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Fruit and nut breakfast loaf

breads, breakfast | May 10, 2017 | By

Here’s a lovely loaf to serve for breakfast, toasted or plain, or later in the day with cheese. I made it as mid-morning taster for my students today. It got a thumbs up all round – chewy, crusty…just like REAL bread!

It is based on the seeded wholegrain loaf found here. Measure the grains out and soak them during the day, finish it off in the evening, bake and there you are – a delicious breakfast to wake up to! Make it in a shallow square tin and cut it horizontally into two layers to maximise the crust.

As always use my suggestions for the fruit and nuts as just that, a suggestion only. I happen to love figs with their gritty chewiness, but I know they are not everyone’s cup of tea. Another time I make it I might use apricots and almonds, or cranberries, pistachios and pumpkin seeds (a combination that for me always screams Christmas!). One thing’s for sure – there will be a next time!

Did I mention it makes fabulous crusty, chewy toast?!

This loaf keeps well and lasts about 4-5 days at room temp. Do please leave me a comment if you make it.

 

Fruit and nut breakfast loaf

90g (1/2 cup) raw buckwheat groats
100g (1/2 cup) uncooked brown rice
90g (1/2 cup) uncooked millet
water + 1tbsp cider vinegar for soaking
20g psyllium husk
250ml water
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp sea salt
40g whole hazelnuts
40g dried figs, chopped
20g raisins or sultanas

for tin:
knob of butter

1. Place all the wholegrains in a large bowl, cover with water, add 1 tbsp cider vinegar, stir and leave overnight 12-24 hours to soak.
2. The next day drain and rinse the grains thoroughly, then drain well again and place in a food processor or Thermomix.
3. Preheat the oven to 180C (160C Fan). Grease a 20cm square tin with butter.
4. Measure the water in a small bowl, add the psyllium, stir and set aside for 5 mins to gel.
5. Place the 2 tbsp vinegar, bicarb, salt and gelled psyllium in with the grains and process until fairly smooth, scraping down the sides occasionally.
6. Add the nuts and fruit and mix to combine.
7. Turn the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth the top with a wet spatula. Score with a blade.
9. Bake for 60 mins then remove from the oven, remove from the tin and return to the oven shelf (without a tin) for a final 20 mins to brown the bottom crust.
11. Remove and cool on a cooling rack until completely cold before slicing. Slice horizontally to make larger slices.

Wholegrain seeded loaf (gum free, yeast free, egg free, dairy free)

breads | February 9, 2017 | By

A visit to Chambelland bakery last week and a piece of their ‘5 grains’ gluten free bread had me craving a seedy loaf this weekend. I don’t eat much bread these days. If I do I invariably make it myself unless I’m at a renowned GF boulangerie and want to sample their wares – purely in the interests of research you understand. It’s strange how quickly one loses the habit of eating bread. Eating a sandwich for lunch is now almost a novelty, which hopefully explains my almost childlike enthusiasm for a ready made Marks and Spencer gluten free sandwich while on the road in UK recently. 

So back to this loaf. During my internet trawls I knew that somewhere I had read a recipe written for the thermomix using wholegrains ground up, rather than flour. I also knew about the benefits of soaking nuts and wholegrains before cooking, to reduce the phytate content (see below!).  So the planets aligned when an instagram post by the talented IzaKitchen led me to her recipe for a ‘magic loaf’, which then led me here, to here, to here and here. Baking a loaf of gluten free bread sometimes seems awfully like an exercise in investigative journalism.

I think this is a really interesting loaf for lots of reasons. Firstly it works. Secondly you can use up all those little ends of packets and jars of lentils, rice etc to make it. I used brown/green lentil, some brown rice and millet but you can also use quinoa, buckwheat groats, any rice, and red lentils. The colour of the resulting loaf will change each time – you might notice this loaf in the photos is slightly purple in colour. I suspect that is because I made it with a mixture of grains including green lentils.

This bread doesn’t need yeast which is useful for people who can’t tolerate yeast and for those who are put off by the prospect of using it. It’s actually a kind of soda bread or what used to be called a ‘quick bread’. Now doesn’t that sound reassuringly simple to make?

It is also dairy free, egg free and added sugar free. A small miracle for a gluten free loaf.

And it’s completely do-able for the non GF person who wants to make something for a GF friend or family member. The purchase of psyllium husk is required, not something most regular bakers have in their kitchen cabinet, unless you make one of the other versions linked in the text above, using ground chia seed instead of psyllium. Just make sure you line your baking tin well with baking parchment if it’s been used for gluten bread before – those pesky crumbs can hide in the corners and might make your GF chum sick.

This loaf keeps well in a cupboard for about 4-5 days, is delicious both fresh and toasted and freezes well too. What more can you ask? I’ll post some more photos when I next make it with other grains. As always, make the loaf your own by varying the grains and seeds used.

I’m keen to try the same idea of soaked ground wholegrain with a sourdough to rise rather than the bicarbonate of soda. A first  trial is promising – so watch this space!

Note: If you’re interested in reading more about soaking grains then I’d point you in the direction of this post on the blog of Naomi Devlin, whose book ‘Food for a Happy Gut’ is released later this year.

 

Seeded wholegrain loaf

based on this recipe here

your choice of a mix of wholegrains (see above) – lentils, rice, quinoa, buckwheat groats, millet, measured up to a total volume of 375ml in a measuring jug
water + 1tbsp cider vinegar for soaking
20g psyllium husk
250ml water
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp sea salt
25g sunflower seeds
25g flax seeds

for tin:
knob of butter
handful of sunflower seeds
poppy seeds
1. Place the wholegrains in a large bowl, cover with water, add 1 tbsp cider vinegar, stir and leave overnight 12-24 hours to soak.
2. The next day drain and rinse the grains, then drain well and place in a food processor or Thermomix.
3. Preheat the oven to 180C (160C Fan). Grease a 1kg (2lb) loaf tin with butter and coat with the handful of sunflower seeds.
4. Measure the water in a small bowl, add the psyllium, stir and set aside for 5 mins to gel.
5. Place the 2 tbsp vinegar, bicarb, salt and gelled psyllium in with the grains and process until smooth, scraping down the sides occasionally.
6. Add the seeds and mix to combine.
7. Turn the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth the top with a wet spatula.
8. Sprinkle the top with poppy seeds.
9. Bake for 40 mins then remove from the oven, make a shallow cut down the centre of the crust of the loaf (to allow it to expand evenly) and return to the oven for a further 40 mins bake time.
10. Remove from the tin and return to the oven shelf (without a tin) for a final 10 mins to brown the crust.
11. Remove and cool on a cooling rack until completely cold before slicing.

In a bind

breads, classes | September 30, 2015 | By

In my gluten free baking classes, I teach my flour blend – a 50% wholegrain blend that gives good results across a broad range of recipes with the added option of adding extra wholegrain to an  individual recipe to increase the nutritional content and general ‘heartiness’, for example in some of my breads, or of adding extra starch for extra lightness.

The flour blend is only half the story though. In using gluten free flours we are omitting the gluten protein that helps stick the flours together so the end product isn’t dry and crumbly. 

Enter the binders – added to each recipe in varying quantities depending on the result required. And that’s where it gets a little tricky. Different binders work best for some recipes and not for others. In my baking classes I teach you to use all of them in turn, so you are confident with how to use them. 

Types of binder:

The first commonly used binder is xanthan gum. Produced by the fermentation of a starch by a bacterium, xanthanoma campestris, this is an incredibly sticky white powder. I used to joke with students to be careful never to drop the open bag on their newly washed kitchen floor. Until I did exactly that. It is no exaggeration to say I needed a paint scraper to get it all off. I am not a great fan of using xanthan gum – it simply doesn’t agree with me – giving me the same intestinal distress as gluten does. I only worked this out after I started testing recipes in earnest for classes and tasting many more baked goods regularly. It’s worth bearing this in mind if you start having symptoms after starting to bake more – something you might otherwise have put down to cross contamination. 

The second binder I use regularly is pixie dust. After posting a picture on Facebook with a jar in the background labelled ‘pixie dust’ I had an email from a follower asking what it was. Apparently the poor lady was concerned as she had googled it and found a reference to an amphetamine called the same thing. As I was teaching in Singapore at that time, with its zero tolerance to drugs, I was quick to pressure her that I wasn’t doing that Dutch coffee shop kind of baking!  Pixie dust is a mixture of flax seed, chia and psyllium husk, devised by Dr Jean Layton, from the excellent site Gluten Free Doctor all ground together in a high speed blender or a spice grinder. I reproduce her recipe for it at the bottom of the page, with Jean’s permission. If you don’t have one of those then you could buy pre-ground flax and chia and mix it with the psyllium husk. Always store ground seeds, including the pixie dust mixture, in the fridge, as once the seed coats are broken down, the omega 3 fatty acids are exposed to oxygen and can quickly go rancid. So into the fridge or freezer they go. 

The third binder I use is psyllium husk – also called ispaghula husk or isabgol, from the outer part of the seeds of the plant Plantago ovata which grows in India and Pakistan. It is commonly used to treat constipation and in fact in America is found with the label ‘colon cleanser’. At first glance it might seem a strange addition to baked goods – but its property of becoming mucilaginous when added to water and holding that moisture in gluten free bread baking works a treat.

Lastly, the other component of pixie dust, ground flax is enough to bind some mixtures. I prefer to use the golden flax seed as the lighter colour is less obvious in baked goods, but either work fine.

How to use the binders : 

The golden rule with xanthan gum is to always mix it with the dry flours before adding any wet ingredients, otherwise it will be impossible to incorporate it evenly into the recipe. The amount needed per 100g flour increases as we move across the chewiness scale from cookies and muffins to cakes and then breads. Roughly, I would use 1/8 tsp per 100g flour for cookies and muffins (if actually needed at all), to 1/4tsp per 100g for cakes and up to 3/4 tsp per 100g for breads. Other writers might use more than this, but for the personal reasons started above, I try to reduce the quantity to a minimum.

Pixie dust can either be incorporated into the dry ingredients (like xanthan gum) or added to the wet ingredients ahead of mixing the dry ingredients, giving it time to ‘gel’ first. I tend to use the latter method as I think it gives a slightly better result and also mixing time is reduced, which is important for those students without a stand mixer! Jean Layton advises using the substitution of 1/2 tsp xanthan gum with 10g pixie dust. I have found this level to work well for cookies and cakes but I find less is needed for breads – so exactly the opposite with xanthan gum. For breads I would recommend using 5g pixie dust as a substitute per 1/2 tsp xanthan gum (so 30g pixie dust as a sub for 1 tbsp xanthan gum). Any more in breads gives a very wet ‘gummy’ result.

I usually add psyllium husk to the dry ingredients before adding the wet ones and then allow sufficient mixing time for the psyllium to absorb the water

Note : My recipes have been written each with a particular binder in mind, and I have not tried all the binders in all the recipes. 

Pixie Dust
Print
Ingredients
  1. 60g golden flax seed
  2. 30g white chia seed
  3. 15g psyllium husk
Instructions
  1. Grind all ingredients together until floury.
  2. Store in the fridge or freezer until needed.
Notes
  1. See post above for quantities to substitute for xanthan gum.
Adapted from Gluten Free Doctor
bien cuit http://www.biencuitglutenfree.com/