This gluten free nut and seed bread came out of a long process of trial and error of creating a great gluten-free bread without using any dairy or yeast. I have been living mostly gluten-free and dairy-free for the last few years but as of recently I have been craving bread. I have never been much of a bread person but here in The Netherlands everything revolves around bread. I grew up eating bread for breakfast and lunch and sometimes even for dinner. Living in The Netherlands it can be hard to find a good gluten-free breakfast or lunch. It was about time that I started to create my own bread.
The Dutch loaves of bread are typically very light, soft and fluffy. Most of the store bought breads are not very wholesome, tasty or healthy in my opinion. Plus they all contain gluten. I have not yet found a gluten-free bread that I really enjoy eating (if you know any, let me know!). My mission was to make an altogether different kind of bread than the ones you can buy here in local supermarkets and bakeries. I prefer dark, grainy and thick bread. My recipe is inspired by the time I lived in Sweden.
When I first moved to Sweden I was suprised to find out that most breads in Sweden are not fluffy and light as the ones you buy here but dark, thick, moist and with a sweet and sour taste. The kind of bread I enjoyed most was a dark sour rye bread, packed with whole grains, seeds and high in dietary fibre. One simple slice of bread would last me throughout the day. It tastes absolutely great and feels deeply nourishing.
With this recipe I have tried to recreate one of my favorite breads, with lots of nuts, seeds and dried fruits. A bread that gives energy and fills you up so you can last through the day. When I lived in Sweden I started making my own bread to cut down on the costs of living as a student so I could explore and travel the North of Europe. I remember making a similar kind of bread before going on a hiking trip up to the North of Sweden to climb the Kebnekaise mountains. It was my idea of a trail mix. I remember it being hard like a stone, even heavy to carry, but it was jam-packed with nutrients and an excellent energy bomb to fuel my hike. I am so glad I brought that bread with me.
It was early spring when we arrived up North and we were surprised to discover that big parts of the area were still covered in snow making it hard for us to hike as many rivers were flooded and the trail was quite rugged and slippery at sections. Kebnekaise is the highest mountain in Sweden and the highest point in Scandinavia north of the Arctic Circle. It is a very isolated area. It’s basically a vast space inhabited by wild animals with barely any people. With the snow and the floods our hike into the Kebnekaise hut took us almost a day. We did not see a single person on our way.
Me and my two friends were totally unprepared for the weather. I did not bring the right clothes and ended wearing one of the guys spare trousers that was twice my size. Apparently. we were quite crazy for going on this hike as the hiking season had not yet started. After a long, exhausting hike we finally arrived at the mountain resort. We found out that the restaurant and shop were closed. Luckily, we brought our own food and my stone-hard bread full of nuts and seeds. This bread fuelled us for the length of our trip.
Despite the obvious challenges with the weather which made it impossible to go all the way up to the top of the mountain, going up north was one of the most impressve events of my life. I remember not being able to sleep at night when we were staying at the Kebnekaise hut. I sneaked out in the middle of the night to walk up to the mountains by myself. It must have been around 1 or 2 am but the sky was an intense blue, the sun was shining and gigantic white clouds hovered overhead that created a mesmerising play of light and shadow on the valley below. I was so enthralled by this light and the shadows that were projected on this vast open space below that I sat there for hours, in awe of my surroundings, feeling like a small speck of dust in this wide universe but at the same deeply connected to it all. I remember a great silence that was occasionally interrupted by the sounds of birds and wild animals. I could have sat there forever. The next morning when I told the people at the mountain hut that I went for a hike on my own at night, they were shocked. Apparently, it was a pretty stupid thing to do. I had been completely unaware of the dangers of wildlife, wolves and lynxes, that typically come out at night to look for food.
So my bread comes with a story and I wanted to make a similar one to the one that I used on my hiking trip but this time without the gluten and not as hard as a rock. I think I’ve come close to creating just that, a dense but still soft nutrient-packed bread that gives lots of fuel. This morning I had just 4 thin slices of it sprinkled with just a little olive oil and salt and pepper. Just having a few slices of bread, I expected to get hungry by noon. I did my morning yoga practice, then left home to teach two yoga classes. I was planning on taking a lunch break after my yoga as I finished at 13:30 but as I wasn’t hungry at all and I did not see the point of eating so decided to go to my gym instead. I did some endurance and strength training for a little over an hour. Afterwards at 4pm I still did not feel hungry so I got myself a small salad to eat at home.
My point is that this bread beats any energy drink or power bar. It gets you going and keeps you going. It is packed with whole grains and dietary fiber that provide energy and a sense of satiety to last you through your day. The nuts and seeds are a great source of protein which helps the body to build muscle. It’s great to take with you on a long hike or if you are a busy person who is always on the go. If you are an athlete or lead a very active lifestyle you need a higher energy intake to sustain you throughout the day. You need to eat well, to take in the right amount of carbs, fluids, vitamins and minerals and protein to have the energy to not only perform at what you do but also to keep improving your performance. This bread does just that. It gets you up the mountain and down again.
½ cup sesame seeds, ground
1 cup sunflower seeds
½ cup flax seed, ground
½ cup chia seeds, ground
1/3 cup of raisins
4 large Medjool dates, cut in small pieces
½ cup hazelnuts
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup Teff flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
½ cup olive oil
2 1/2 cups of water
1. Ground the sesame seeds, flax seeds and chia seeds in a blender until they have the consistency of a flour.
2. In a large bowl combine all dry ingredients. In a separatable bowl mix the olive oil, vinegar, maple syrup and water together. Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and mix well until everything is moist and sticky and the mixture has a mud-like consistency. Add more water if necessary. You should be able to stir the mixture with a big spoon but you definitely don’t want it to be runny. Cover the bowl with a towel and let sit at room temperature for at least a whole night.
3. Fill the loaf pan lined with baking paper with the mixture and smooth out the top with the back of a spoon.
4. Preheat oven to 175°C.
5. Place the loaf pan in the oven on the middle rack, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove bread from tray, place it upside down directly on the rack covered with baking paper. Bake for another 40-50 minutes until the crust reaches a deep shade of brown. It’s done when it sounds hollow when you tap the bottom or top of the loaf or a knife comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before cutting and serving.
6. When cooled down, slice the bread and serve with anything you like, for example, a nice salad, pesto or tapenade.