In considering what we choose to consume I'm personally not a big fan of faux foods and, wherever possible, try to eat as naturally and as unprocessed as I can. The thought of 'imitation meats' when you could just make the most of seasonal vegetables frankly sends shivers, and I've just never seen the appeal of 'replacement' ingredients. Of course, being free to eat whatever I like means I'm fortunate to take such a naive standpoint, I just feel eating would be more enjoyable if you always made the most of the things you can eat, rather than trying obscurely to replicate those you can't.
There's been some discussion lately around food intolerances, and whether "sensitivities" such as those towards gluten are more-so a consequence of poor, highly-processed diets than a reaction to bread/gluten itself, but whatever the cause being able to go gluten-free is a big thing for bakers. On the one hand it's really difficult to produce a high quality, bread-like product using solely natural ingredients (remember we're talking bakers here, so "bread-like" is a very, VERY particular quality we're striving for), but at the same time gluten-free goods are in such high demand most are still keen to be able to offer their customers something.
When I came across Josey Baker's adventure bread, while the name (for me) was a bit of a misnomer what I really liked about this recipe was that it wasn't really trying to be bread or even gluten-free, it was just a super-dense loaf packed full of nuts, grains and seeds that happened meet both of those needs.
Held together by the water-absorbing mucilage of psyllium, flax/linseed and chia, this dense, healthful loaf is full of nutrients and flavour. While admittedly I wasn't all that enamoured - the texture wasn't really for me as I found the loaf a bit wet* (the crust, though, was great so I'd be keen to work the mixture into some kind of crispbread) and can only eat all those seeds in fairly small quantities - if you don't get to (or can't) enjoy fresh sourdough the way I do then I'm sure Josey's loaf would make for an interesting change or nice addition to your gluten-free repertoire.
JOSEY'S LOAF (Adapted from Josey Baker's Adventure Bread in his book, Josey Baker Bread)
- 235 g rolled oats*
- 150 g sunflower seeds
- 60 g pepitas
- 50 g hazelnuts
- 50 g cashews
- 35 g sesame seeds
- 120 g linseeds
- 25 g psyllium husk
- 25 g chia seeds
- 12 g sea salt
- 40 g honey
- 55 g olive oil
- 600 ml water
Toast the sunflower seeds and pepitas in an oven preheated to 180°C until they begin to brown, about 10 minutes. At the same time toast the hazelnuts, then rub off their skins and allow to cool.
Roughly chop the cashews and hazelnuts, then combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add the wet ingredients and mix well. Press into a well-oiled loaf pan, cover loosely and refrigerate overnight.
The following day, preheat the oven to 200°C then bake the loaf for around 60 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the sides are beginning to pull away from the tin. Turn the loaf onto a wire rack and leave to cool for at least 2 hours. Josey then recommends slicing it thinly (12-mm) and serving toasted and topped with butter and/or your favourite spread*.
** To be fair, Josey does recommend serving it thinly sliced and toasted, which really enhances the texture/flavours. I did, however, find that it spoiled reasonably quickly, so you may want to consider storing it in the fridge, or freeze away slices that you can pop straight into the toaster whenever it's needed.
** I used a five-grain mix that included rolled oats, spelt, and rye; amaranth and quinoa flakes, for no reason other than I'd run out of rolled oats and that was what I had lying around. I think this loaf is very open to adaptation so feel free to throw in whichever grains, nuts and seeds take your fancy.
** It's also really nice with avocado, if you're after something more substantial.