I have been obsessed lately with recipe development for grain free bread. And I truly meant bread, and not a cake type loaf, with a minimum sweet taste. This bread made from roasted beetroot and eggplant puree, eggs, coconut flour and ground meal from flax seeds, sunflower kernels and chia seeds, tastes like real bread and has typical texture of the rye bread I remember.
When I started this project a month ago, I tried to use carrot and pumpkin purees and played with different ground seeds, coconut flour and almond meal made from whole almonds. I got the bread feel and texture, but the taste had intense vegetable overtones, coconut taste was too prominent, it took me a lot of effort to mask the sweetness of carrots and pumpkin and, finally, it was necessary to dry the bread in low heat oven after slicing to reduce moisture. It was OK to eat, but I was not satisfied. I thought at length of what I want to achieve and came up with 2 different recipes – grain and nut free bread and almond and seed bread (recipe to be published later).
Surprisingly enough this beetroot bread does not have overpowering beetroot taste, and what is even better, coconut taste is completely absent. It tastes like a typical European rye bread, only without being heavy, wet and sometimes on a sour side. In my opinion it is better. I would gladly eat it myself, if it was not baked for a person with very strict limitations for medical reasons.
- 4 medium/small beetroot (I used organic) approximately 600g
- 1 medium eggplant (makes 310g of wet mixed puree)
- 3 large eggs
- 60g organic coconut flour
- 50g sunflower kernels
- 50g flax seeds
- 10g white chia seeds
- 2+ teaspoons my own garlic and chili peppers paste
- 1 tea spoon sea salt
- 1/2 tea spoon baking soda
- 1 tea spoon xanthan gum
- unsalted butter for baking tins
- sesame seeds for sprinkling bread before baking
- roast beetroot and eggplant in fan-forced preheated oven at 180C for an hour or until soft inside and ready, time depends on the size of vegetables
- cool beetroot and eggplant, peel beetroot and scoop eggplant flesh
- puree roasted vegetables with a stick blender or in food processor, use a very deep bowl to make sure beetroot juices do not end up all around your kitchen
- from 4 beetroot and 1 eggplant I had 310 g of wet puree with some liquid in the bowl, I used it all
- grind flax seeds, sunflower kernels and chia seeds together or separately
- sift seed meal in a large bowl, grind the remaining bigger pieces again until all ground seeds come through the sifter
- retain the last remaining 2-3 tea spoons of ground seeds for dusting baking tins
- lightly beat the eggs with a whisk in a large bowl
- add salt and baking soda to sifted seed meal, mix everything together
- butter 2 15cm x 8cm x 5cm mini loaf tins, sprinkle with ground seeds
- add coconut flour to vegetable puree, wait 2-3 min to let the flour absorb the moisture
- add beaten eggs to vegetable and coconut flour mix, let coconut flour absorb moisture again
- add sifted seed mix and thoroughly mix everything together
- add 2 heaped tea spoons of fermented garlic and chili peppers paste (alternatively use some medium heat spice mix)
- add xanthan gum and mix it in, I used my hands at this stage to feel the consistency of the mix, I used 50 g of coconut flour initially and added another 10g to compensate for the runny and wet vegetable puree I had
The consistency of the mix does not influence greatly the taste and even texture of the bread, but makes demands on baking process. For the even thicker mix with more coconut flour, compared to the one I made, 60 min of baking would be sufficient, but the bread would be more dense. Medium consistency I ended up with, gives the best bread, which demands 1 hour baking in a tin and 1 hour baking/drying on very low heat on a wire rack.
- fill 2/3 of the baking tins with bread mixture, make the surface flat with spatula
- sprinkle with sesame seeds
- I start baking in the cold fan forced oven set at 160C and bake for 60 min
- take mini loaves out of baking tins, place them on wire rack
- reduce temperature to 150C
- return bread on wire rack back to the oven for another hour
- let the bread rest and cool down
- bread can be sliced with serrated knife when still warm, it will not crumble
- slice bread in 1-2 cm thick slices (I prefer thicker slices, 8 full slices, excluding crust slices)
- while one mini loaf was completely and fully baked, the second one had still some extra moisture to my liking
in those cases I place already sliced bread on a wire rack and leave it in the warm oven switched off to take away this moisture and to make bread even better
- after cooling down bread is ready to be frozen
- depending on the size, bread slices can be defrosted by toasting, or dry frying on a low heat in a non stick pan
- with thicker bread slices, I recommend to get bread from the freezer and let it rest for 20-30min before frying or toasting
I am satisfied and happy enough with this bread to publish this recipe. The process is very easy and straight forward. You need only stick blender or food processor to make vegetable puree and a hand whisk for the eggs. Coconut flour in this recipe allows to use very wet and runny vegetable puree as is, without it being dehydrated. The only problem can be encountered when baking this bread. That is why I did not use regular loaf tin, I never even tried, because I was not confident that it would be possible to get the texture right. The above process allows to bake bread with nice dense, but also soft and not heavy texture. With a dollop of butter this bread tastes better than any cake (my husband’s opinion). I am actually delighted with the result, especially by the fact that coconut flavour is completely unrecognisable. In terms of nutritional value, it is a healthy bread. I added xanthan gum to avoid any risks of getting the bread, that crumbles very easily, and might compromise defrosting process in the toaster. It was my first try of completely grain and nut free bread and I did not want to have inferior product. But I am not sure, that xanthan gum was necessary.
So it is possible to have real tasting bread with real bread texture grain and even nut free without intense excessive taste of bananas, pumpkin, carrots, eggs or coconut.