I had never baked bread until last month although I've always felt curious and wanted to learn how a great loaf of bread is made. I find bread-making very creative, nostalgic and beautiful. Since going 'gluten-free' a few years ago I replaced regular bread with raw seed crackers, rice or corn crackers/cakes and occasionally bread made with buckwheat flour from a local bakery. I no longer crave bread as I used to when I first stopped eating it, but I do enjoy a piece of toast with avocado every now and then. That is why I love this recipe! It is perfect for those special occasions when I feel like treating myself — on the weekends or when I have guests coming over. It is ridiculously easy to make (anyone can make this!) and tastes beautiful, but it is a bit pricey.
This thick, dense bread is slightly moist, not light, airy or sponge-like. It is very filling and satisfying, with a nutty flavour that I personally love. To make it, all you have to do is process a few ingredients in a food processor, mix them in a bowl with the remaining ingredients, leave to sit for a few minutes and bake for an hour. Try it as is or toasted with mashed avocado, a thick pesto sauce, or any other spread of your choice. You can also play around with the flavourings, add different herbs or even spices, substitute the olives for other fillings you think might work or take the olives and herbs out altogether and make it slightly sweet with raisins or any other dried fruits you like.
A few days ago it occured to me that perhaps this bread could be sprouted beforehand (by soaking the nuts and seeds the night before) to make it even easier to digest and more bioavailable (easier to absorb its nutrients). I will make a point of trying this next time I make it and will report back with an updated version. If by complete chance you are a professional or experienced baker, I would love to know what you think of this recipe and how it could be improved! Although I think it is pretty spectacular as is... heehee, but you know, there's always room for improvement!
(GLUTEN-FREE) NUT + SEED LOAF WITH KALAMATA OLIVES AND DRIED HERBS
|Makes two loafs using 20 x 10 cm moulds|
- 200 grammes chickpea flour
- 250 grammes raw almonds (with skin)
- 250 grammes pumpkin seeds
- 80 grammes black sesame seeds (or white)
- 2 tbsp chia seeds
- 2 tbsp psyllium husk (can be found in most health food stores - helps to bind the loaf together)
- 3 tbsp dried Italian herb mix (oregano, thyme, etc)
- 4 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp fine sea salt or himalayan salt
- 150 grammes kalamata olives (pitted)
- 600 ml cold water
- 1 tsp rising agent (optional)
- 2 tsp coconut oil for greasing the moulds
* Inspired by Deliciously Ella's Superfood Bread recipe.
STEP BY STEP
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350 Fº) fan.
- Process the almonds and pumpkin seeds to a flour-like consistency.
- In a big bowl, combine the almond and pumpkin seed flour with the chickpea flour, remaining pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, chia seeds, psyllium husk, nutritional yeast, dried herbs, salt and rising agent.
- Add the cold water and mix together. Set aside for 10-15 to allow the water to be absorbed. Now add the Kalamata olives and mix them in.
- Prepare the moulds by greasing them with the coconut oil.
- Spoon the mixture in each mould filling them in to about 5-8 cm high. Place in the oven in the bottom rack.
- Allow to bake for 45 min to an hour. Pierce with a knife till it comes out clean.
- Take out of the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. Now flip over to extract loaf. Leave to cool for 15 to 30 minutes before slicing. If you try when it is still hot, the loaf will crumble and break.
- It can be kept in the fridge in a tupperware for 2-3 days.
- The first couple of times I made this recipe I did not use any rising agent powders and the loaf turned out just fine. However, I recently found a gluten-free rising agent at my local organic grocery store which can be added and baked immediately and it did give a slightly better result (more hight). I would be too fussed about it, if you don't have any at home just go without it and it'll be just as good.
- Make a sweet nut and seed loaf by omitting the olives, salt, dried herbs and nutritional yeast. Add raisins or similar instead of olives and perhaps try adding a few tablespoons of coconut sugar or similar. I don't know if maple syrup would work as it would add more moisture to the loaf, but feel free to try it out!
- Use walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, or other nuts instead of almonds if you prefer.
- Also feel free to substitute with other seeds that you like! Just make sure to keep the quantities the same.