Baking your own bread can be very rewarding.
There is something very therapeutic about kneading dough.
When following different lifestyles like a low-carb or gluten-free plan, it’s good to know you don’t have to miss out on your bread fix.
We tested numerous loaves at our test kitchen using a variety of grains and flours, tending to avoid refined white flour.
Then we chose five of the best – two gluten-free ones, a low-carb loaf, a yeast-free health bread and a rye bread.
GLUTEN-FREE SEED LOAF
Makes 1 large loaf
80ml linseeds (flax seeds)
475ml warm water
10g sachet of instant yeast
100ml plain yoghurt
5ml castor sugar
125ml psyllium husks
45ml olive oil
beaten egg for glazing
Heat oven to 180°C and bake the linseeds on a tray for 10-12 minutes, or until they darken slightly.
In a bowl, mix the water and yeast and stir in the yoghurt and seeds.
In a large mixing bowl, toss together the cornflour, salt, sugar and psyllium husks.
Pour in the yeast mixture and olive oil and mix well to make a smooth thin batter. Allow to stand for 5-10 minutes to become a sticky dough.
Once mixture is firm enough, knead it on the work surface for a few minutes. Place in a bowl, cover and allow to rise for 30 minutes.
Line a tray with non-stick baking paper. Shape the dough into a fat sausage, place on the tray, brush with egg, cover and allow to rise for 30 minutes.
Slash the top of the loaf with a sharp knife and bake at 200°C for 40-50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the loaf comes out clean.
Makes 1 loaf
500ml rye flour
500ml stone-ground cake flour
15ml brown sugar
45ml soya lecithin granules
10g sachet of instant dry yeast
20ml molasses, treacle or honey
300 to 400ml lukewarm water
extra rye flour for sprinkling
Combine the flours and salt. Rub in the butter with your fingertips. Add sugar, lecithin granules and yeast, and mix well.
Dissolve molasses in water and add enough to the dry ingredients to make a soft but not sticky dough.
Knead for 5-10 minutes.
Place dough in an oiled plastic bag and let it rise for 1 hour. Knead again and shape it into around.
Place on a greased baking tray. Cover with an oiled bag and allow to rise for 15-20 minutes. Dust with a little extra rye flour.
Bake at 200°C for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 180°C for 15-20 minutes, until loaf sounds hollow when tapped.
* Soya lecithin is a granular natural substance which is added to improve the bread. Available from Dis-Chem and health food stores. It can be omitted from the recipe.
Makes 1 small or 3 mini loaves
75g linseeds (flax seeds)
200g almond flour
80ml sunflower seeds
30ml sesame seeds
45ml psyllium husks
10ml baking powder
125ml thick yoghurt
60ml coconut oil
Toast the linseeds on a tray in the oven at 180°C for 10 minutes. Remove and cool.
Combine almond flour, linseeds, sunflower and sesame seeds in a bowl. Add the psyllium husks, baking powder, salt and xylitol.
Combine the yoghurt, cream and eggs and add to the dry ingredients and mix well.
Allow mixture to stand and thicken for 5 minutes.
Spoon into a small 10 x 20cm loaf pan which has been lined and greased.
Bake at 180°C for 40-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the loaf comes out clean.
Cool in the tin for 5 minutes before turning on to a cooling rack.
* Almond flour and ground almonds are the same thing.
GLUTEN-FREE WHITE LOAF
60ml soya flour
80ml potato starch
80ml psyllium husks
160ml gluten substitute
25ml castor sugar
25ml olive oil
10ml apple cider vinegar
45ml plain yoghurt
500ml warm water
sesame seeds for sprinkling
Combine the soya flour, potato starch, cornflour, psyllium husks, gluten substitute, yeast, salt and sugar in the bowl of a mixer.
Combine the olive oil, vinegar and yoghurt and mix well. Add to the dry ingredients with enough water – using the K beater to mix – to form a dough that is slightly sticky.
Cover the bowl with cling-wrap and set aside for an hour until well risen.
Mix the dough gently again and place it into a 15x25cm loaf pan which has been lined and greased.
Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Cover with cling-wrap and leave to rise in a warm place for 30-40 minutes.
Bake at 180°C for 30-40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the loaf comes out clean.
Remove from the tin and cool on a rack.
* Orgran gluten substitute is a product which you add to gluten-free flours when baking. It gives the dough structure and elasticity. It is available from Dis-Chem or health stores. If it is not available, add 10ml xanthan gum to the flours.
QUICK HEALTH BREAD
Makes 1 large loaf or 4 small loaves
250ml spelt flour
250ml stoneground cake flour
500ml nutty wheat flour
250ml digestive bran
100g pecan nuts, chopped
50ml of each sesame, poppy, sunflower and flax seeds
250ml dried cranberries
20ml bicarbonate of soda
250ml plain yoghurt
Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Make a well in the centre and stir in the buttermilk, yoghurt and honey. Mix well.
Spoon the mixture intoa 30x12cm loaf pan or two smaller loaf pans base-lined and sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C for 50-60 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the loaf.
If the loaf begins to brown too quickly, cover with foil and lower the oven temperature to 160°C until cooked through. Remove from the pan and cool on a rack.