Chia seeds can be used as whole or ground as one of the dry ingredients mix of the dough or pastry. They will increase the nutritional value of any baking product, being that gluten free or not. However, my approach to include chia seeds to make dough or pastry, was more on extreme scale. In my particular circumstances all recipes had to be made to suit dietary limitations of real people with their individual needs. These needs happen to be on the side of quite severe restrictions, with no grains, soy, pseudo-grains, any starches or legumes allowed, as well as elimination of dairy products and sugar. So for me chia, flax, pumpkin, sunflower and other seeds, were the only choice for dry ingredients. Another allowed dry product was coconut flour. That is why the use of chia seeds in my original baking recipes always goes together with the above restrictions in the recipe. Just trying to imagine these limitations might make you think, that nothing of good taste, look and quality can be created to satisfy this dietary needs. The examples below will prove that the whole range of quality baking products can be created with only seeds as dry ingredients.
Here they are – bread, in all shapes and sizes, pies, pastries, tarts, tart tatins, cakes.
The original recipe for the dough that can be baked in very soft, moist and tasty bread, that can be kept 3-4 days without going stale, was created based on apples and eggs, without using any oils. The recipe had three types of seeds: pumpkin/sunflower, flax and chia as dry ingredients. It proved to be a very flexible recipe, apples can be substituted by pure apple puree, cooked or fresh vegetable puree (cooked pumpkin and beetroot or even fresh cauliflower).
Cooked beetroot puree bread
Fresh cauliflower bread rolls
They do not need extra work with fresh cauliflower, just blend cauliflower, add eggs, blend together and add dry ingredients. No cooking or squeezing liquid out.
Pumpkin seeds or sunflower kernels can be substituted by almond meal, that will make dough preparation very easy, no need to grind pumpkin seeds or sunflower kernels.
Ground flax seeds may be replaced by flaxseed flour. This substitution changes the texture of the dough, but does not change the texture of baked bread. The dough itself is easy to work with, it is very soft, but stays together and is very pliable, so much so, that it allows to make buns and pastries with different fillings.
The most amazing fact is, that all the replacements and substitutions do not cause changes in ingredient quantities.
When apple puree and seed bread is baked in a shape of large flat buns, it can be used as a perfect lunch on the go.
Chia seeds can also be used as egg replacement. I made one recipe egg free, with chia “egg”, where dry ingredient was pumpkin seed flour, another dry product that can be used to bake grain and starches free bread.
Versatility and sound structure of another grain free dough/pastry with chia seeds allow to roll pastry very thin and use it to bake shells for tarts or tartlets, as well as layers for multilayered cakes.
Similar type of pastry can be rolled relatively thick to make date rolls/biscuits or even strudels.
The conclusion can be made that if baking grain, pseudo-grains, legumes and starches free, can produce so many options for chia seeds to be used as part of the dry mix, the range of possibilities to use chia seeds in only gluten free baking, with many more dry ingredients at hand, can be simply breathtaking. In the near future I will be developing recipes based on buckwheat flour and try to use chia seeds in the new ingredient setting. One of the first goals would be to use ground chia seeds to replace flaxseed flour in buckwheat soba noodles recipe, followed by adding chia seeds to buckwheat bread recipe, to try the possibility of complete egg replacement, thus making the recipe suitable for people with eggs intolerance.
I would like to say it again, anything is possible even on a diet with a very strict dietary limitations. Quality and tasty bread, delicious savoury and sweet baking products, even decadent cakes can be made completely grain, dairy and sugar free, without any excuses for their texture and flavours.
The majority of the above recipes are published in my second E-cooking blog, dedicated exclusively to grain, dairy and sugar free recipes.