Nut & Grain ‘Life Changing’ Bread

The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.— Joseph Campbell

nut grain bread close up

It’s all part of the journey. That’s what I remind myself- the good, the bad, the frustrating, the happy moments- it is all part of the journey. Life has an odd way of taking you out of the every day autopilot trance and pushing you into those – oh too real moments. Moments when you notice every vein on your hand, feel the sun’s shadow cross your face and hear a whisper of the wind as it catches your eyelashes. You know, you really just know, that you are alive.

This week, I am alive. Every vein, every breeze, every scent that crosses my path goes noticed. My eyes close and I am deep within my thoughts.

This state of being fit perfectly with the movie premier I went to see of ‘Finding Joe’. A movie about the American author, teacher, and philosopher Joe Campbell, known chiefly for his immense contributions to comparative mythology.

He delineated the different elements of the hero’s journey as presented in the myths of peoples from around the world. Campbell was convinced that great breakthroughs could take place at the point of breakdown. We have to endure the dark night of the soul and not run from it. We have to embrace our fear and not let it take over our lives. We have to face our dragons. We certainly all experience these nadirs and I would be a fraud if I pretended that mine did not exist.

One of the lessons that came out of this soul searching motivational evening was that it is through community that we find our humanity and we grow; we discover those life changing moments. I want to grow. That said, I can’t imagine considering my blog part of my ‘hero’s journey, but it is definitely a part of my journey that has given me a sense of community. There really are so many fascinating moments when we look at our lives as if they were chapters in a book. So far my ‘book’ has been a good read. And finding my passion for cooking and baking was definitely a turning point.

I consume cookbooks like I am drinking a tall glass of water with an unquenchable thirst. It’s my passion. And since my theme this week is life-changing moments, I wanted to share this recipe I came across for Life Changing Bread. I know it sounds hokey but it is right in alignment with how I try to eat. When I began eating healthier, bread was definitely on my hit list. Not because bread is inherently “bad” (I am just not that black and white), but I knew that when I was basing my daily meals around a loaf of crusty bread that something had to give.

If you’ve been following my recipes, over the past 18 months you’ve probably noticed that I often work with psyllium husk in my fruit bowl recipes. But what does this have to do with bread? And >here’s the big reveal< it just happens to be the secret binding ingredient in this flour free bread.

The brutal truth…Psyllium seed husks are one of nature’s most absorbent fibers, able to suck up over ten times their weight in water. For this reason, you’ll often find psyllium in over-the-counter laxatives, stool-bulking agents and colon cleansing kits. This amazing little supplement also helps to reduce cholesterol levels, aids digestion and weight loss, and alleviates diarrhea and constipation.

Psyllium is available at health food stores and most pharmacies. It comes in two forms, the raw husks themselves, and powdered, which are just the husks that have been pulverized. It is easier to take the powdered form as it dissolves easier in water, but that is not important in the case of this bread – either type work just fine.

Back to why it is so life changing- no kneeding, no rising, no mess, no gluten, high in fiber, high in protein and vegan!

Other than the husks, which you can use in powder or intact form but are otherwise non-negotiable, this bread is adaptable to your mood and your pantry. Swap nuts for nuts, grains for grains… If you’ve ever been to Denmark you’ll see the similarity to this bread- oh wait, that’s a story I haven’t yet told you. I’ll save that chapter for another day.

Nut & Grain ‘Life Changing’ Bread

Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients

1 cup sunflower seed kernels (not in the shell)

1/2 cup flax seeds

1/2 cup hazelnuts or almonds

1 1/2 cups rolled oats (if making gluten-free, make sure to get certified gluten-free oats)

2 TBS chia seeds

4 TBS psyllium seed husks (3 TBS if using psyllium husk powder)

1 tsp fine grain sea salt (add 1/2 teaspoon if using coarse salt)

1 TBS maple syrup (for sugar-free diets, use a dash of stevia)

3 TBS melted coconut oil or ghee

1 1/2 cups water

Directions

In a bowl 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. Set aside.

In a flexible, silicon loaf pan or a standard loaf pan lined with parchment, combine all dry ingredients, stirring well. Smooth out the top with the back of a spoon. Allow to rest and set up on the counter for at least 2 hours, or all day or overnight. To test for readiness, the dough should retain its shape even when you pull the sides of the loaf pan away from it or lift the parchment.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place loaf pan in the oven on the middle rack, and bake for 20 minutes. Place a baking sheet underneath the baking rack so that as the oils drip out of the bread it doesn’t make a mess of the oven. Remove bread from loaf pan, place it upside down directly on the rack and bake for another 30 to 40 minutes. Bread is baked when it sounds hollow when tapped. Allow to cool completely before slicing.

Store bread in a tightly sealed container for up to five days. The bread freezes well too – slice before freezing for quick and easy toast.

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