So I have been baking bread for a few years now. I rarely make the same loaf of bread twice because I am constantly on a mission to perfect it and make it even healthier. I know baking bread is a challenging and long process, but this recipe is quite the opposite. Every time I bake bread it turns into a messy, day long event with lots of anxiety about "will the bread rise?" On bread baking days, my kitchen is filled with bowls, measuring cups, spoons, etc. and there is always flour everywhere. However, this recipe is so simple and you mix everything in the same dish it bakes in!!! AH! The clean up, which I usually hate, is so easy!
Let me tell you ahead of time that it is not going to be your soft, light and fluffy french baguette. But that doesn't mean it is not incredibly delicious and enjoyable. This is a very dense and chewy bread, but please trust me on how delicious it is. Actually, you don't have to trust me. It is so easy to make that you should give it a try even if you do not trust me.
Oh, and I forgot to mention, every ingredient in this bread is amazingly healthy. You'll see when you read the ingredients. Almost everything can be substituted for people with certain allergies. The only thing that probably cannot be substituted would be the psyllium seed husks. A psyllium seed husk is a partially fermented dietary fiber from Plantago ovata. To keep it short, psyllium seed husks help lower blood sugar and bad cholesterol levels and are prebiotics, meaning they are food for the healthy bacteria in our gut. They are a natural laxative, but don't worry, this bread won't make you rush to the bathroom, but it will help keep you regular. The psyllium seed husks are the magic ingredient that hold this bread together.
Another great thing about this bread is the soaking process, which increases the nutritional value of the bread even more. To learn about the health benefits of soaking go here: Soaking to increase digestion and mineral absorption
1 cup pumpkin or sunflower seeds
1/4 cup chia seeds
½ cup almonds (or nut of your choice; I also added a few chopped apricot seed kernels and walnuts)
1 ½ cups rolled oats
2 Tbsp. ground flax seeds
4 Tbsp. psyllium seed husks (3 Tbsp. psyllium husk powder)
1 tsp. fine grain sea salt
1 Tbsp. maple syrup, honey, or agave (for a sugar-free version, use a pinch of stevia)
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
1 ½ cups warm water
3 Tablespoon kefir, apple cider vinegar, lemon, kombucha, or yogurt
I made a second loaf and added 1 Tablespoon cinnamon, 1/2 cup dried cranberries, and 1/2 cup chopped apple and it was amazing.
1. In a loaf pan combine all dry ingredients and stir well. Stir sweetener, coconut oil, kefir (or ACV, yogurt, lemon...), and warm water together in a measuring cup. Add this to the dry ingredients and mix very well until everything is completely soaked and dough becomes very thick (if the dough is too thick to stir, add one or two teaspoons of water until the dough is manageable). Smooth out the top with the back of a spoon. Let it sit out on the counter for at least 2 hours, overnight would be better. I let mine sit for 24 hours and it expanded a lot (because of the kefir acted as a leavening agent and the psyllium husks soaking up the water)!
2. After it has soaked, preheat your oven to 350°F / 175°C.
3. Place loaf pan in the oven on the middle rack, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove bread from loaf pan, place it upside down directly on the rack and bake for another 30-40 minutes. Bread is done when it sounds hollow when tapped. Let it cool completely before slicing. This is always the hardest part for me because the smell is intoxicating and I can't wait to see how it turned out. I know the anticipation will kill you, but seriously, wait. It will slice easily and won't break apart.
4. Store the bread in a tightly sealed container for up to five days. It also freezes really well! Slice it before freezing and it makes a quick and easy toast!
This is great for breakfast because one or two slices will fill you up for quite a while.