Yes, you can eat bread and still stay healthy



Not wheat bread of course. In fact not any kind of grain bread, but you can still eat bread. You just have to be smart about it, and prepared to do a little work. (Not a lot. I'm all about easy remember?)

Just about any kind of bread you can bake with wheat flour you can bake with healthy alternative ingredients, and I've got a couple in this post that I think will make you very happy.

One thing I should mention. Most versions of Paleo allow for nuts in moderation. To me that means that I either have nut breads or I have nuts - not both. A steady diet of nutty baked goods with nutty snacks will put on the pounds pretty quickly I would think. It is possible to eat too many nuts ...


Just saying.

Before I give you the actual recipes, let's talk about ingredients. Most of them you can buy in your local health food store or section of your grocery store, but they are not cheap. However, remember you will not be eating anywhere as much bread as you used to. Where people have been known to devour a french baguette in one sitting, with nut breads a couple of pieces will fill you up. Wheat increases your appetite while nuts fill you up with healthy fats. ( Read "Wheatbelly" by Dr. William Davis or check out his blog at www.wheatbellyblog.com )

However, even with saying that, if you are feeding a lot of people you might want to look at some alternatives. Coconut four and almond flour can be bought in bulk online at places like www.nuts.com.

You can also make your own almond flour by buying bulk almonds and processing them at home in your Cuisinart. I find that when you don't bake more than a few loaves a month you really don't save much for your trouble, but you will have to decide for yourself depending upon your own circumstances. In any case, it's a way to save money that many people swear by.

For convenience you can't beat ordering online, and Amazon has a good selection ranging from small bags to a 5 lb bulk bag that is actually pretty reasonably priced.




UPDATE :  If you're worried as to whether Paleo bread is Primal, Mark Sisson says Yes, it is. (read his post here.)


My Basic Paleo Bread Recipe

This is actually not my recipe. It's my very close version of the one from www.elanaspantry.com . As Elana says "This gluten free bread is easy to make, tastes great, and is full of nutrient dense ingredients." (Her website isn't Paleo but she does have a lot of great recipes that could be Paleo so check it out when you get a chance.)

I not only like the taste of this bread but I also feel pretty virtuous eating it since it contains so many ingredients that are good for you. I use this bread for my morning toast and also sometimes for sandwiches. I personally prefer it toasted but that's just my preference. Try making open-faced sandwiches like the Scandanavians. More filling and less bread make the sandwich more Paleo friendly. This was today's lunch.


Ingredients :

- 1 1/2 cups of almond flour
- 2 heaping tablespoons of coconut flour
- 1/4 cup of ground flaxseed
- 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
- 2 teaspoons of baking powder
- 5 large organic eggs
- 1/4 cup of coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon of maple syrup (optional)
- 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (optional)

Update : Since I first posted this recipe I have made this bread without any sweetener and without baking powder and it still turned out very well.  In fact, some of you might even prefer it since it has no sweet taste at all. I think I would always put in baking powder if I had it, only because it does make it rise better, but the no sweetener version is great for savoury sandwiches.


Directions :

- Preheat the oven to 350'F.
- Melt the coconut oil in the microwave, then use some of it to grease a bread loaf pan. (7.5 by 3.5 is recommended but I've used various sizes. The height of the bread will vary and you might need to watch the baking time, but nothing else will really be affected.)

I use my food processor to make this, but when I didn't have one I just mixed everything by hand and that worked fine.  The processor just makes it a lot easier and quicker.

- Place almond four, coconut flour, flaxseed, salt and baking powder into a food processor and pulse the ingredients until combined.
- Add eggs, coconut oil, honey and vinegar and pulse again until combined.
- Scrape batter into the greased pan and bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove from oven and cool completely before slicing, otherwise it will crumble. I find leaving it overnight is the best.

See my post on bread and sandwiches here.


Variation : Rosemary and Olive Bread

If you want a wonderful loaf bread to have with cheese (as opposed to the cracker-like version below) then use the above recipe but leave out the apple cider vinegar and the maple syrup.  Use olive oil instead of coconut oil, add a couple of sprigs of fresh rosemary (leaves only, stems removed) and add about 10 chopped black olives.  If you like chunks of olives in your bread then add it at the end after processing, but I put it all in together and it gives a great olive taste to the bread.

This is my son's favourite bread and I can't keep enough of it in the house.  You could also add some grated cheese to the mixture to make it even more interesting like in the version above from offthespork.com  The only thing to watch here is the cooking time.  I found I have to keep my loaves in for about 45 minutes otherwise they aren't quite cooked enough for my liking.


Variation : Lavender bread

Once sliced, you can store this bread in a ziplock in the fridge or (will freeze). I've had some in the freezer for 6 months and it's fine.

You might also consider investing in a couple of non stick loaf pans and making two at a time.  I do this once a month and I find that works perfectly for me.  If you're baking for more than one you will need to bake more often, but baking two at a time will still save you half the effort.

UPDATE


Lately I've been looking for something sweeter that I can serve to my guests for Sunday brunch, and since this bread is made with almond flour, I thought, why not emphasize the flavour?  This version tastes sweet, but really isn't since it uses even less sweetener than my original version.  If, like many Europeans, you are used to just having a sweet bun and coffee for breakfast, a slice of this bread - with or without butter - would be the perfect substitute.

I make 2 loaves at a time, then slice and freeze when cool.  To use I just thaw it out on the kitchen counter overnight.  I don't find it needs toasting, but if you wish I would suggest a toaster oven rather than a regular toaster because of the nut topping.


Ingredients :

- 3 cups of almond flour (The white kind is best for this, though sometimes I use half and half)
- 1/4 cup of coconut flour
- 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
- 2 tablespoons of baking powder
- 10 large organic eggs
- 1/2 cup almond milk (or coconut milk - the thin kind in cartons)
- 2 teaspoons almond favouring
- 1/2 cup of butter
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds

Directions :

- Preheat the oven to 350'F.
- Melt the butter in the microwave, then use some of it to grease 2 bread loaf pans. (7.5 by 3.5 is recommended but I've used various sizes. The height of the bread will vary and you might need to watch the baking time, but nothing else will really be affected.)
- Place half the sliced almonds into your food processor and pulse until just roughly chopped. Remove and set aside.
- Place almond four, coconut flour, salt and baking powder into a food processor and pulse the ingredients until combined.
- Add eggs, melted butter, almond milk, honey and almond flavouring and pulse again until combined.
- Once the batter is fully mixed, mix in the chopped almonds with your spatula.
- Divide the batter into the 2 greased pans and sprinkle the rest of the sliced almonds over the tops. 
-  Bake for 45 minutes.
- Remove from oven and cool completely before slicing.

ANOTHER UPDATE : I have had many emails asking me how to get a higher loaf.  For that you need to use the recommended 7.5 by 3.5 pan.  Here are a few to consider. (FYI, Elana from elanaspantry.com who created the original version of this recipe recommends the magic line pan.)



See my updated bread recipe and post on sandwiches here.


Rosemary and Olive Flaxseed Flatbread


This is actually not so much a bread as something between a slice of bread and a cracker. But whatever you end up calling it (bracker?!?), it sure is good with a hunk of cheese and a nice glass of wine. ( Yes, I really do drink in moderation. Just 4 to 6 ozs of red wine a night ... but I enjoy every sip!)

In fact, this with a big salad makes a perfect supper to my mind, and many times it's all I feel like having. It also makes terrific sandwiches. One word of warning. If you're not used to eating flaxseed take it easy with this bread. It does get things moving.

Ingredients:

-  2/3 cup ground flaxseed
- 1/3 cup almond flour
- 2 teaspoons of baking powder
- a few grinds of pepper and salt
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup chopped olives (I prefer black)
- 1 tablespoon of fresh rosemary, chopped. You could also use dried if you have to, but fresh has so much more flavour and it doesn't need to go to waste. Store the rest, whole or chopped, in the freezer.

Directions :

- Preheat the oven to 375'F
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and grease well with olive oil.
- Mix all the dry ingredients together well, including the olives and the rosemary. Beat the eggs, add the olive oil, and add to the dry mixture, mixing well.
- Pour the dough onto the cookie sheet and then using a fork, smooth it out into a circle. I like it thin which makes it crispier, but you can also make it thicker.
- Bake for 30 minutes until the top has browned. Cool, then cut into wedges.

This bread (will freeze ) very well.


If you prefer bread that is less reliant on nuts, try my French bread recipe....


....or my Ciabatta buns recipe.  Both of these are remarkably like the real thing and will give you even more menu options.


I used to be a bread fanatic but since eating Paleo my appetite for it is now, thankfully, definitely under control. Nevertheless I enjoy having bread in moderation as part of my diet and I'm glad I don't have to live without it.

And I especially love all the choices it gives me.  After all, once you have bread, then you also have bread crumbs .....


Life isn't about finding yourself.  Life is about creating yourself.”   - George Bernard Shaw


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1 comment:

  1. OMG!!! I made this last night and it turned out PERFECT!! It seriously is soooo good! I only switched the maple syrup out for raw honey. Everything else was exactly as stated in the directions and ingredients. The texture is a bit like cornbread. Great toasted or not. I'm so happy i found this recipe - thank you sooooo much!

    ReplyDelete

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