A special Guest Post for all the readers of Ovenderful Healthy Baking by Joe Hughes of Village Bakery – Thank you Joe for this excellent and insightful piece !
Gluten-free bread can be tricky to master, but once you’ve found the right recipe, you’ll never want to go back to conventional bread.
Just like with traditional flour bread, there are so many ways to adapt gluten-free recipes to incorporate new, interesting and healthy ingredients.
Experimenting with different flours is an obvious way to put a fresh spin on your go-to gluten-free bread recipe. Here are five other healthy ingredients to add to your homemade bread:
Aquafaba is the latest craze in the vegan food world, and it’s easy to see why: it’s an excellent egg substitute and doesn’t cost you a dime. For those who are unfamiliar, aquafaba is the cooking liquid of beans and legumes, like chickpeas.
The cooking liquid contains a mix of protein, starch and other plant solids. This mixture gives the liquid binding, emulsifying, gelatinizing, foaming and thickening properties.
Aquafaba is a great egg replacement that you can use in your breads. Two tablespoons of this liquid is equivalent to about one egg white. If you cook your own beans, you can use the liquid leftover in the pot. If you’re using canned beans, you can use the liquid in the can.
The great thing about aquafaba is that it’s free. If you buy or cook beans, you would just be throwing out this liquid otherwise. Try adding it to your bread recipe as an egg replacement, or even as an egg wash to give your bread a shiny, crunchy crust.
2. Coconut Palm Sugar
For sweeter breads, coconut palm sugar is a great replacement for conventional white sugar. Coconut sugar is low on the glycemic index and fructose ranks low on it.
What you may not know is that coconut sugar also retains some of the nutrients found in the coconut palm, including zinc, calcium, potassium and some short chain fatty acids. It also retains some of the antioxidants and polyphenols, which may offer some health benefits.
While coconut palm sugar does have its benefits, it’s important to remember that it’s still a sweetener and will still be converted to glucose. But it’s a great natural alternative to the refined sugar found in most bread recipes.
Plus, coconut sugar can be used in just about every other recipe that calls for regular sugar (have you tried Ovenderful’s Caramel Cake yet?).
3. Juice Pulp
Juicing vegetables and fruits is a great way to boost your health, but it can feel wasteful to throw out all of that leftover pulp.
One great way to make use of that nutrient-rich pulp is to add it to your homemade bread machine recipe.
The pulp will add flavor, moisture and nutrients to give you a moist, nutritious bread. Keep in mind that unless your pulp is very dry, you’ll need to adjust the amount of flour in your recipe to account for the extra moisture.
4. Milled Flax
Flax is a common ingredient in multi-grain, grain-free and gluten-free breads. But in most cases, you’ll find the seed in whole form either in the crust or in the bread dough.
The key to unlocking flax’s nutrients is to grind them. If the seeds are not ground, the body cannot absorb their vital nutrients, which includes omega-3 fatty acids.
If you’re going to add flax to your gluten-free bread, make sure it’s milled (or grind it up yourself).
Flax can be used as an egg substitute, or you can incorporate it into your gluten-free flour mix to add an extra kick of nutrients and moisture. Flax and a gluten-free flour mix may work great in the Whole Wheat-Oats Buttermilk Bread recipe.
Seeds, especially sprouted seeds, can add so much flavor and extra nutrients to your breads. Quinoa, sunflower and hemp pack the biggest nutritional punch, but you can add just about any seed you please to your bread – including chia.
Quinoa is packed with proteins (17 to be exact), magnesium, zinc, fiber, folate, copper and an array of other nutrients. Just one cup provides you with eight grams of quality protein.
Sunflower seeds are a great source of vitamin E, copper and vitamin B1. Hemp is rich in healthy fat, protein, omega-3s and omega-6s.
All of these seeds add vital nutrients to your bread, but I would recommend soaking them before adding them to your recipe. Soaking the seeds will help remove some of the anti-nutrients to make the nutrients more accessible to the body.
What are some of your favorite healthy ingredients for gluten-free bread? Share in the comments below!
About the Author:
Joe Hughes, known by most as the Village Baker, is an expert in homestyle cooking techniques, with a primary interest in baking. He has been baking ever since he was a little boy in his Grandma’s kitchen! He runs the very popular website http://village-bakery.com which provides the latest homestyle cooking news, techniques, tricks, and recipes. He can be reached at Joe@Village-Bakery.com