My “Life Changing Bread” Endeavor

For the longest time I have wanted to try baking a seed-based bread, or what mynewroots terms as, “life changing bread.” Unfortunately, the lack of certain ingredients always thwarts my ambition to make such recipes. I typically try baking things that use up the ingredients already in my house, but most seed breads call for chia seeds, psyllium husk, and other assorted health foods, which I rarely have in my pantry at the same time.

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However, this week, I was determined to scrounge up the ingredients and bake a fresh loaf. This resulted in me picking pumpkin seeds out of my store-bought trail mix and playing around with the original recipe’s other ingredients, in particular the psyllium husk.

While most seed bread recipes tend to be gluten free, I do not adhere to a gluten free diet, so I chose to substitute a packet of whole-grain cream of wheat for the psyllium husk. The main function of the psyllium husk (besides fiber) is to absorb the large amount of liquid used in the recipe. Similarly, cream of wheat also absorbs a lot of water when cooking, which makes it a perfect substitute if you aren’t gluten free or you don’t have psyllium husks. I would even venture a guess that a packet of instant oatmeal might do the same thing.

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My other change to the recipe involved adding some shredded, unsweetened, toasted coconut. The original recipe calls for toasting the seeds and nuts, so I just toasted the coconut at the same time as the seeds. Alternatively, you could buy toasted coconut. This change was simply a preference of flavor. If you have other spices or add-ins, this bread is the perfect recipe to throw them in… think like an “everything but the kitchen sink” kind of bread.

The resulting bread will be moist, soft, and crunchy all at the same time. Once the bread cools, get creative with the toppings! Below I list some of my suggestions for toppings, but definitely experiment with your own favorite ingredients too. I tend to layer my toppings, often starting with a spreadable base, then adding greens or some type of vegetable, and ending with a drizzle of dressing or a balsamic glaze.

I hope you enjoy my take on “life changing bread” as much as I did.

Good luck and remember: don’t sweat it if you don’t have all the ingredients, simply use what you like.

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Suggested Toppings:

smashed avocado

cottage cheese (with honey)

ricotta (with an olive spread)

almond butter

goat cheese (with strawberries and balsamic glaze)

 

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[Adapted from davidlebovitz.com recipe].

Dry Ingredients: 
2 1/4 cups rolled oats
1 cup sunflower seeds, hulled
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, hulled
1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
3/4 cup almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped (I used pre-sliced almonds to save time)
3/4 cup ground flax seeds (or you could do half ground, half whole)
1/3 cup (1 packet) whole wheat cream of wheat
3 tablespoons chia seeds (plus more for topping)
1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
Wet Ingredients:
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (see note)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 1/2 cups water
Steps:
Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Mix seeds, coconut, and nuts together and toast for 14 minutes, stirring half way. While the nuts and seeds are toasting, mix all other dry ingredients together. Add the nuts, seeds, and coconut to the dry ingredients and mix. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir well. I would highly recommend using your hands to mix all the ingredients for a few minutes. Using your hands helps all the ingredients to really incorporate and almost stick together, like a kneading step in yeast bread.
Grease an 8×4 pan and pour the dough into the loaf pan. Place the bread into the fridge for at least 2 hours (preferably 3 if you have time) to absorb all the liquid. Let the bread come back to room temperature before you bake it.
[Optional: Sprinkle your favorite kind of seeds on top before baking]
Preheat oven to 400ºF (200ºC) and bake the bread for approximately 1 hour.
Take the bread out and carefully remove it from the pan. DO NOT cut the bread! Let it cool for at least 2 hours. This long cooling process is necessary to allow the bread to set.
Finally…slice thinly and toast!
Notes:
1) It is essential to use pure, good quality maple syrup. It ensures better flavor and is free of unhealthy additives.
2) If you don’t devour the loaf in a few days, slice and freeze it for a quick grab and go snack. Pre-slicing the bread before putting it in the freezer makes it much easier to defrost a single piece when you are in the mood.
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