are a lot of things to chew on in this loaf. That’s why it keeps you going for so long.
There is one more thing I will change the next time I make it, and that’s the nuts. The original recipe states that either almonds or hazelnuts can be used. I used almonds, as that’s what I had to hand. But to be honest I think I would prefer the hazelnuts. They will give a different flavour and they are smaller than almonds. Should I use almonds again then I will definitely be chopping them up a bit as I got a bit fed up chomping on whole almonds all the time. The other morning there was a whole almond in three consecutive mouthfuls. What with all the seeds it was just too much and eating it became a chore rather than a pleasure (and I confess, I subsequently picked all the almonds out as I came across them). Hazelnuts it is from now on. I may even chop them up a little bit, just to be on the safe side.
It takes a little longer to toast than ‘normal’ bread, but it is definitely worth doing, purely for the flavour.
So that’s covered the whole-grain and gluten-free aspects, what about the no-knead and no-mess part?
There is no yeast and obviously no gluten, so therefore no need to knead! Binding agents come in the form of psyllium husks, which absorb a lot of liquid and become very sticky.
And no-mess? Well, you mix it all in the tin you are going to make it in. You will need a small bowl or jug in order to melt and mix the liquid ingredients, but other than that, it is almost a one tin loaf.
Oh, you will need a spoon too. I tried to mix the dry ingredients with my hand but you can’t mix it as well as you can with a spoon – I had a large clump of flax seeds in one corner. And when you add the liquid you will definitely need a spoon to mix it with. You need to work quickly as it will become firm quite quickly.
Don’t expect anything light and airy. This is a dense brick of a loaf. But it is a tasty brick.
Enjoy sweet or savoury.
Seed & Nut Bread
- 135g (1 cup) sunflower seeds
- 90g (1/2 cup) flax seeds
- 65g (1/2 cup) hazelnuts or almonds
- 145g (1 1/2 cups) millet flakes, or oats
- 2 tbsps chia seeds
- 4 tbsps psyllium seed husks, 3 tbsps if you are using powdered
- 1 tsp fine grain sea salt, or 1 1/2 tsp if using coarse sea salt
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 45ml coconut oil, melted
- 350ml (1 1/2 cups) water
- Line a loaf pan with baking parchment. Combine all the dry ingredients, mixing them well.
- In a separate bowl whisk together the maple syrup, coconut oil and water.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix well until everything is completely soaked and the mixture becomes very thick. Smooth out the top with the back of the spoon.
- Let it sit on the counter for at least 2 hours (can be left all day or overnight). It is ready when it retains its shape when pulled away from the sides of the pan / parchment.
- Pre-heat the oven to 175 Celsius / 155 Fan / 350 Fahrenheit.
- Place the pan in the middle of the oven for 40 minutes. Carefully remove it from the pan, peel off the paper and place it upside down on the rack for a further 20 – 30 minutes. It is cooked when it is golden all over and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped.
- Place on a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.
- Store in an air-tight container for 5 days. Can be frozen, but slice it before putting it in the freezer.
© The Pink Rose Bakery 2014