Bread. Love it or hate it, it comes in handy now and again for a quick lunch or supper. Whenever I do a workshop or one of my 6-week courses I always get asked where I stand on bread and can they keep eating it basically.
As always with nutrition the answer is not always as straight forward.
Not all bread is made equal. You have those supermarket, sliced-pan, zero fiber type breads all the way to the local bakery, artisan rye sourdough breads. The health benefits of sourdough bread have really been brought into the fore over the last few years. Being easy to digest and delivering some bacteria to the gut
And then with the recent pandemic quite a few of us braved even making it ourselves. And it is delicious, no doubt about that.
The only downside to sourdough bread is the time it takes to make it. If you are looking to have a substitute that is just as gut nourishing, though in a different way to sourdough, but is a lot quicker to make look no further than this twist on Porridge Bread.
What is Porridge bread?
I was introduced to Porridge Bread via some of my workshop clients over the years. Porridge oats are one of the healthiest grains we can have in our diet. They are full of fiber and also contain a compound called beta glucans. Beta glucans have a protective quality on the body, and have been reported to support better heart health.
Porridge bread is traditionally made by adding yogurt, or buttermilk and a raising agent. It’s something most of us have in our store cupboards too.
Gut Nourishing Bread
I’ve drawn inspiration for my version of porridge bread from mynewroots.org. By adding so many seeds and nuts as a component of the bread it adds extra fiber and healthy fats which have added benefits to our gut microbiome and our blood sugar, or energy levels.
With this recipe I’ve also added in some extra benefits for the gut in the form of kefir. Kefir is a fermented milk with mountains of gut friendly bacteria. It has a tangy taste which gives a different flavour to the bread. If you don’t make kefir (yet) it is available in most supermarkets, but you could also use buttermilk.
Fiber and our health
As I’ve mentioned the oats already had high levels of fiber so why do we want to add in more via the nuts and seeds? Well, there are two main reasons.
Firstly, fiber is the main source of food for the bacteria in our gut. Ideally we should be getting between 25 – 30g of fiber in each day. Your normal slice of bread only has ~1-2g per slice. By adding in the nuts and seeds, like chia and flaxseed, to this bread we can dramatically increase the amount of fiber in each slice of this bread.
Which brings me onto the second. As delicious as this bread is (and it is delicious), due to the amount of fiber in it I can’t eat very much before I’m full and satisfied.
Why is this? Well for our digestive system to break down the bread to release the energy for the body to use, it has to get past all that fiber surrounding the energy first. That takes time. This means that the energy is released slowly. So we get a longer-lasting, more satisfying release of energy.
Compare this to a freshly baked loaf of white bread. While delicious, this is a refined flour i.e. no fiber. For the body to access the energy within takes no time at all. What this means is that I get my energy quickly, but also feel low energy shortly afterwards as it’s not sustained. and before you know it you’ve just had 5 slices, you still feel like more (well I do anyway!) but you’re bloated from eating so much!
The other benefit of this bread is that you can swap the nuts and seeds to whatever is in your store cupboards at the time, or based around your own personal preferences.
As mentioned this is a high fiber bread, so always remember to drink more water when adding in more fiber. This will ensure that you get the most gut nourishing benefit from the fiber without any unwanted side effects such as constipation.
Gut Nourishing Bread
- 75 grams Sunflower Seeds
- 75 grams Pumpkin Seeds
- 60 grams Almonds
- 2 tbsp Chia seeds whole
- 80 grams Flaxseeds whole
- 140 grams Jumbo Rolled Oats
- 1 tsp Sea Salt (fine)
- 450 mls Kefir
- 1 egg
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 tbsp Honey optional
- Line a 1-pound loaf tin with two layers of baking parchment, going opposite directions.
- Add all the dry ingredients to the tin and stir so they are well mixed.
- In a measuring jug measure out the Kefir (or buttermilk) and add the egg, olive oil and honey (if using). Beat together and add this mixture to the dry ingredients in the tin.
- Gently stir until all the dry ingredients are mixed into the liquid. Flatten the top with the back of the fork. Leave for two hours in the fridge to allow the chia and flaxseeds to soak up the liquid. You can also leave it overnight in the fridge.
- Heat the oven to 170°C. Place the tin in the oven for 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes remove the loaf from the tin and place it directly on the oven shelf. Continue to bake for 40 minutes, or until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.
- Allow the bread to fully cool before cutting. Enjoy!