I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Bread is a beautiful thing.
Just because I’m on this diet, doesn’t mean I’ve stopped loving bread. I can turn down a tiramisu; I can pass on a panna cotta; but any time I catch a whiff of that fresh-baked smell, or a waiter places a basket-full and some butter on the table, my heart breaks just a little.
So arose my greatest challenge yet. Now that I knew there was a world of alternative baking materials out there, could I find something that was familiar enough to satisfy my cravings for the soft, salty, sweet wonder of bread, without destroying my diet? Could I live the dream and make toast into a Candida Can-do?
The answer was yes.
I mentioned in my review of The Joy of Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Baking that I would be posting my adaptation of one of their recipes. That time has come, and the moment is now.
This recipe for “Toasting Bread” comes from page thirty-four of the aforementioned book of eye-opening recipes, developed by Peter Reinhart and Denene Wallace.
If you are at all a fan of whole grain breads, this one will not disappoint (though let’s be honest, after a week on this diet I would have buttered a shoebox if someone had told me it tasted like baguette).
This loaf is richly nutty and extremely satisfying. It has a thick, spongy texture at its center and a perfect toasty crunch at its crust.
The recipe relies heavily on egg whites to keep the nut flours in form, so the bread will stay somewhat wet at its center even after baking is complete. This is by no means a deterrent of good flavor, but I wouldn’t recommend trying to make a sandwich out of it without toasting your slices first. Nut flours have their own moisture content, so your final product will be a denser, wetter entity than traditional wheat bread – but trust me, it is tasty!
Getting up close and personal with an untoasted slice
As the name suggests, this bread really shines when toasted. The nutty flavors warm up particularly well, and pair nicely with the slightly burnt flavor of toasting. Plus, this eggy bread makes a nice crisp bite when given the chance to dry out a little in the over or toaster.
Since the primary ingredient is nut flour, this bread can practically be a meal in itself. It has protein from both the eggs and the nuts. The flaxseeds, in addition to adding texture to the otherwise soft bread, deliver a dose of Omega 3 Fatty Acids and are a great source of dietary fiber.
My version of the recipe taken from The Joy of Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Baking is as follows (I have made adjustments to make it more Candida Diet friendly, which are explained below):
2 cups flaxseed meal (brown or golden)
1 cup almond flour
1 cup hazelnut flour
¼ cup whole flax seeds
4 tsp baking powder
¼ cup sesame seeds
½ tsp salt
½ cups unsweetened plain almond milk
8 egg whites (approx. 10 oz or 1 ¼ cups)
¼ tsp liquid stevia (optional)
A few notes on the recipe before we begin:
- The original recipe calls for two cups of pecan flour. I have not been able to find pecan flour available for purchase, so I’ve always substituted with equal parts almond and hazelnut flours, and have been pleased with the outcome.
- Candida Alert: it’s a very minor thing, but most commercial baking powders contain cornstarch. The amount in this recipe is very small, but if you prefer, you can substitute the baking powder for baking soda (use 1/3 of the total amount of baking powder called for if you are using baking soda instead).
- Where the recipe calls for sesame seeds, I substituted chopped sunflower seeds to give the bread more substance. The sunflower seeds will turn green in the baking process as a natural reaction to the pH of the batter. This is not a problem, but if you don’t like the aesthetics, you don’t have to add them.
- The original recipe calls for “unsweetened soy milk”, but since the Candida Diet prohibits soy products, I’ve substituted with plain, unsweetened almond milk, which works very well.
- The original recipe also calls for 1tsp Xanthan gum, which I have never added because thickening agents are not permitted on most strict Candida Diets. I have never had a problem with omitting this ingredient.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Line your loaf pan with a strip of parchment paper, and grease the two sides that remain exposed.
In a large bowl, mix your flours, flaxseed meal, seeds, baking powder (or soda) and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together egg whites and almond milk (and liquid stevia if you choose to use it). Add your wet to your dry, and stir your mixture. It should be a thick, sticky batter with no lumps.
Pour your bread batter into your greased and lined loaf pan.
Bake for forty-five minutes, then rotate and bake for another 35-45 minutes. The baked bread should be golden and crisp on the top, but springy when pressed.
Make sure to let the bread cool for at least five minutes before you remove it from the pan, and then at least another fifteen minutes before you slice it.
The classic cozy breakfast: toast and a fried egg
It is wonderful to have bread around the house again.
You can toast this up and make a sandwich, or just spread a little butter on it and have it with a cup of afternoon tea. As you can probably infer from my photos, I am a big time butter fan.
To freeze, place each slice in a resealable sandwich bag, and then place all of your individually wrapped slices into a plastic freezer bag. This way you can defrost them as needed, without having to worry about eating up a whole loaf.