Posts Tagged ‘bread’

In defence of Bread

I had to Google “defence or defense”. Defense is American English, so now I know.

By way of introduction,firstly, I  quote a friend: “It is amazing how mentally, you feel so much better when you eat well!!”  (Amen to that)

Secondly, I read a great article on the inherent problems of comfort eating (ie- we eat foods that taste good for a minute but actually make us feel more uncomfortable over time- follow this link to read article) In the article, she lists a few common comfort foods- “coffee/bread/potatoes/cheese/chocolate”. Let’s assume by potatoes she means the fried varieties (I don’t know many people who comfort eat on jacket spuds or boiled potatoes) and recognise that this list is by no means complete.  When I read it, I thought “Why does bread get such a raw deal in some corners of the world of nutrition?”

On reflection it is probably because “bread” as a comfort food is synonymous with “bread products”- generally white, and often sugary: Garlic bread, pizzas, bagels, croissants (coffee anyone?), cinnamon rolls, Naan breads (with creamy curries) buttery brioche rolls with hot chocolate, and a long etcetera. As “comforting” on our palates and mood as these bread products are in the short term – they can easily become the mainstay of our snack/”comfort” repertoire, and the reality is, they clog up your intestine with gluten (glue-ten), pile on excess pounds, contribute to unstable blood sugar levels (which also inhibits weight loss), and generally make you feel heavy and tired after eating them. Not so comforting.

There are wholesome breads- 100% wholegrain, preferably home-made, or perhaps sourdough or sprouted grain varieties, which have a ton of health benefits, and have a more wholesome , earthy flavour. While it may take you a while to re-train your palate if you never eat these breads, I absolutely believe your palate can learn to appreciate, yea, even love new flavours. It’s a universal law, not found in science books, but nevertheless a law, and I wrote a post on it here.

Here are some pointers for making bread a healthsome part of your diet, offered in my humble opinion (it is my blog, after all!)

  • There is no need to “go gluten free” just for the sake of it. However, plenty of people do find that some inexplicable unpleasant symptoms disappear when they cut wheat out, so it is something you could try if you are at the end of your tether with problems and you wish to try it out.
  • Some people respond adversely to yeast, in which case, you may wish to opt for crackers like Ryvita. I would not wish yeast-free breads on my worst enemy, or indeed soda breads.
  • In short- with reference to the previous two- TUNE INTO YOUR BODY and note how different foods make you feel.
  • Eat your breads WHOLEGRAIN. I cannot stress this enough. If you are trying to eat close to the earth, then use flours that have been made by simply crushing the grain, period. These grains are packed full of fibre, vitamins, minerals, protein, and amazing plant chemicals (phytochemicals) that strengthen your system in dozens of different ways.
  • If you have time to make your own, you give yourself an extra gift, of knowing exactly what goes into your food, and feeling all chirrupy and domesticated to boot.
  • Lastly- for me this is my rule of “balance” that I usually follow- Eat your bread with plenty of raw plants. Suggestion below:

Chop up nigh-on every raw veggie you can lay your hands on: tomatoes, cucumber, celery, red onion, pepper, lettuce, olives, sprouts, grated carrot, chopped sugarsnaps- you get the idea. Aim for a minimum of  5-6 colours.

Mash a medium sized ripe avocado, with some salt, and mix through your salad until all the veggies are covered.

Stuff into a wholemeal pitta pocket (with hummous if you want some extra plant-protein)

Serve with a freshly squeezed juice, or beautiful water.

Now that is comforting!!

And invigorating, energising, awakening, strengthening, and -God willing-  habit-forming.  🙂

Now go forth and love yourselves!

Sourdough Bread…

I miss bread. I miss it. When is Easter Sunday????? Lovely warm spelt bread with olive oil, or wholegrain toast with saad, or wholewheat pitta with hummous and raw veggies. I love you.

That said, I cannot fail to notice that for the last month I have not been afflicted with any stomach pains that I secretly suspected were triggered by certain foods.

Frankly, this makes me want to weep.

Sesame Ryvita is lovely, know…….

Still, when Lent is over I shall do some experimentation with foods/quantities and so on, and close watching, and fear not- I will not be going into this again– who wants to hear peoples digestive issues???!!!

And as time is short (I need to make sandcastles with my son) I post a couple of links for anyone who is interested in making sourdough bread.

To be honest, just reading the instructions made me want to sit down with a herbal tea and some biscuits (oh- wait- no……)  It’s probably no more “faff” than sprouting- just patience and a couple of daily routines of no more than a few seconds. It’s just that instruction list seems SO long!

But not to put you off! Sourdough bread is supposed to be a great alternative if you struggle digesting regular bread (enough on digestion already!) Does it taste sour, I wonder? I am sure I will try this next month. Meanwhile, here is the link. It’s from Peas and Thank You.

Follow this link for the sourdough starter

Follow this for “The Ultimate Sourdough Bread recipe”


Happy Easter….almost……    😦





Spelt Mini rolls

I wanted to be a wonderwoman type mother, and leave this bread rising overnight, and then do warm rolls for breakfast, but I am not sure if the dough would over-ferment with too long a rise time? Once I left a dough overnight, and the bread tasted like a brewery,so I erred on the side of caution and baked them tonight.


  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 1 tablespoon cane sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon dried yeast
  • 225grams spelt flour (2 1/4 cups)
  1. Gently warm the soy milk, sugar and oil in a pan, so it is nicely warm, but not too hot to touch.
  2. Add the yeast and leave for about 5 minutes to become frothy.
  3. Stir in the flour and salt
  4. Once it has come together as a soft dough, cover with a damp cloth in warm place- 1 hour.
  5. Knead very well, for about 5 minutes (Was I supposed to do that first? I have no idea. I was making this up)
  6. Shape into 8 small rolls. If you have issues like me, you can use some digital scales so they are all the same size.
  7. Place your rolls into the ever-useful silicone muffin trays.
  8. Leave once again in a warm place for about 45 minutes, or until doubled in size. (is this “proving”?)
  9. Cook at 175 C  for about 12-15 minutes or until the rolls sound hollow when tapped.

Verdict: Light and delicious. And most importantly, they didn’t smell of a pub, and every roll weighed 50 grams 😉


Sweet dreams. x

Wholewheat wrap (that doesn’t taste like cardboard)


My wholewheat wrap experiences have not been good. Until today, oh joy! There is no white flour in it, it’s made with wholegrain flours, and it tastes delicious!  I cannot remember where I found this recipe, but I am delighted with it.

Okay, it looks kind of faffy at first, but actually it’s pretty easy. You may need to buy some brown rice flour, or you could just do it with wholewheat flour and oat flour (just grind up some porridge oats) It just has a few stages, but most involve waiting, ’tis all. 🙂 It’s all easy except rolling out the tortillas nice and thin. I wish I had a tortilla press now.My arm muscles feel firmer and everything.

In one bowl: 2 cups wholewheat flour +  1 1/4cups BOILING water. Mix well, and leave to stand for 30 minutes.

In another bowl, mix:

  • 1 additional cup of ww flour or oat flour (I used oat flour)
  • 1/4 cup brown rice flour or potato flour (I used rice flour)
  • 1t sugar
  • 1t dried yeast
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tblspoons oil (extra virgin olive oil, or sunflower, I used sunflower this time)

Once your first bowl has sat 30 minutes, add the contents of bowl two, mix well, and knead for 5 minutes. leave to rise for an hour.

Shape into 8 balls, and leave to rest for 15 minutes. (Why? No idea, something to do with the gluten)

Flatten out with a rolling pin into a circular shape, roll out as thin as possible. Use two pieces of greasproof paper for this stage, roll out your dough between them, it’s much easier.

Dry-fry (on a hot non-stick pan), flipping periodically on a medium heat for about a minute. When you see light brown spots, take it off and cool it on a rack, or use immediately. Do not overcook or it will dry out, and instead of a nice rolled wrap, you will have lots of cruddy broken rectangular shapes when you try and roll your lunch.

If you are using them later, what you can do is,pre-cook them, (being careful not to overcook) and then when you are ready to use, spatter them lightly with cold water and give them another quick hot dry-fry for about 10 seconds, so it is warm, and more flexible.

Freezing: Today I joyfully discovered that you can freeze them raw, already rolled out, and then when you want to eat one, take it out of the freezer and immediately dry-fry it in a non-stick pan, on a medium heat for about 3 minutes.

Spread, Sprinkle, roll! Mine was spread with smoky walnut pate,and sprinkled with red onion, grated carrot, spinach and alfalfa sprouts.It wasn’t the best roll-up job in the world, but it tasted great.

Spread, sprinkle...

...and roll.

  • Tip: If you are transitioning from white wraps,one thing you can do is sieve your 100% wholewheat flour and discard the bran that is left in the sieve. Okay, nobody call the fibre police on me; some bran will still be present, as will the wheatgerm (that has the vitamins and minerals in) It will make the dough a little lighter, and if that helps you, then great. Anyway the idea is that you stuff the finished wrap full of raw veggies,sprouts and bean based dips which have plenty of fibre in anyway.
  • Green tip: Green wraps are so delicious aswell. Especially if you have quite a rich spread, the contrast with crunchy lettuce wraps is surprisingly delicious. I never thought I would enjoy them, but really, you need to try it. Leaves just rock the world. Try to eat (or drink) some every day 🙂

Oh-so-good wholegrain bread or “Star Bread”

 For some reason, “grains” is a bit of a dirty word in some hardcore nutritional schools of thought. Each to their own… but to my mind and belief, WHOLE grains are a very nutritious food. Grains in their unprocessed form are rich in vitamins, minerals, protein (yes, protein),some beneficial fats, and fibre.

Of course, if you sprout them, you also have an explosion of Vitamin C and other happy benefits as it becomes a teeny tiny plant.This is eating grains in their live form, and they are ridiculously nutritious. More about sprouts another day.

But sometimes, you don’t want to eat sprouts. You want to eat bread. I have not yet delved into the world of sourdoughs, or yeast free “soda” breads (breads risen with bicarb. of soda instead of yeast) I bake regular old, yummy yeast bread, but I do only bake with unrefined flours.

To extend shelf life,and make softer bread, or “sweeter” tasting dishes,  grains have been stripped of all their goodness. In the case of wheat, the bran (fibre)- gone.The wheatgerm (protein, vitamins, minerals, essential fats, phytochemicals)- gone. Left is the endosperm, which is quick energy, and nothing else. Effectively, when ground and mixed with water, it’s  glue-ten. (Oh yes, the government requires the food industry to add back 3 synthetically produced versions of the 27 vitamins/minerals originally taken out. They call it- “enriching” it.)

I enjoy home-made bread made with 100% organic wholewheat flour. But my older children just do not dig it. At all. They eat wholemeal shop-bought bread, which is normally mixed with other flours- white flour or soy flour, to make it lighter in texture. But I really wanted to get them onto home-made bread, because that’s just how I roll…I love finding healthier options that they genuinely enjoy.

 I decided to get creative and make up a dunk-worthy bread to enjoy with our soups and stews, that was lighter in texture, and that was not made with any white flour. It worked first time.

They have named it “Star Bread”. Cute. 

(You will need a spice/nut/coffee type grinder*)

  • 150grams organic wholewheat flour  (Grains are very very heavily sprayed, buy organic if you can; because you’re worth it……….)
  • 50grams organic oat flour (*simply grind organic porridge oats)
  • 50grams brown rice flour (available in health food stores and most large supermarkets)
  • 1  and 3/4 teaspoons of dried yeast
  • 2 teaspoons of raw cane sugar, or honey
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground sea salt
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 220 mls of very warm water (1 CUP LESS 1/8CUP)

Sieve your flours for extra lightness of texture; make a well in the centre. Sprinkle the salt around the outside.  Into the “well” put your yeast, sugar, oil, and water. leave for 5-10 minutes until the yeast is nice and “frothy”.

With a butter knife, incorporate the flour into your liquids. It makes a nice soft-but-not-sticky dough with nothing on the side of your bowl.

Give it a knead for about 5 minutes. Cover with a damp cloth and leave in a nice warm place for 60-90 minutes.

When you check on your bread, you will notice it does not rise up as much as 100% glutinous flour breads; don’t worry, when you cook it, it will still be light and delicious. Shape into a round flattish circle (it will almost be in this shape anyway) and place on non-stick parchment paper. For some reason the first time I did this, it still stuck, so I now put a tiny brush of oil over the paper.

 Take some scissors and snip the top of the bread, as if you are dividing it into eighths, without cutting it through. You are only marking it.  

Now leave, again while you pre-heat the oven to 150 degrees C, and once up to temperature, bake for 30 minutes.

Dip into a delicious lentil stew (recipe tomorrow) or with a big green salad, dressed with extra virgin olive oil and apple cider vinegar. Enjoy.

Our new family friend

*I have not doubled this up and tried it in a bread machine, to see if it works for sliceable bread. When I do, if it works, I shall keep my blog informed.

%d bloggers like this: