Sometimes it feels as if I am the last gluten-eater standing in a gluten-sensitive world. Among my circle of friends and family; one is coeliac, another allergic to wheat, there’s a handful of gluten intolerance and dairy too. I definitely consider myself lucky that my only mild allergy is to kiwi fruit as it makes my lips tingle (no need for your concern, I am handling this quite well).
For a coeliac or someone with gluten intolerance I am beginning to understand how hard and frustrating it can be for them to just pop out for a meal or go to a friend for dinner. There is the obvious gluten containing foods to avoid as well as being aware of cross contamination and also unsuspecting products that contain gluten, like soy sauce.
Aside from the people who have a legitimate intolerance it is definitely a bit trendy to be gluten free. It’s a big money market for food manufacturers and somehow we all accept and expect to pay a premium for “healthy” food. The other day my mum said she found a delicious gluten-free hummus. The thing is; hummus DOES NOT contain gluten. They must have needed a buzz word to put on the packaging.
What I am learning is that it may be better to eat naturally gluten-free wholefoods instead of manufactured gluten-free products which could contain additives, higher sugar and fat content as well as being highly processed.
The big question for someone with gluten intolerance is; do you feel better eating gluten-free products? If the answer is yes, then problem solved. If it’s no, then maybe you need to look in to cutting out processed gluten-free foods altogether and try a pure, whole food diet. I have always believed it’s better to have the real thing rather than a substitute. That means a teaspoon of raw sugar in my tea instead of an artificial sweetener. But that’s just me.
There is a recipe I wanted to share from a beautiful blog I follow called My New Roots. A no-knead, dairy-free, wheat-free, yeast-free recipe titled “The Life-changing Loaf of Bread”, how could I not give a go? Like I said before, I have no intolerance to wheat or gluten. I am however always looking for ways to get more whole foods into my diet that are high in fibre and packed with other goodies.
Makes 1 loaf
1 cup / 135g sunflower seeds
½ cup / 90g flax seeds (whole)
½ cup / 65g hazelnuts or almonds (or any other nut)
1 ½ cups / 145g rolled oats (be sure to get gluten-free 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. I used honey)
3 Tbsp. melted coconut oil or ghee
1 ½ cups / 350ml water
1. In a flexible, silicon loaf pan combine all dry ingredients, stirring well. 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.
2. Preheat 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 cool completely before slicing (difficult, but important).
4. Store bread in a tightly sealed container for up to five days. Freezes well too – slice before freezing for quick and easy toast!
I left the mix on the counter for 8 hours and found it sufficient. I found mine took about 55 minutes to cook and probably could have gone a bit longer. I sliced it up and its sitting in my freezer waiting to be eaten.
This loaf smelt unbelievable in the oven. My roommate emailed me the morning after I baked it to ask what I had made as the smell was wafting into her dreams. It is definitely best toasted and I find it delicious with both sweet and savory food.
Note: I excitedly took a piece to work for my friend who is coeliac and she proclaimed she doesn’t like seeds and it reminded her of a bird bar. Needless to say, she will no longer be receiving treats!