Sometimes Facebook makes me angry. Not so much from the dumb stuff that people post, the incredibly bad spelling and grammar, or the endless photos of people’s food and felines. I can’t complain about any of that, because I am a huge contributor to all three of those things. No, what makes me angry is when I see a post that sends me down a link, I read something interesting, I research it some more, and then I have to change my way of life because I’ve been torn from my ignorance on a subject. Usually when that happens I let out an “Awwww, but I loved the food at Jimmy’s Cruel Slaughterhouse and Child Labour Emporium… I can’t believe he eats kittens”.
Recently I came to the realisation that a certain breakfast cereal, that I eat on a regular basis, is destroying humanity by using GMO crops, planted in environmentally unsound oil sands that have displaced the entire population of the ocean, and now I feel very guilty about having ever purchased Jimmy’s DNA Spliced Bran Globs with extra caesium.
Usually when I find out about the evil in one of my food stuffs, I just try and avoid it whenever possible and find an alternative. But this cereal had been a part of my daily routine for a long time because of the huge amount of fibre in a very small serving (apparently genetically modified to be that way).
I had no idea how hard it was going to be to find a replacement that fit my needs.
As a middle aged man, fibre intake is pretty high up on the “Do this to stay healthy” list as it helps reduce weight, lowers cholesterol, keeps one regular, and reduces the risk of certain types of cancer. So losing my greatest intake of fibre was noticed right away by some weight gain and a new ability to read War and Peace in one “sitting”.
I was eager to find a replacement.
I went to various health food stores and organic markets and found some other cereals and most were very very high in soluble and insoluble fibres. They were advertised as “Natural tasting while staying crunchy in milk”. Unfortunately most of the cereals were made from pinecones, wood chips, very small rocks, and tasted like licking a campground.
Although these breakfast options put me back on a regular schedule, every time I used the facilities later, the undigestible nature nuggets turned my backside into an AK-47.
I guess Facebook felt bad about changing my eating habits and empowering me with information from a status, of a page, of a link, of a site, quoting a newspaper, quoting a medical journal (which you could like on Facebook), and offered me an interesting alternative.
Somewhere on my newsfeed, between the cat pictures, the e-card quips, and the cyber outrage over all the bad bad things people do, I saw a link about “The Life Changing Loaf of Bread” and a status along the lines of “Fibre load! Hooray!” so I clicked on the link and was taken to a site/blog called “My New Roots“.
For anyone who is looking for healthy recipes and health related articles, check out this site. It’s written by a woman named Sarah Britton in Denmark, and it looks like she has a fair amount of celebrity although this is the first I’ve heard of her. I read her article about this loaf and how to make it, and I have to admit that I was pretty suspicious about her claims.
The post talks about using psyllium husks as a binding agent and using no flour, but from the ingredients list I didn’t believe that the thing would hold together at all.
The whole thing sounded like taking a bread pan full of trail mix, mashing it together with some water and ghee and baking it for an hour.
Hmmm…. I like trail mix…
So I decided to throw caution to the wind and try this “bread” out. After all, if it didn’t work, I would always have a big pan of bird seed that I could put out side the window in the backyard and entertain the cats.
A lot of the ingredients were not going to be available at my normal grocery store, so I would have to go to a health food store for a lot of the grains. Fortunately Winnipeg has an excellent chain of organic health food stores called Vita-Health. I skipped through the aisles merrily depositing small bags of psyllium husks, chia seeds, flax seeds, almonds, organic rolled oats, and locally grown organic sunflower seeds…
Seventy dollars later, I had everything I needed… this had better be one hell of a good loaf of bread, or the chickadees in the backyard are going to have the most expensive meal of their lives!
The Life-Changing Loaf of Bread
From My New Roots
Makes 1 loaf (about 12 slices)
1 cup / 135g sunflower seeds.
½ cup / 90g flax seeds
½ cup / 65g hazelnuts or almonds (I used almond slivers)
1 ½ cups / 145g rolled oats
2 Tbsp. chia seeds
4 Tbsp. psyllium seed husks (3 Tbsp. if using psyllium husk powder)
1 tsp. fine grain sea salt (add ½ tsp. if using coarse salt)
1 Tbsp. maple syrup (for sugar-free diets, use a pinch of stevia)
3 Tbsp. melted coconut oil or ghee (I used ghee)
1 ½ cups / 350ml water
“In a flexible, silicon loaf pan combine all dry ingredients, stirring well.”
Ok, I don’t have a silicon loaf pan, and I’m hesitant to buy one because I think that it’s only a matter of time until Facebook tells me that silicon bakeware is evil and causes all sorts of terminal maladies and comes from genetically modified silicones. Plus I just shelled out for a mortgage payments worth of birdseed and didn’t feel like buying a rubber bread pan. So I used a pyrex bread pan and lined it with parchment paper… which I think takes some sort of origami skill that I have yet to master.
Since my paper-crafts bread pan was tenuous, I decided to mix my ingredients in a bowl and pour it into the lined pan.
“Whisk maple syrup, oil and 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 sit out on the counter for at least 2 hours, or all day or overnight.”
“To ensure the dough is ready, it should retain its shape even when you pull the sides of the loaf pan away from it it.”
I was able to do this by pulling the parchment paper away… and what do ya know… it held it’s shape!
“Preheat oven to 350°F / 175°C.”
“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.”
Again, at this point I didn’t trust this brick to hold it’s shape and I didn’t feel like opening the oven 40 minutes later to an oven bottom full of flaming trail mix. So I flipped it onto a piece of the parchment paper and left it on a baking pan. I added ten minutes to make up for the pan
“Bread is done when it sounds hollow when tapped. Let cool completely before slicing (difficult, but important).”
“Store bread in a tightly sealed container for up to five days. Freezes well too – slice before freezing for quick and easy toast!”
I gotta say, I was impressed with the outcome. The loaf has a fair amount of cohesion and slices quite nicely, but Sarah Britton is right. It tastes best toasted with a little butter or jam. Be careful if you’re using a regular toaster, the slices are short and can be difficult to retrieve. If you have a toaster oven, use that instead.
The bread does everything that it promises, tastes good, makes you feel good, and is healthy… but I don’t think it’s changed my life any… although I’m happier for spending less time in the bathroom, because I’ve finished War and Peace and all that’s left is the new Dan Brown novel… :shudder: