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Category: breads

Chestnut-Flour Apricot Cacao Cake (Torta di Farina di Castagne e Cacao)

Chestnut flour is a lot of fun to bake with. It provides a nutty, yet sweet aromatic flavour to breads, tarts and cookies, which is very different from other nut flours. I use it a lot and have made the traditional Italian castagnaccio tart, pancakes, several breads, cookies, and even “peanut butter” cups. I also love to cook with the nuts themselves, making soups, adding them to dishes and purees.

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For a listing of all my chestnut recipes, please click here.

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Some weeks ago, I experimented with an eggless waffle made with chestnut flour and flax, whose flavour was really delicious. But the texture didn’t work out. I thought of recreating that for breakfast today, but I had added zucchini to the recipe and didn’t have any left. So, I’ll have to revisit that sometime soon…

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But today, I wanted to make something between a bread and a cake. My first experiment (of which I posted a picture on Instagram) has a nice flavour, but the texture is not quite what I was looking for. While I was on my walk, I kept thinking of how I could change the recipe and make it better.

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When I got home, I put out all the ingredients and then saw a recipe on the back of the chestnut flour bag that caught my eye: chestnut flour and cacao cake.

This is an adaptation of that recipe, making it gluten free, adding more eggs and fresh apricots instead of dried figs. I’ve kept it in grams, since it’s easier to adapt a recipe that way, but added cups for US conversion convenience. Therefore, some of the measurements seem odd, but are not really.

For me, it’s a keeper. I’m eager to know what you think!

Note: It’s better eaten the same day of baking or the day after. But after that, it tends to dry up a bit.

Chestnut-Flour Apricot Cacao Cake
Recipe Type: Dessert, Breakfast
Cuisine: Paleo
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Ingredients
  • 100g (1 cup + 1 heaping tablespoon) chestnut flour
  • 50g (1/2 cup) ground almonds (almond flour)
  • 3 eggs, separate
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 35g (1/2 cup) raw cacao powder
  • 50g (1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons) coconut sugar (more or honey, if you prefer sweeter)
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 25g (3 tablespoons) pine nuts (optional)
  • 3 ripe apricots, peeled and diced
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180C fan (350F).
  2. Grease a pie/tart pan.
  3. In a clean mixing bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
  4. In another mixing bowl, cream the egg yolks, chestnut flour, ground almonds, coconut sugar, raw cacao, baking soda and coconut milk.
  5. Fold in the egg whites and blend until the white is no longer showing.
  6. Fold in the apricot pieces.
  7. Pour into the pie/tart mold.
  8. Sprinkle with pine nuts, if desired.
  9. Bake for 35-40 minutes on the middle rack.

 

Banana Coconut-Flour Spice Bread (or Cake), Nut Free

My mother asked me some time ago if I had a Paleo banana bread recipe. You see, I’m slowly converting my parents to the Paleo diet. They are trying to eliminate bread, which they only eat in the morning, and avoid baking with sugar. Everything else, except for the drinking milk that my father will not let go of, they are already pretty much on board.

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Ironically, I didn’t have a plain banana bread Paleo version until now. Last week, I experimented with bananas, grated beetroot and an almond flour based cake.* While I like it and the flavour is very nice, I was struggling with the fact of having a high concentration of nuts in the bread.

I wanted to come up with something healthier that can be eaten daily, in fact so my mother can use it as a replacement for her breakfast bread. Additionally, although the beetroot is a great flavour, it’s not something everyone has on hand in a pinch.. so I’ve opted for a more simple version of bananas alone to create a coconut-flour based bread instead.

With this, I not only feel comfortable that my mother can have a healthy bread, which she can eat daily, and I feel no guilt in indulging either!

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The result of this recipe is a flavourful bread/cake, that is light and fluffy. The spices provide an aromatic flavour, making the banana less prominent, which I personally prefer. However, you can omit the spices or swap them for the beans of a vanilla pod or vanilla extract.

The first time I made this, I added desiccated coconut to add texture; the second time, I omitted it. Both ways are delicious and nothing needs to be altered when omitting it.

If you want to make it sweeter, add more honey, maple syrup or coconut sugar, but remember coconut sugar also adds a dark colour. Feel free to omit the little bit of honey in the recipe if you prefer.

*The banana-beetroot cake I’ll be sharing soon. I have to make it again and take proper pictures.. but I promise it will be up!

Banana Coconut-Flour Spice Bread (or Cake), Nut Free
Recipe Type: Dessert
Cuisine: Paleo
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Makes one loaf.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup mashed bananas, make sure they are almost liquid (2-3 bananas)
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons raw honey (more to taste, for a cake)
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt or a pinch of fine salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 5 egg whites + 1/2 teaspoon creme of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • Add in: 1/2 cup cacao nibs or chocolate pieces/chips (optional)
  • 1/3 cup desiccated coconut (for added texture, but optional and not essential to the recipe)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F).
  2. Grease your loaf or cake tin with some butter or coconut oil. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat together the mashed bananas, egg yolks, melted butter, honey, spices, and salt until smooth. Set aside.
  4. In another clean bowl, beat the egg whites and creme of tartar until very stiff peaks form. Set aside.
  5. Add the baking soda, desiccated coconut (if using) and coconut flour to the banana mixture and blend well. If you’re adding the cacao nibs or chocolate pieces, do so now as well, and mix well.
  6. Fold in the egg whites into the creamed mixture just until the egg whites are not visible. Do not over mix.
  7. Pour into the loaf or cake tin.
  8. Bake on the bottom rack for 45-50 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

 

Paleo Sesame Wafers

A word of caution: you will want to make these all the time! They are addictive and so easy to make, you can’t help yourself. At least, I couldn’t. I’ve made these four times since I created the recipe and I just cannot get enough.

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They make a perfect garnish element or can be devoured (yes devoured, although that’s not too elegant for a garnish) alone. I made them specifically for this Rhubarb Semifreddo, and I keep eating the  “props” every time! 😉

To make them curved: allow to cool about 1 minute out of the oven and then place over a glass or rolling pin. Press into shape and allow to cool completely.

They are best eaten the day they are made or the next day, after which they become chewy.

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Paleo Sesame Wafers
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4-5
Makes about 4 or 5 wafers.
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon honey (or more if you prefer)
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablepsoon arrowroot powder
  • 1 teaspoon coconut flour
  • sesame seeds
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 150C (300F).
  2. Prepare a cookie tray for the oven with a sheet of parchment paper.
  3. In a bowl, beat the butter and honey until smooth.
  4. Add the egg white and beat until fluffy.
  5. Add the arrowroot powder and coconut flour.
  6. Mix well.
  7. Pour onto the parchment paper into the desired shapes. I made 4 elongated wafers, but you can make them round or into another shape.
  8. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  9. Bake for 7-9 minutes.

 

Paleo Sesame Hamburger Buns 1.0

I’m calling this recipe “1.0” because I have another one under development as well. These buns are a spin-off of my Chestnut-Almond Bread, and are light and spongy.

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I would like achieve a more “flaky” style hamburger bun though (if possible), and I hope that will be version “2.0”. 😉 So, stay tuned for more…

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In the meantime, these are even delicious as a side roll. The combination of flours actually creates a nice blend of flavours, with none of them really standing out, and allowing the sesame seeds to be the star here.

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Paleo Sesame Hamburger Buns 1.0
Cuisine: Paleo
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Makes 6, 4-inch buns.
Ingredients
  • 3-4 whole eggs, equalling 3/4 cup
  • 3/4 cup coconut or almond milk
  • 1/4 cup ground cashews (or ground almonds will also work)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons chestnut flour
  • 1/4 cup ground arrowroot powder
  • 5 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • sesame seeds
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F).
  2. Prepare a cookie sheet with a piece of parchment paper.
  3. In a blender, pulse the eggs and milk until smooth.
  4. Add the ground cashews and pulse again until well blended and smooth.
  5. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl.
  6. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well by hand.
  7. The dough will become sticky, yet pliable.
  8. Place the dough on the cookie sheet, by large spoonfuls. (For thick buns, make the rounds smaller and higher; for thinner buns, make the rounds larger and less high.)
  9. If necessary, make them rounder with your hands.
  10. Sprinkle sesame seeds over each bun.
  11. Bake for 20 minutes.
  12. (Depending on the size of the cookie sheet and the buns, you may have to do this in two batches.)
  13. They can be eaten right away or stored in the fridge and “roasted” in a saucepan the next day.
  14. They can also be frozen, defrosted and “roasted” or “toasted” when ready to be used.

 

Roast Beef with Apples, Gravy and Paleo “Yorkshire Pudding”

My husband went shopping again and this time brought home a beef joint perfecting for roasting. I took it out in the morning to thaw, precisely the day that I had plans to meet some friends for lunch.. I wan’t quite thinking straight or could remember exactly how long it required to be done to perfection. So, on my way home from our luncheon, I was panicking a bit and needed some reassurance.

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I checked out Jamie Oliver’s recipe, which helped with the times, and in addition offered inspiration for accompaniments, that I had not even thought of! duh… how can you have a beef roast, especially in England, without the traditional gravy and Yorkshire pudding!

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Of course, pudding in England is not exactly what one would expect across the pond… and in all honesty, I’ve only had it once in a restaurant and didn’t like it, and that’s not even mentioning it’s was not Paleo. I think the culprit for not falling in love with this English tradition were that my expectations were along the lines of the cream-like dish the Americans call pudding, instead of the bread-like English version.

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But either way, I was determined that my not-so-traditional Beef Roast must be accompanied by some version of “Yorkshire pudding”, one that soaked up the juices and the gravy….so, I used the following recipe for a basis, and took it from there. Purists will gawk at my recipe for sure, but the results were so nice for my palate, that I’ve created a bread! (So it pays to experiment in the kitchen for sure… ;-))

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The gravy I made from the drippings of the beef roast, which since it included apples, has a unique flavour that is quite delightful!

PALEO “YORKSHIRE PUDDING”

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs, which equal about 1/2 cup
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup chestnut flour
  • 1/4 cup ground arrowroot
  • 1/4 cup ground almonds
  • 1 tablespoon coconut flour
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Process

  1. If you make these alongside the roast beef, the oven should already be at 200C (approximately 390F). If not, then preheat the oven to that temperature.
  2. In a bowl, beat the eggs, milk and a pinch of salt. Add the flours and baking soda and mix well. Allow to sit for about 5-7 minutes until the mixture thickens to a pudding consistency.
  3. Pour into paper muffin holders or a greased muffin tin, and bake for about 12 minutes.

PALEO GRAVY

Ingredients

  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ground arrowroot
  • drippings from the roast beef, as much as possible
  • olive oil

Process

  1. In a saucepan over medium to low heat, heat the olive oil and sauté the onion and garlic until tender. Reduce heat to low.
  2. Add about 1 tablespoon (adjust to the amount of liquid you will be adding) of arrowroot. Mix well.
  3. Immediately add the liquid drippings of the roast beef.
  4. Stir until the gravy is thick.
Roast Beef, Gravy and Paleo “Yorkshire Pudding”
Cuisine: British
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 2 kilo roasting beef joint
  • 4-5 carrots, cut in large chunks
  • 3 medium red onions, quartered
  • 4 celery stalks, cut in large pieces
  • cherry tomatoes, about 20 small
  • 4 apples, peeled and cut into large pieces
  • 5-6 garlic cloves, minced
  • coarse sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • olive oil
  • freshly ground rosemary
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 240C (460F).
  2. Rinse and prepare the vegetables and the apples.
  3. Place in an oven proof dish and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle some sea salt and pepper over top. Mix well.
  4. Rinse the beef and place on top of the bed of vegetables and apples. Drizzle with olive oil and season with the salt, pepper, garlic, and rosemary.
  5. Reduce the oven temperature to 200C (390F).
  6. Bake for 1 hour, for a medium-well roast beef, turning over after 30 minutes.
  7. Bake about 15 longer for medium-slightly pink. (Adjust according to the weight of the beef, of course.)
  8. Serve with “yorkshire pudding” and gravy over the beef and vegetables, if desired.

 

 

Chestnut-Almond Bread

Making the invented “Yorkshire pudding” the other day for the beef roast, I discovered that not only did it taste great, but that the texture was wonderful for a bread.

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This is spongy and delicious. I’ll admit that I don’t like to cook or bake with too much arrowroot, even if it’s a healthier option than corn starch, as it’s still a starch. However, it is what gives this recipe the spongy texture, which is rather nice for a bread.

The flavour is slightly like chestnut, but not over-powering, and is just sweet enough without any added sweeteners. However, feel free to add a bit of honey or your preferred sweetener for a more intense flavour. Also I think it lends itself well to adding pieces of nuts or fruit inside. I’ll be making it like that next time! 😉

In the meantime, enjoy… I am doing that right now.

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Chestnut-Almond Bread
Cuisine: Paleo
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8
Makes one small loaf
Ingredients
  • 3 eggs, about 3/4 cup
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup ground almonds (almond flour)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons chestnut flour
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot
  • 3 tablespoons coconut flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • coconut oil, for greasing
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F).
  2. Grease a loaf mold with coconut oil (or other grease of preference).
  3. In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs and milk together with a whisk.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients and blend well.
  5. Pour into the mold and bake for about 25 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

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Rosemary Coconut Savoury Bread – Nut Free

Okay, I’ll admit that I’ve only made this once. I usually try all my baking recipes two or three times prior to posting, to ensure they work right and they are to my absolute liking. However, this one worked immediately.

I was trying to make a bread without nuts, which although are very healthy, we shouldn’t be eating a lot of them every day. Plus, I wanted a dry bread, without the cake like texture most Paleo breads have. And I’ve succeeded, at least for my palate. 😉

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I hope you like it as much as I do, and experiment on your own with different spices and flavours! Pictured here is the bread with my homemade pate, which I’ve revised recently so it’s much simpler to make. Enjoy!

ROSEMARY COCONUT SAVOURY BREAD

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1/3 cup flaxmeal
  • 3/4 cup coconut flour

Process

  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F).
  2. In a bowl, beat with a hand mixer the eggs, olive oil, coconut milk, and rosemary until smooth.
  3. Add the flaxmeal, soda and sea salt and mix well.
  4. Add the coconut flour and mix well. By now, the mixture is rather dry.
  5. Scrap the dough with a spatula into an ovenproof dish and form with hands into a pretty bread shape. (You can also scoop the dough into a small baking tin and spread out with the spatula.)
  6. Bake for 45 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

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Banana Zucchini Bread/Cake/Muffins (Nut Free, Grain Free, Egg Free & Sweetener Free!)

NOTE (11 July 2013): When I originally made this recipe, I tested it three times, with different combination of ingredients. On the third attempt, the recipe worked for me and held together fine, as you can see in the photographs.

Since then, a number of readers have tried the recipe with varying results, many stating that it does not set. I’ve tried making changes, adding flax, adding chia, gelatine, arrowroot…the point is, I have not yet been able to make the adjustments which creates an infallible recipe and stays true to the great flavours of the original recipe.

I asked on Facebook the other day, whether or not to keep this recipe up, and the majority who responded said to bring it back (after having unpublished it). So, here it is again, with no changes yet.

In the meantime, I will continue to experiment with this until I find the right combination of ingredients that do not alter the flavour and work right each time. Please stay tuned!

Original post follows:

**********

A friend of mine, who is in culinary school, asked me the other day for recipes for people with allergies (no eggs, no gluten and no nuts). I offered information on egg substitutes and baking with coconut flour and nut flours, but really had no real recipe that covers all three bases.

I have been trying to develop an egg free and nut free bread for a couple of weeks. All the Paleo breads I’ve  made up until now have a lot of eggs and nuts; and although it’s very healthy to eat both, of course, I don’t want to be eating them on a daily basis as part of my breakfast. I try to vary what I eat every day as much as possible, but I’m not always in the mood to cook as soon as I get up, so “bread” is always an easy thing to resort to.

Well… “insert drum roll here”…. I finally got it right! I intended it as a quick bread for brekkie, but because of the bananas, it’s much sweeter than your regular breakfast bread (although I ate it today with some “raw” blue cheese!). I think next time, I’ll make it as muffins or as a cake with a coconut frosting….yum…

Also, I think the recipe lends itself to substitutions for the bananas, such as apple sauce. So, I foresee a lot more experimenting in the future… 😉

BANANA ZUCCHINI BREAD (Nut Free, Grain Free, Egg Free, and Sweetener Free!)

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup mashed, ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, not melted, but soft
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 cup grated zucchini
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour

Process:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F).
  2. In a large bowl, mix the bananas, coconut oil, orange zest, vanilla extract, and cardamom. With a hand beater, beat until smooth and fluffy.
  3. Add the sea salt and baking soda and incorporate well.
  4. Add the coconut flour and mix well.
  5. Fold in the zucchini.
  6. Pour into a loaf pan (mine is about 6×3 inches) and bake for 40-45 minutes.
  7. Allow to cool before removing from loaf pan, and to cool completely before slicing.

 

Paleo Almond-Chestnut Crusty Bread

I attempted making this bread the other day and it sort of flopped. Some of you may recall my post on Facebook. The bread looked great and tasted great, but it turned out raw in the middle. It  just wouldn’t dry up in the oven. I think I was being overly ambitious by experimenting with combining these two “flours” and also adding fruit to the mixture.

So this time around, I kept it simple, which oftentimes is better. This recipes works! I love the flavour and the texture. You may want to adjust for sweetness, although I find it perfectly balanced for my palate. The crust is hard and “crusty” and the inside is tender, but doesn’t fall apart like with other Paleo loaf breads I’ve made the in the past. In fact, so far, it’s the closest thing to “real” bread that I’ve made!

Because the dough must be kneaded and is dry, it could be shaped and made to look like a baguette or a traditional bread. However, I made it in a loaf pan (8×4). For a higher bread, I recommend a slightly small pan.

PALEO ALMOND CHESTNUT CRUSTY BREAD

Ingredients

  • 150g (1 3/4 cups) chestnut flour
  • 200g (2 cups) ground almonds
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey (optional)

Process

  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F).
  2. Grease and line with parchment paper a loaf pan.
  3. Mix the chestnut flour, ground almonds, sea salt and soda. Set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, with a hand mixer, beat the eggs until fluffy. Add the olive oil and honey and mix well.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture. With your hands, knead the dough about 3-4 minutes, until completely combined.
  6. Spoon and flatten into the prepared loaf pan and drizzle with some olive oil over top.
  7. Bake for 10 minutes at 180C.
  8. Reduce oven temperature to 150C and bake an additional 20 minutes.
  9. Allow to completely cool before cutting.

Note: Inserting a toothpick into this bread does not work, as it will come out clean even if the center is still undercooked. That was my mistake with the first attempt.

Chestnut-Rosemary Tart or Pan

Growing up, I used to hate eating chestnuts. It’s very typical in Spain to eat them raw or roasted on the fire; and it’s a traditional scene during the fall and winter to see the vendors with their roasting carts on the streets selling roasted chestnuts and other goodies. I did and still do love the smell of roasted chestnuts… it symbolises the beginning of autumn and the beautiful holiday season to come.

And to-day, I actually love to eat them, especially when they are vapor-cooked and so sweet. (I’m still not keen about the raw ones…) And now, I have discovered chestnut flour! My mother says there used to be a lot of desserts and dishes that were made in Southern Spain with chestnut flour. But I’ve never knowingly tried anything nor made anything with it before. But during the Christmas holidays, I stole a number of recipes from my mother’s collection (Mama… remember the recipe of the wilted kale you were asking for the other day…well, I DO have it ;-)).

The other day, I tried experimenting with chestnut flour and almond flour together to make some breakfast bread; and although the flavour was really good, the texture was not quite right. But while I’m still working on perfecting that recipe (to share with all of you), I was intrigued by this one and can’t rave enough about it!

This tart below is de-li-cious!!! Don’t be tempted to add any sweetener (until you make it at least once), as it has just the perfect sweet combination with the sultanas and the chestnut flour, which is quite sweet on its own. Additionally, for those of you with egg allergies or just wanting to make something without eggs, this is a perfect recipe to build upon! And the additional plus is that it is really, totally sugar or sweetener free!

CHESTNUT-ROSEMARY TART (or PAN, as it’s called in Spain)

Ingredients, for one 19cm or 7in diameter-tart (it comes out to about 3cm in height)

  • 150g chestnut flour
  • 250ml water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • 1/4 cup sultana raisins (more if desired, up to 1/2 cup recommended for a sweeter tart)
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • freshly ground rosemary (I used about 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons)

ready for the oven

Process

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Grease with some olive oil a small tart pan (19cm or 7in diameter). Set aside.
  2. In  a medium bowl, mix the chestnut flour, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and salt. Add the water, whilst whisking until smooth. The mixture will be quite liquid.
  3. Add the sultanas and mix well.
  4. Pour into the tart pan and sprinkle with pine nuts and some ground rosemary or rosemary sprigs over top.
  5. Drizzle the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over top.
  6. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Allow to cool completely before cutting and serving.

Make it now, and I dare you to have just one piece! Enjoy!

*Just a side note about chestnuts: they are the highest alkaline producing nuts, are a good source of fiber, rich in Vitamin C, rich in folates (folic acid), they are a rich source of mono un-saturated fatty acids, are an excellent source of iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and zinc. Plus, they contain a number of other Vitamin Bs. And of course, they are gluten free. I wish I would’ve like them more as a child, but now is not too late to start enjoying all their goodness.

**A note on variations possible: you can use other types of dried fruit, such as apricots or prunes instead of the raisins; also, you can use slivered almonds or coarsely ground almonds or another nut instead of the pine nuts. Other fresh or dried herbs can be used as well, such as thyme or oregano. Experiment depending on your taste buds and mood… and above all, have fun with this recipe!

Grain-Free Sourdough Bread

I generally don’t make New Year’s resolutions, first because I tend to not stick to them, and second because I tend to not stick to them…but one of my goals this year is to become a better food stylist and photographer. However my impatience seems to be getting in the way, at least in the first few days of the year. I’m so eager to share this incredible recipe with all of you, that I’m still making pictures with my iPhone, instead of my camera.

Last year, I had an excuse: my 5-year old computer was not working properly or uploading my pictures. But, as I received a lovely gift from my husband for Three Kings Day, a new computer, I really have no excuse.. except that I haven’t yet loaded my Adobe programs onto it. (I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m an impatient procrastinator.)

Therefore, here goes this post with photography of which I’m not so proud. The recipe is from Urban Poser and is absolutely delicious. I suggest to follow her recommendations on the size of the baking tin, as my loaf came out a bit flatter than hers since I used a slightly wider tin. (I’m already planning to purchase a new loaf pan just for this bread, in addition to using different nuts, such as chestnuts and almonds!)

I didn’t make any major alterations, except that I cultured the cashews on the countertop overnight instead of in the oven (which I was afraid to leave on all night and potentially cause a fire). Additionally, I did adjust the baking time due to the size of my loaf pan.

GRAIN FREE “SOURDOUGH” BREAD

Ingredients, one loaf

  • 2 3/4 cups ground, raw cashews (I weighed out the 10oz of cashews required, ground them up and measured them in cups to make this recipe easier)
  • 4 oz water (1/2 cup)
  • 20-30 billion probiotic strains (I used the contents of two capsules of Ultimate Flora, each contains 15 billion Active Cultures)
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 egg yolk, plus 1 teaspoon water for Egg Wash
  • olive oil or grease of choice

Recommended loaf tin should be 7.5 inches x 3.5 inches.

Process

  1. For the “sourdough” starter: As I do not have a food processor, I used my Black & Decker blender. So, instead of grinding the cashews with the water together, I ground the cashews in small batches alone. The texture should be that of packaged ground almonds or almond flour.
  2. Once the cashews are all ground, pour into a small glass or ceramic (non reactive) bowl and add the 4 oz of water and the probiotic powder. Mix well with a wooden spoon. The mixture will be thick and gooey. Cover with a plastic cover to keep airtight.
  3. I cultured my mixture overnight (24 hours) on the countertop. The Urban Poser recommends a number of ways to culture the mixture. Please click here for her recipe and culturing ideas.
  4. When the culture is ready, preheat oven to 150C or 300F.
  5. Prepare the 7.5 x 3.5 inch pan by lightly greasing and lining it with parchment paper. Make sure the paper is long enough so that it flaps over all sides of the tin. Additionally, I greased the inside of the paper with a bit of olive oil.
  6. If your loaf pan is larger than this, you should double the recipe. The loaf pan should be 3/4 full of batter to achieve the height of a regular bread. (As this was my first time making this, I did not double the recipe; hence the thinner looking slices.)
  7. Using a rubber spatula, transfer the cashew mixture to a larger bowl.
  8. Separate the egg yolks from the whites. Add the yolks and a tablespoon of water to the cashews. Beat with a hand mixer until smooth.
  9. If using the same hand mixer, wash, rinse thoroughly and dry the beaters. Before beating the egg whites, add the baking soda and salt to the cashew mixture and stir in well.
  10. Beat the egg whites, until soft peaks form. Do not over beat.
  11. Gently fold in the egg whites into the cashew mixture, until they are no longer visible.
  12. Transfer the batter into the prepared loaf pan.
  13. Prepare the egg wash by mixing the egg yolk with the water.
  14. With a pastry brush, very gently brush the egg wash on top of the bread batter. (This gives the loaf a nice crusty finish.)
  15. Bake for 40 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out dry. (You may need to adjust baking time for the size of your loaf pan and if doubling the recipe.)
  16. At 40 minutes, increase the oven temperature to 180C or 375F and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until the top is golden and crusty.
  17. Remove from the oven and allow to completely cool before slicing.

 

Cranberry Pear Loaf

I think I’m still a baker at heart. But baking these days is more of a challenge than it used to be, since I want to keep all my baking gluten free, refined sugar free and dairy free, as much as possible. Therefore, I’m always in search of inspiration for recipe ideas, especially for breads.

I follow a few blogs on Facebook and one of them, Against All Grain, posted a delicious looking cranberry lemon loaf that was perfectly timed with my supply of fresh cranberries. Here is the result. I changed the recipe a tiny bit, as I have a hard time sticking to any recipe 100% of the time.

CRANBERRY PEAR LOAF

Ingredients

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseeds
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup raw honey
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped, fresh cranberries
  • 2 small pears, peeled and chopped

Process

  1. Preheat oven to 175C.
  2. Grease an 9×4 loaf pan with olive oil.
  3. Place all of the ingredients, except the cranberries and pears, in a bowl and mix until well blended.
  4. Fold in cranberries and pears.
  5. Pour into mold.
  6. Bake for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the loaf.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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