Thursday, July 1, 2010

No wheat - whole grain bread

I'm discovering a whole new way of approaching food. Rather than thinking of it as just sustenance for my body, I'm looking at food as medicine. In an effort to reduce inflammation, I'm trying the elimination diet which was suggested by my doctor.  This diet is where certain foods aren't eaten for a period of time.  Then the eliminated foods are added back into the diet one at a time. Adding foods back into your diet this way allows you to see specifically which food triggers any allergy symptoms. Then you can better pinpoint the food most likely causing problems.

Experts have found that increasing numbers of people have a sensitivity to the gluten that is found in wheat. Interestingly, this may be ocurring as a result of the farming techniques used to produce wheat in our country. Pesticides, fungicides, and chemical plant growth regulators are being used to grow wheat. Then the wheat is altered further when it is processed into white flour. Many prepackaged foods, and of course, white bread, are all made with this refined, nutrient stripped white flour. The Weston A. Price Foundation has a fascinating article that discusses what happens to wheat from seed to storage here. The article was an eye opener for me.

One of the symptoms of gluten sensitivity is that it causes the immune system to respond with intestinal inflammation. So for now, I'm temporarily eliminating wheat products. It's just that... I really enjoy eating whole wheat bread.  I wondered how I was going to get my bread fix? Well, I found the most amazing honey, whole grain bread recipe in the Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook by Alissa Segersten and Tom Malterre, MS,CN, and it contains no wheat!

Bob's Red Mill Whole Grains
Although the recipe doesn't suggest it, I made a loaf in the bread machine on the whole wheat cycle. After I proofed the yeast mixture, I put it into the bread machine first, then added the dry mixture and let the machine do the work. Even though the bread machine's whole wheat bread cycle goes through several series of rising and punching down, it still came out deliciously. I did take the pan out of the bread machine after about 35-40 minutes.

Don't let the dough put you off. It's not the usual wheat or white bread dough consistency. I found it to be rather slick, shiny and a bit runny by traditional dough standards.  However, it baked up into a wonderfully moist, dense, crusty and very tasty loaf of bread.

 Some, if not all, of the grains required in the recipe you can get from Bob's Red Mill online, or at Whole Foods or Central Market (in the Dallas area).  The recipe suggests for a slightly sweeter tasting bread, you can replace the amaranth and buckwheat flours for equal amounts of sorghum flour if desired. I thought the bread was sweet enough without substituting, but more sweetness might be a nice change for a breakfast bread. If you can't find some of the flours, I used whole grains and ground them into a flour in my Vita-Mix.  I'm sure a food processor would work just as well too. Here's the recipe:

Honey Whole Grain Bread
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (100 to 110 degrees F)
  • 1 tsp whole can sugar
  • 1 package active dry yeast (2 1/2 tsp)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup arrowroot powder
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/2 cup teff flour
  • 1/4 cup buckwheat flour 
  • 1/4 cup amaranth flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees F and oil a 9x5 inch loaf pan.  Place the warm water and tsp of sugar into a small bowl.  Make sure the water is the right temperature.  If the water is too cold the yeast will not become active and if the water is too hot it will kill the yeast.  Add the yeast and stir.  Proof the yeast by allowing it to stand for 5 to 10 minutes. It should become bubbly, if not start over with fresh yeast and water. Then add the honey, oil, and apple cider vinegar. Stir well with a fork or wire whisk. 
  2. In a large bow, add the arrowroot powder, tapioca flour, brown rice flour, sorghum flour, teff flour, buckwheat flour, amaranth flour, xanthan gum, sea salt and baking soda.  Combine the flours with a wire whisk.  Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk them together as you are pouring to avoid lumps.  Continue to whisk for another 30 to 60 seconds or so, or until the batter thickens and becomes smooth.
  3. Transfer batter to the oiled loaf pan and gently spread out with the back of a spoon.  Place pan, uncovered, into the 200 degree oven.  Let rise for 30 to 35 minutes with the oven door cracked open.  After it has risen, close the oven door and turn the oven temperature up to 375 degrees F.  Bake for 30 minutes. Loosen sides with a knife and place onto a wire rack to cool. 

Enjoy with some almond butter. I'd post a photo, but it's already gone! Yum.  Feel free to share any gluten free bread recipes that you've savored.
Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook, 2nd edition, Alissa Segersten, Tom Malterre, MS,CN

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