I LOVE toast.
Some people look forward to eating more sophisticated stuff, but my tastes run simple. I adore my daily chocolate. My rich creamy nutrient-studded smoothies. Berries and coconut yogurt and granola. Crunchy nut butters. Spicy stir-fries. Peanut-butter cup Aloha bars.
And most of all, toast. Toast with salted caramel cashew butter. Toast with avocado. Toast with Miyoko’s oatmilk butter. Toast with hummus. TOAST.
When I was diagnosed with an autoimmune thyroid condition (Graves’ disease) in 2019 and began a health journey punctuated by the mother lode of research (it’s what i do), determined to achieve remission (I did)—one of the first things I did was go gluten-free. I found it frankly easy as, well, pie. I was already close; a lot of foods I love are naturally gluten-free (I’m pretty big on whole, fresh foods). And there are SO many options available on the market if you want gluten-free packaged foods—cereals, crackers, pretzels, etc. (not that I ate a lot of these). I never felt challenged by it.
Except for one thing: I did love me my bread. And i quickly found that gluten-free store-bought breads sucked, in all kinds of ways. Either they weren’t organically produced ingredients (a must for me), or contained eggs (I don’t do eggs or dairy—even before Graves’, I didn’t), or tasted terrible, or cost a fortune (sometimes all of the above!) The only one I liked at all was Happy Camper brand (egg-free and organic—close) but at eight or nine bucks a loaf, I felt like I could do better.
Then a friend taught me to make my own, and I was hooked. I had the biggest blast experimenting, blending aspects of this and that recipe, different proportion of flours and binders, coming up with dozens of versions of my basic loaf. I love to bake, I love playing with recipes, I love inventing my own special version of something delicious.
And that’s just what I did. After a year or so, I found that this one became my go-to weekly recipe. I love the Saturday morning ritual of baking my bread for the week. I have it memorized now. But so many people have asked me for the recipe, I thought I’d get it on the blog.
A few notes. You don’t have to use these exact flours—either the varieties themselves or the brands. You can find non-sprouted versions of chickpea, lentil, cassava etc. flours that are still organic but less expensive. Pure Living sprouted flour is pricy for sure. (Though not more pricy than buying Happy Camper at $8-9 a loaf, I don’t think—and they’re not sprouted!)
Personally, I love doing everything i can to make grains and legumes easier on the gut, so I like sprouted whenever possible. I bake cakes and muffins with these flours too , and they work great!
I definitely think organic is important—unless you like your bread with a hefty side of glyphosate, I don’t recommend grain, legume, or tuber flours that are conventionally produced. (Check out this podcast with Rich Roll and Zach Bush if you want the intelligent, stunning deep dive into exactly how glyphosate works on us, and the loophole by which it got approved.)
If you don’t go with the Pure Living sprouted flours (I get those at Vitacost.com—watch for sales, they often have a 20% off all food and that’s when I stock up), I like Arrowhead Mills next best. Anthony’s, Namaste, and Carrington Farms are also good. The Whole Foods 365 Organic brand works fine, as do Safeway’s O Organics and Simple Truth Organic. Bob’s Red Mill is NOT always organic, but some varieties are. Your local co-op probably has most of these flours in bulk, with the exception of tigernut (which is not critical and you can sub in almost any other flour, but adds a subtle natural sweeteness I like).
Your flour proportions can change too—if you don’t have them all, just use more of the ones you do have. Just make sure the total number of cups adds up, and don’t use too much of the denser ones. Also, flours that can sub entirely for one or more of these include oat, millet, and quinoa. I used to do loaves with various ratios of those, too, and they were very good! With those flours, you’ll still be gluten-free, just not grain-free. I encourage experimenting!
If you do more of the cassava and tapioca (or oat or millet) and less of the chickpea and lentil, you’ll have a lighter, whiter loaf—but less protein, too.
You can add cinnamon, raisins, nuts, seeds, salts, and other spices. I once accidentally threw in turmeric instead of the mesquite, lol—same brand/bag style—that one was interesting. A lovely yellow! I love to top my loaves with a smattering of very coarse Celtic grey salt. Golden flax seeds are another topping I often do.
One last thing. This bread may very well not be to everyone’s liking. It ain’t fluffy. It’s dense. I like that. You may not. If you’re looking for white doughy sourdough, or crusty French bread with pillow-soft inside, look elsewhere.
But if you’re gluten-free and like (or at least tolerate) a chewy, dense piece of bread… and tasty, crispy, crunchy toast you can use as a nutritious vehicle for your favorite butters, nut butters, spreads and dips…then this might very well do the trick.
Let me know if you enjoy it! And happy to answer questions.
Oh, and after a year or so of baking this loaf, a really good bread knife changed my life.
I get about 23-25 very thin slices out of this bread (if you slice thicker, you’ll obvi get less—I like ’em thin), and with that many slices it comes to a mere 58-65 calories per slice. About 2g protein, 1 g sugar and 1 g fat per.
.25 cup Pure Living sprouted lentil flour
.5 cup Pure Living sprouted buckwheat flour
.25 cup (30 g) Gemini Tigernut Flour (Anthony’s also okay)
1 cup Pure Living sprouted garbanzo bean flour
.75 cup Carrington Farms or Anthony’s organic cassava flour
2 T Arrowhead Mills organic tapioca flour
1 T arrowroot starch, organic
1 T ground flaxseed
1 T psyllium husk powder (NOT psyllium seed)
1 T xanthan gum (optional)
1 T mesquite powder (I like Terrasoul or Zint)
1.25 tsp pink Himalayan salt (or any salt—I prefer this)
420 g water
1/2 T lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
1 packet active baker’s yeast
It’s so easy.
Whisk all the dry ingredients in one bowl.
In a second bowl, heat the water for 1 minute in microwave (till warm to the touch, not burning). Add sugar, salt, lemon/vinegar and yeast. Let yeast becomes foamy.
Mix wet into dry and mix thoroughly (no gluten means no worry about it getting gummy). If it’s too crumbly, add a bit of water. If it’s too wet (it should be dough, not batter), add a little flour one tbsp at a time. You should be able to form a ball with your hands, without it sticking. This took a bit of experimenting for me, but with the measurements as they are above, I get a nice dough now every time without needing to add anything.
Oil hands lightly (optional) and form dough into a general oblong shape. Grease a loaf pan (I like ceramic, and use this one) lightly with olive oil or your oil of choice (if you’re fanatical about oil-free, you can use parchment, but I like a smidge of oil in the bottom of the pan—there’s none IN the loaf). Press the dough into the pan, flattening the top evenly. Top with salt, seeds, nuts etc if desired.
Cover the loaf with a dishtowel soaked with warm water and wrung out, and allow to rise about 1.5 hours in warm place (I do a 170˚ oven unless house is hot). Bake for an additional 1.5 ish hours at 375˚ (ovens vary—I watch for golden brown top; tap the top and it should sound hollow when done). Allow to cool before slicing (if you can stand to wait!).
Slice and slather with spread of choice. Allow to cool completely before putting in plastic bag. I usually freeze half the loaf.
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