By Nancy Collisson
The top suggestion of what to cut out from a diet to lose weight leads invariably to shouts of “CARBS!”
And by this folks mean bread, pasta, rice, potatoes or squash – all the so-called yummy comfort foods that people all over the world seek to satisfy niggling cravings.
But among these, bread is perhaps the most sought after. After all, it’s conveniently packaged, quick to consume, easy on the pocketbook, and with just a bit of butter – quite delectable!
Unfortunately, commercially processed breads are loaded with a LOT of air, chemical preservatives, and production additives that make it pretty unhealthy. But, it’s all done so it can remain a staple of the modern era – something flawlessly ‘consistent’ that all brand manufacturers believe consumers want: every slice in ever bag must be identical forever, and ever, and ever.
By making our own bread and adding any of a range of nutrient-dense spices, nuts, seeds, berries or popular superfood grains like chia, maca, wheat grass powder or ginseng, we can create a healthy item that serves to reduce our weight and boost our energy for a win-win; just by making it we burn calories, and the energy it gives us helps us keep moving and burning fat.
The bread-baking process is that of the rigorous act of kneading dough. This is done twice, at periods of about ten minutes each time, burning up to 260 calories total. Kneading dough increases muscle mass for lean, sleek arms.
(See Basic Bread Recipe, below!)
But to achieve this lovely result, we’re not sticking with the five basic ingredients of bread-making, namely flour, water, yeast, sugar or honey (to activate and feed the yeast so it creates gas and rises), oil, and salt.
To that combination, as our own bread-makers, we’re free to add nearly anything that pops into our heads that we know is nutritious, filling, and that will give us the comforting YUM factor we not only seek – we NEED!
These can include spices (they’re NOT just for flavoring, anymore), extracts, nuts and seeds, berries and dried fruits.
Few yet realize that spices not only provide flavor, they also give us tremendous health benefits, energy, and even serve as cancer preventatives.
If you’re going for breakfast-time sweetness, you can consider adding cinnamon, vanilla or almond extract, ginger or anise seed powder. As a dinner-time savory you might toss in turmeric, cumin, pepper or even a dash of chili powder.
Along with a few glugs of rich, healthy oil – coconut or avocado, especially – added to your dough to make it pliable, a splash of oil or extract from plants, rinds or seeds can be added to lend flavor and aroma.
Such extracts might include vanilla or almond for morning breads, and hemp seed or black seed oil to add pungent flavors and curative properties for a bread that nicely rounds out your healthy evening meal of simple soup or salad!
Baking your own bread not only helps you boost your health, it provides you with a great opportunity to pursue creative freedom!
You are the master of your design! Add whatever you like! As long as it’s not too wet or heavy, it’s likely you’ll end up with something great that you can even show off to friends as the pièce de résistance of your culinary range.
Go ahead and toss in a handful of chopped cranberries or raisins – or both! Got some left-over broccoli or corn? Mix it in! You’ll be adding color, flavor, texture, vitamins, and minerals that enhance health and heartiness!
Nothing satisfies better than a good crunch, and that is easily supplied by nuts and seeds, which will also provide your greatest benefit – dense, filling, nutrients that cause you to be satisfied with – guess what … ONE slice of bread (or one roll, depending on how you decide to … well, roll).
Grab a handful of whatever you’ve got handy or make a point of selecting from an array of the most nutritious nuts and seeds, like these, the next time you’re at the supermarket:
Bready, set, go!
Win the weight race starting with fun and ending with yum, right here:
Basic Bread Recipe (Memorize it and add whatever you like, henceforth!)
Mix the following and let stand five minutes until one inch of foam forms on top. If foam fails to form, toss liquid and start over, considering that your water might have been too hot or too cold, or your yeast old.
Two cups warm water – hot enough to stand to touch.
Two tablespoons yeast
Two tablespoons honey
Two tablespoons unbleached flour (to add to the water mixture for proofing)
Five or more cups of flour
Anything else you want to add.
Pour foaming liquid into large bowl containing about six cups of unbleached flour that has been mixed with one tablespoon Himalayan salt. Pour 1/3 cup oil atop this and mix with wooden spoon. You may add an egg or two for protein and a splash of apple cider vinegar for additional rising.
Add a total of from five-to-seven sensible amounts of additional ingredients from your pantry or from the lists above.
Onto the counter-top, spread one cup of flour and dump roughly mixed dough atop that and start kneading for ten minutes, adding up to another cup of flour as you do. Continue kneading until dough forms a smooth ball with no cracks.
Spread a drop of oil on both hands and rub around this ball.
Set ball in same bowl and cover with damp cloth. Place in warm area (outside on a warm day or in a gently heated but turned-off oven) to rise until double. This may take one hour.
Sprinkle more flour on kneading surface, flip dough out of bowl and punch it down until all air is expressed. Continue kneading for five-to-ten minutes. Form bread shape for two loaf pans or tear off pieces and roll them in your hands and set well spaced on pizza pan (two large pans) for rolls.
Let rise another half an hour, but indoors and uncovered lest the damp fabric stick to the items.
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 160 degrees Celsius or 325 Fahrenheit, for 20 minutes or until you smell the lovely freshly baked scent.
This recipe makes two standard loaves or up to 20 rolls.