Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Slightly Crazy, Very Healthy

Back when I was on Weight Watchers as a teen, I used to hear talk of and recommendations for all sorts of things that would in some way shape or form ease our journies through the land of falling numbers. One of the most talked about "swaps" for bread was a brand called Silver Hills that specializes in mostly organic, sprouted grain breads and bagels. The problem was, I could never find this brand out at the store... and no doubt the fact that they're sourced out of British Columbia was a main reason for that. So I sat on the sidelines and read the reviews and discussions of those lucky enough to try the 9 different loaves on offer.

Years later, with weight loss far behind me (but harbouring a newfound love for "healthy" food), imagine my surprise to stumble across an array of Silver Hills bread while out shopping with a friend of mine, K. We were, oddly enough, at a 7th Day Adventist bookstore and food shop at the time. My neighbourhood is actually home to the headquarters of the Ontario Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church - our local greenhouse is run by their residential college, which is also home to the aforementioned bookstore. The only reason I've ever shopped there, not being in any way religious, is because the traditional diet ascribed to by their culture is very "me-friendly": generally healthy, low-fat and vegetarian choices. The shop, in addition to supplying the standard vegetarian staples like vegetarian broths, TVP, nutritional yeast and vital wheat gluten, also offers a host of other foods that are generally only available south of the border - brands like Morningstar Farms, Worthington, Loma Linda, Sheese, and even some entrees from Kashi are on their shelves and in their freezer. While I don't make a dedicated effort to shop there regularly, it is nice for a change!

The main problem with the "brand name" offerings like the Silver Hills bread and the other specialty foods is that they are rather pricey. I often can't justify spending as much as they'd like for each item, especially with the breads (as I do try to limit my wheat and gluten consumption). I will often get ideas for different bread concoctions as I'm out shopping or browsing bakery websites, and I delight in overcoming the challenge of recreating the commercially available recipes at home. So when we saw the latest specialty loaf from Silver Hills - a wheat-free bread made with chia seed - and K expressed interest in trying it, I offered to try creating a version of it for her at home instead. Considering I had a rather large bag of the seeds in my pantry that I had yet to use, as well as an arsenal of other assorted grains and seeds, I knew I had everything I needed to put together one heck of a good bread. In fact, when I got around to making this extraordinarily healthy recipe (an adaptation of one from my mom's 35-cent bread book), it turned out that I had everything I needed to put together two loaves of dense, grainy, hearty bread. While one got double-wrapped and stashed in the freezer to await the next time I see K, my mom lay claim immediately to the other, slicing off a chunk of it for a taste while still warm! This is definitely the kind of bread you'd want for breakfast if you tend to get hungry mid-morning - the fibre and protein content from all the different grains and seeds is key to satiety! It's also the kind of loaf that if you happened to have a piece or two that were just over the line between "toastable" and "stale" would make a wonderful addition to stuffing or a panzanella salad.

I should add that this loaf is not entirely wheat free - I did opt to use a local 12-grain flour blend that did incorporate whole Red Fife wheat - but I think the sacrifice was worth it.

K's Crazy Seed Bread
Makes 2 loaves, 32 slices
2/3 cup chia seed
1/4 cup red quinoa
1/4 cup white quinoa
1/3 cup toasted sesame seeds
1/3 cup amaranth
1/4 cup poppy seeds
1/4 cup coarse cornmeal
2 cups 12-grain flour
1 cup Kamut flour
1 cup dark rye flour
1/2 cup soy flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
2 tbsp ground flaxseed meal
1 tbsp vital wheat gluten
2 tbsp instant yeast
1 1/4 cups warm water
1 (12-oz) can evaporated milk
3 tbsp maple syrup
2 1/2 tbsp canola oil
2 tsp salt  
  1. In a bowl, combine chia seed, quinoas, sesame seeds, amaranth, poppy seeds and cornmeal. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl (preferably a stand mixer), stir together all the flours, the flaxseed meal, the gluten and the yeast.
  3. Add water, evaporated milk and maple syrup and mix 5 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes.
  4. Add oil and salt and mix to incorporate, then add the seed mixture and mix / knead for 15 minutes longer.
  5. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes, until puffy.
  6. With wet hands (dough is sticky) deflate dough and divide between two greased loaf pans.
  7. Cover and allow to rise 45 minutes to 1 hour, until almost doubled.
  8. Preheat oven to 375F.
  9. Bake loaves 40 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking time.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 147.1
Total Fat: 5.5 g
Cholesterol: 3.3 mg
Sodium: 14.1 mg
Total Carbs: 21.5 g
Dietary Fiber: 5.5 g
Protein: 6.1 g

These loaves are going over to YeastSpotting this week at Susan's blog Wild Yeast.


  1. Oh my, that bread is beautiful. I must make this!

  2. We always get things from the Adventists, when we get back to the States. Mostly, though, it's the Bakon Yeast product. :)

  3. mmmmmmm...this bread sounds like heaven ^_^


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