Super Grains Power Bread

“Behind a great loaf of bread is a deft orchestration, not only of time and temperature, but also of a great many diverse species and interests, our own - for something nourishing and delicious to eat - included.”

                                                                    - Michael Pollan, Cooked

I remember the first time I made bread. I was living in Rome, in love with a city I would forever miss, having the best time of my life. It had been a mission of mine to craft a beautiful, golden crusted, airy loaf of bread to enjoy alongside a big bowl of arugula dressed in lemon and olive oil. So delicious, it would be, so Italian, so perfect. Not to undersell this first attempt, but in two words: it sucked!  I blamed it on the circumstance (small, ancient apartment with a crappy oven and not the right humidity) rather than my novice status as a bread maker.

Several years later, as a senior in college, I took an Intro to Culinary Arts class in which we were assigned to make a French loaf of bread in under 4 hours. This time, I had all the necessary tools: a proofer with the right humidity and temperature to encourage the yeast to flourish, giving air to the gluten I had kneaded into perfection. This time, I was ready for it to come out right, and it was ready for me. This time, the loaf was good, though not as good, of course, as one made by a baker that dedicates his or her life to perfecting bread. I didn’t give up on my goal of crafting bread, but little did I know it would look so different from what I had originally set out to conquer.

I don’t want to discourage anyone from venturing into bread making, but I will personally think it should be left to the professionals. They know what they are doing, more so than I will ever learn . They have mastered the art of creating the most suitable environment for bacteria to grow and air to give rise to fluffy dough. I’ll let them make the perfect Loaf, the perfect Miche, the perfect Sourdough. I’ll keep making this knead-free, hassle free, Super Grain Power Bread at home, while they make theirs in a professional kitchen.

Sarah B. thought us all how to make Life Changing Loaf of Bread over a year ago. While her recipe is both delicious and brilliant, I wanted to make an adaptation that fit to my needs. I wanted to make a version that contained a hearty dose of good for you grains and filling protein, without having to rely on nuts. After a million (maybe somewhere between 20-30 loaves over the course of a year) attempts, trials, and errors, I arrived at a recipe that I believe is equal parts healthy as it is delicious.

Unlike traditional bread, this recipe relies of the gel-like qualities of chia seeds, flax seeds, psyllium husks to hold everything together. Similar to traditional bread making techniques, this bread requires a process of hydration in which all the ingredients are left to rest, soaking over a period of at least and hour but up to 8. The longer the ingredients soak, the easier it will be on your belly, trust me! Nonetheless having tried both shorter and longer periods of soaking, I can attest that the results are not significant in term of taste or texture.

What’s in it:

Oats: Manganese rich, full of fiber

Teff: Ancient grain used across North Africa, rich in iron

Quinoa: A complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids

Psyllium: Very filling, rich in soluble fiber

Sunflower seeds: Hefty dose of Vitamin E

Chia seeds: Omega-3’s, phosphorous, manganese, and protein

Flax seeds: Number one source of Omega-3’s

The combination of oats, quinoa, teff, and sunflower seeds gives each bite a chewy, satisfying texture that when toasted and topped with either sweet (honey, jam, fruit) or savory (olive oil, hummus, avocado, tomatoes, you name it!) it becomes the perfect vehicle. Not too salty, not too sweet, the perfect balance keeps this bread versatile and unique, without being too pretentious.  Sure, the ingredient list might sound intimidating, but once you get to the back from the supermarket all you have left to do is mix, soak, and bake, without having to proof, punch, or knead. I dare you to become a bread baker. It won’t be as hard as you think.

Super Grains Power Bread

 Inactive time: 1-8 hours

Active time: 60 minutes

  • 2 cups old fashioned oats (use gluten-free oats if necessary)
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats (use gluten-free oats if necessary)
  • 1/3 cup quinoa flour
  • 1/3 cup teff
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • ½ cup flax seeds
  • 2 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 4 tbsp. psyllium husks
  • 1 ½ tsp. kosher or sea salt
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 4 tbsp. coconut oil, melted, plus more for greasing
  • 2 cups warm water

Using coconut oil, grease a 9X5 loaf pan. Cut piece of parchment paper to fit the pan with several extra inches of overhang. Place parchment inside the pan and set aside.

Place all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix until evenly distributed. Whisk coconut oil maple syrup and 2 cups of warm water in a separate bowl. Pour liquid ingredient into dry and mix well, until everything is completely moistened, making sure there aren’t any dry spots (these won’t stick together and/or bake). Dough will become sticky quickly, so move diligently. If dough is too thick to manage, add a couple tablespoons of water at a time until easier to handle. Transfer batter into loaf pan and smooth the top using the back of a spoon. Cover with a kitchen towel and leave to rest for at least an hour, but up to eight hours.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place loaf pan in oven for 20 minutes. Remove bread from pan. Those overhanding edges will help you here! And flip onto a baking sheet. Bake for another 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely.

To store either refrigerate loaf up to five days, or freeze pre-sliced in a bag.