Nut and Seed Bread

Bread Week 7: Sometime in January I came across an article that linked to a recipe for bread that promised to change my life. What caught my eye about this loaf of bread was that it was not only gluten-free – it had no flours in it whatsoever. Not that I mind using rice flour and sorghum flour and almond meal and cornmeal and grinding oats and coconut and so on, but it’s nice to find recipes that don’t involve substitutions for flour. This bread recipe took no leavening and promised to be hearty, crusty, and healthy.

It’s a good loaf of bread to have for breakfast; I also bet it would be great with a hearty, earthy stew. I’m not sure that this loaf of bread has changed my life, but I am glad that it exists.

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Gluten-Free Nut and Seed Bread (adapted from My New Roots)

1 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup whole flax seeds
1/2 cup almonds
1 1/2 cup rolled oats
2 tbsp chia seeds
4 tbsp psyllium husks
1/2 tsp salt (originally 1 tsp, which I thought was too much)
1 tbsp maple syrup (I ran out, so I included some honey)
3 tbsp melted coconut oil
1 1/2 cups water

Grease a loaf pan and line with parchment paper; I used a 9×5 inch pan, but a 8×4 inch pan would work as well. In a bowl, combine dry ingredients. The recipe says to combine wet ingredients separately and then add to the dry; I skipped this and just mixed the maple syrup, oil, and water into the dry ingredients directly. Stir until everything is soaked and liquid is absorbed. Scrape dough into your lined loaf pan; pat down the dough to compress and smooth down the top of the loaf. Let rest at least two hours; I let mine rest overnight.

Preheat oven to 350F. Bake bread in loaf pan for 20 minutes. Flip loaf onto a wire baking rack or broiler pan, or a baking sheet if necessary. (If you use a baking sheet, the bottom will be pale from the lack of air circulation.) Bake the bread, bottom-side up, for another 40 minutes, until the bread sounds hollow when tapped. Cool completely before slicing.

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I stored the bread in a loaf pan covered with foil, and sliced it every morning for breakfast. The bread was dense and hearty, as promised. It was moist inside, so it’s possible that I slightly under-baked it, although with no ill effects. Since I had patted the dough down, the bread wasn’t very crumbly at all. The bread made good toast, and like English muffins, tasted a little raw if you didn’t toast it. (As Alex pointed out, nuts were made for toasting!) I’m not a fan of sunflower seeds, so I should have put in more almonds or some walnuts instead. I could faintly taste the coconut oil in it, but not strongly; I didn’t notice the flavor of the maple syrup. Alex also ate some bread, and he said it was as he expected – healthy and nutty. It’s not like a wheat bread – rather, you should expect a texture a little more like an energy bar.

In the realms of healthy, gluten-free, or vegan breads, this is a pretty tasty and easy one to make. If I make the bread again – and I might, since it is full of protein and fiber and thus is a healthy way to start off my day – I would put it in a 8×4 pan to make the slices taller. I would also try using vegetable oil instead of coconut oil, as I don’t think it will cause any problems.

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