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Simply Oats and Nut Loaf - Glutenfree Peasant Bread

Or the loaf that keeps me sane!

Glutenfree Oat and Nut Loaf

Every once in a while, you come across an idea that spawns some amazing creation(s), whose impact you only realize only much later when you have made it your own and somehow it has become an integral part of your life. Google was one of those. The iPhone another. Now, I give you mine that I say will be square in that genre; this Glutenfree Peasant Bread.

Nearly two years ago, I came across this post. It had gone viral then. The concept of a gluten free 'bread' was just catching on and this post took the world by a swirl not just for the idea but also the writing. If you haven't read that, you should go on and read it. Anyway, at the time I read it, I was in the "I-want-to-try-something-new" mode and attempted making it as a learning experience. It was not perfect. For one, I did not have a silicone mold and so getting it out was not a pretty exercise and then when I baked it on the rack of the oven, it came out with rather unseemly ridges. But, the taste. Oh yes! It was good. Not quite bread, but when sliced thin it was fantastic as crackers. Essentially, after that, I did not think about making it because it was bit too involved and I thought needed a flexible pan for getting it out in one piece.

Glutenfree Oat and Nut Loaf
Glutenfree Oat and Nut Loaf
Glutenfree Oat and Nut Loaf

Recently, when my suspected troubles with wheat began, I started casting my net wide in trying to come up with ideas that would function as bread but without gluten. At the same time, I started my psyllium husk experiments. Naturally, that bread came to mind. But, I wanted something simpler and easier to execute and basically was super cheap to become a staple in the house. After all, one of the things about bread is that it does not cost much. Other important factors were that it hold together if made as a sandwich, have a satisfying crunch on the outside and be softer in the center like the crumb and most importantly, is low fuss to be an everyday bread. Something akin to flour-yeast-water-oil kind of list of ingredients.

As I understood the chemistry of psyllium husk more and its interaction with other ingredients, I was emboldened to create a recipe that would be fool proof, easy and affordable. After 5 months of, sometimes unconscious, testing and tweaking, I realized this loaf had become a staple in my house. One that made me NOT miss having regular bread. One that preserved my sanity and makes this whole gluten free thing enjoyable. One that has my gratitude many times over. For its rather humbleness I was rather surprised at the big impact it was having in my life.

It was the difference between a smile and despair ;-)

So, let me just say, it is one recipe that I stake my life on. Even if you are not gluten free, try this and tell me what you think. I would love to hear from you. I share some notes below on what I learnt in this experimentation process. Also, you can simply scale the recipe for larger or multiple loaves.

Glutenfree Oat and Nut Loaf
Glutenfree Oat and Nut Loaf
Glutenfree Oat and Nut Loaf

Notes:

1. I give a 2:1 ratio of oats to nuts in the recipe. You can tweak it to so far as even 1:1 but any more of the nuts and the bread will not bind. The reason being that the oats dissolve a little in the liquid over the resting period, creating a gel like substance that the psyllium wrenches on to and then spreads its wings to the other nuts and seeds. So, a critical mass of it is needed. I found that for best texture and flavor, 2:1 ratio worked best.

2. The only binding agent in this psyllium husk, which, is honestly very cheap. Even as I say this, I hope it doesn't drive the demand and price for this natural binding agent. It also has the strongest fibrous capacity. That means that ounce for ounce it absorbs more liquid than flax seed or chia seed.

3. You can easily add chia or flax seeds in to the bread. Flax seed is the lowest in absorbent capacity, so, use it more as a flavor rather than binder. If you are using chia seeds, reduce the amount of psyllium by about half the amount of chia seeds/powder added.

4. I use olive oil and water for the liquid. You can use any oil that does not solidify in cold like sunflower oil, peanut oil etc. You can also use milk but water is simplest.

5. My basic recipe uses 1 cup of nuts. That is to say, I use a mixture of nuts and seeds. You can use any mixture that suits your taste. For the sake of price, I tried with all seeds (which are a fraction of any other nuts) but the problem is that you don't get a good satisfying crunch without the large pieces of whole nuts.

6. You can add unto 1/4 cup of dried fruits in the recipe, without changing the liquid content. If you want more, add one tablespoon for every tablespoon of fruit added. I have not tried adding fresh fruit, although I suspect, it should be ok for pretty much the same amount unless they are super liquify like oranges.

7. This bread does not rise, of course. But, just like a regular yeast loaf, it needs proofing, as a overnight stint in the refrigerator and resting/cooling after baking of atleast an hour. Do not try to short circuit this. You'll end up with a mushy center if you skip either of the steps that is not quite pleasant to see or eat, trust me...

8. Another important do-not-skip step is to line your pan with parchment paper all over. This seriously makes the bread come our smooth as a sheet.

9. a good thing about this bread is it you really cannot over bake it. So it go a few minutes more in the oven, it is ok, it will not dry out on you.

10. And, although I have never been afforded the chance to test this, it should have an incredibly long shelf life because it has few things that spoil easily and has a high fat content.

11. The basic recipe uses no other flavoring but you can add vanilla or zests to up the ante.

12. This bread is best eaten toasted when the nuts in the center get a chance to get even nuttier.

That's it from my end. I hope you give it a shot. I think you will love it.

Glutenfree Oat and Nut Loaf Fig Tartine
Glutenfree Oat and Nut Loaf Fig Tartine

One Year Ago:

Chocolate and Pistachio Cake

Two Years Ago:

Spelt Berry Cobbler

{a wonderful low gluten alternative}

Three Years Ago:

Apple Walnut Bread

Four Years Ago:

Apricot and Almond Galette

Simply Oats and Nut Loaf / Glutenfree Peasant Bread

Glutenfree Oat and Nut Loaf

Dry Ingredients:

2 cup oats

1 cup assorted nuts

1/3 cup psyllium husk

1 tsp sea salt

Wet Ingredients:

1-1/2 T honey {agave if vegan}

1-1/4 cups water

1/4 cup olive oil

Prepare a 5 inch loaf pan by lining it with parchment paper, allowing for overhang that will help you pull it out easily.

In a large bowl, sift the dry ingredients together. Add the wet stuff to it.

Now comes the fun part where you get your hands dirty. Mix all the ingredients using your hands. It will start in a batter like consistently but even as you mix, it will start thickening.

Once it comes together in a ball, press into the prepared pan. Flatten and smooth the top.

Refrigerate for atleast 6 hours or over night.

When ready to bake, pull the pan out of the fridge. Preheat the oven to 400F.

Bake for 45-55 minutes, until the top is evenly browned and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.

Remove immediately from the pan and cool on rack for atleast an hour, preferably 90 minutes.

Slice, toast and serve as you please!

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