With avocado toast sitting pretty on countless restaurant menus, and images of the never-to-grow-old pairing monopolizing Instagram, I am left wanting crusty bread slathered with fat every single day. I want it several times a day, and it cannot be made with just any old bread put through the toaster.
Without being heated to a crispy crust, the bread itself needs density and grain. It needs to be rustic, a little bit salty, seedy, and have hearty edges. In the absence of grit, it will never stand up to a generous heap of avocado mash, copious amounts of almond or grass-fed butter, or my personal favorite––a heavy drizzle of olive oil with fresh mashed garlic, and flaked sea salt.
The difficulty with satisfying my craving has been that when I snatch up a hearty loaf from the store, and even those from local artisan bakers, one or more slices going down (usually more) leaves me feeling heavy and lethargic. Experiencing these unpleasant feelings associated with something I love so much, is just too painful a reality to bear.
As such, I decided to forego the angst, and take bread making into my own hands––a much easier endeavor when kneading is not involved. Regardless, I still managed to recently throw away two batches before landing on this addictive winner. The first loaf I hucked in the trash tasted like hay sprinkled with baking soda, and the second…well I am not sure how or why, but it tasted like fish. Writing this, I literally just laughed out loud. My bread tasted like fish. It is funny I admit, and completely true.
Bearing that in mind, prepare to be wowed.
The recipe below is for a loaf of bread with all the aforementioned characteristics, and I am finding excuses to eat it with everything. Smoothie accompaniment, check. Avocado toast, check. With a cup of tea, check. With evening soup, yep. With butter, oh yah.
Now, I figured if I was going to task myself with making bread, I might as well ensure it is as nutrient-dense as possible. The whole point is to have it not only taste good, but leave me feeling good too. For me, that means the resulting bread has to be rich in fiber, protein, fat, and complex carbohydrates.
In the past I have worked with gluten-free flours such as coconut, buckwheat, and teff, and they ended up making the bread a little ‘too’ dense…a bit too chewy for my liking. In an attempt to appeal to vegans, I have also historically used binders such as psyllium husk. Frankly, such ingredients leave an unpleasant taste behind that I am cursed to be able to detect, so this recipe contains eggs.
The flour I selected to serve as the bread’s baseline is other worldly. It is made from finely ground tiger nuts, which are actually not nuts at all, but rather small root vegetables. Though existing on our planet for lifetimes, they have been made popular by Paleo devotees. I do not subscribe to the Paleo lifestyle, but will admit I am forever grateful for them harvesting and making tigernuts and flour accessible.
The flour is beyond stellar to bake with. It has just enough texture to be considered hearty, it is subtly sweet, and is rich in fiber and protein. And, to make gluten-free/paleo baking substitutions a cinch, it can be used cup for cup in place of any whole grain flour. Enjoy!
Tiger Nut and Seed Paleo Bread
Makes: (1) 9 x 11 loaf (approx. 18 slices)
1 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup raw hazelnuts
1 1/4 cup tiger nut flour
1/2 cup almond meal (aka almond flour)
1/2 cup flax meal (ground flax seeds)
1/2 cup raw pumpkinseeds
1 tablespoon chia seed powder
2 tablespoons raw sesame seeds
2 teaspoons sea salt
3 whole pastured eggs
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
1 tablespoon coconut nectar, runny honey, or maple syrup
1/2 cup filtered water
Using a spice grinder or Vitamix, pulse the hazelnuts, and 3/4 cup of the sunflower seeds until finely ground. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
Add remaining 1/4 cup sunflower seeds, tiger nut flour, almond meal, flax meal, pumpkinseeds, chia seed powder, sesame seeds, and sea salt to bowl. Stir to combine.
Whisk eggs, and then fold into dry ingredients. Add coconut oil, liquid sweetener, and filtered water. Stir to incorporate, and mix thoroughly.
Let the dough stand for fifteen minutes at room temperature. Meanwhile, heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 x 11 bread pan with parchment paper. Once fifteen minutes has passed, spoon dough into pan, evening out the top with a spatula or frosting knife. Place in the oven on middle rack. Bake for forty minutes, or until a knife comes out clean after piercing the center of the loaf.
Let rest on a cooling rack for thirty-minutes to one hour before removing from pan and slicing into 3/8-inch slices. Enjoy often with your favorite spreads, jams, butters, beans and vegetable mash.