It is gluten free crazy out there and it’s true that gluten intolerance is a serious health condition so it is wonderful to have so many gluten free products available. I am just so very glad my body tolerates it because I love (I mean LOVE) bread! In my journey of clean eating I have struggled with the love of bread. 20 years ago I would dive into a store bought loaf of french bread with delight! However I was left feeling unsatisfied and hungry in a very short time. Fast forward to now and I am purchasing a variety of organic whole grains in bulk and grinding them fresh to produce wholesome loaves packed with protein, fiber, omega 3 fatty acids and a satisfying nuttiness that provides lasting energy. I have a Nutri Mill grain mill and I love it. There are many models on the market and this one was modestly priced. It doesn’t leak flour dust and allows you to stop grinding with grain still in the machine. In case you look into purchasing one – these are things you should consider. I also wear hearing protection – grinding grain is a loud process.
Gina’s grain mill and organic whole spelt
The benefits of fresh ground flour are better flavor but more importantly higher nutrient value. As flour sits on a shelf the protein content degrades along with some of the micronutrients. Once my flour is ground – whatever I don’t use goes right into the refrigerator or freezer.
This bread recipe evolved over many batches, trials and some errors (I ate the errors too – because as I said – I love bread!) The original recipe was adapted from “Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day”, by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois. This book introduced me to a wonderful way of making bread that involves very little hands-on time – allowing me to make fresh bread often even enough to allow a loaf or two in the freezer at all times. My family members love to get a loaf, it makes a great hostess gift(:
My Go-to Bread Recipe
6 cups of fresh ground organic spelt flour (of course you may not have a grain mill – store bought works just fine too)
1/4 cup vital wheat gluten
1 Tblspn + 1 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 Tblspn yeast (buying yet in bulk packages is way cheaper than in the packets)
2 Tblspn nuetral flavored oil (canola, grapeseed or safflower)
1 1/2 cups Organic grassfed milk (a non dairy milk would probably work fine – but I have never tried it – if you do let me know how it works)
1 1/2 cups water
3/4 cup fresh ground organic golden flax meal (try to buy your flax whole and grind it in a coffee mill or other small grinder then store it in the fridge. The pre-ground is not as nutritious)
1/4 cup raw organic sunflower seeds
1/4 cup raw organic sesame seeds
1/4 cup raw organic pepitas
small amount of organic cornmeal for sliding loaves onto baking stone
Heat milk and water to just warm. In a large bowl add yeast, salt, honey and oil (no need to mix this – remember this is easy!).
Honey, oil, salt and yeast are the first ingredients of the bread
Pour milk and water over the first four ingredients.
Add 1/2 of the spelt flour.
Top the first half of the flour with the vital wheat gluten, flax meal and seeds.
Seeds and flax meal give the bread extra staying power and great nuttiness
Add the rest of the flour. NOW you can stir with a wooden spoon until just combined. The dough will be wet, that is ok.
Cover the bowl with a cutting board or baking sheet – anything that isn’t air tight. Let the whole works sit for 3-5 hours at room temperature. Now go do something else.
Bread dough is ready to shape into loaves after a 3 hour rest
Use a pizza peal or wooden cutting board for the next step. Liberally sprinkle the surface with corn meal. Using a large spoon, scoop out 1/3 of dough and shape into a ball, place it on the corn meal leaving room for two more loaves. Let this rest for 20 minutes while you preheat your oven to 350 and baking stone. Place the stone on the top rack. Place a broiler pan (just the bottom) on the bottom rack. If you do not have a stone you can make this bread in oiled pans (I use coconut oil for this) or on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Loaves shaped and ready to slide onto baking stone
Once your oven, stone and broiler pan have preheated slide your loaves onto the stone. Immediately pour 1 cup of hot water into the pan. The steam helps to create a nice crust. Allow the loaves to bake for 45 minutes. Check them by tapping – if they sound hollow and the crust has browned nicely they are ready to be pulled out. Place them on a cooling rack until COMPLETELY cool before wrapping and freezing.
Loaf of bread fresh from the oven
These loaves keep in the freezer for 1 month (probably longer – but mine never last longer). I wrap them in plastic wrap and then slip them into a Ziploc bag. It won’t keep more than a couple of day sat room temperature. It’s real food so mold will readily colonize(: I toast mine before eating it so I store it in the fridge. If you don’t like your bread toasted – don’t store it in the fridge. Slice it before freezing and just take out the slices you need as you need them.
This bread is great toasted for breakfast with nut butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon or along side soup or salad, dipped in good quality extra virgin olive oil. My favorite topping? Avocado slices with coarse sea salt and fresh cracked pepper!