The idea of a soft, light, gluten-free bread loaf which doesn’t need toasting or heating to become palatable is not something one can usually buy, even in the shops, let alone make at home. That this would also be relatively high in protein and fibre and have a low glycaemic index compared to any grain-based loaf puts it into a league of its own. Additionally it’s quick and easy to make (no proving or kneading are involved) because this is the way I like things. Need I say more?!
As an aside…some people try a gluten-free diet and resolve certain problems whilst creating new ones. Many gluten free alternatives (both products and ingredients) are very refined which is terrible for blood sugar balance. Nut flours have far less glycaemic impact but introduce large amounts of omega 6s which can upset omega 3 : omega 6 ratios. Shop bought products generally contain additives to counter the properties of the missing gluten which can irritate the gut. None of these are ideal for long-term use. While many people can eat gluten without apparent difficulty, gluten is known to upregulate the production of the protein zonulin which breaks down the tight junctions between endothelial cells. The bottom line is that even if you are not intolerant to gluten it is worth being conscious of your intake of it because it is known to damage the gut. It’s this type of gut damage that may underlie autoimmune conditions.
I found and tweaked this recipe from an online source (Cook It Up Paleo) and it is amazing! Cassava flour does not have a strong flavour which enabled my non-gluten-free guests to tuck into this very happily during the Sunday tea at which it was served. The large number of eggs enhances its balance of macro-nutrients and makes it protein-rich compared to the average loaf. The ghee and eggs bump up the fat content which reduces the glycaemic value of the bread as a whole and provide fats which feed the brain (egg yolk) and the gut lining (ghee).The psyllium and cassava flour contribute resistant starch so this loaf will be more filling and tend towards easier weight management and gut health than loaves based on grains.
I can’t tell you about the keeping properties of the loaf as it hasn’t lasted long enough here yet to find out! My guess is that it will last longer if kept in a air tight wrapper or container and in the fridge but will lose some of it’s springiness and softness if you do. At room temperature keep in an airtight container and eat within a couple of days. I have every reason to believe it would freeze well.
For one loaf you will need:
- 1 eating apple
- 6 eggs
- 4 tbsp / 60g ghee (or no-flavour coconut oil)
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 75g cassava flour
- 15g psyllium husk
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 tsp cream of tartar
Pre-heat oven to 190 degrees C.
Line a 2 lb loaf tin with a shaped tin liner. You’ll definitely need this as the mixture is very liquid. In a pinch you could grease a non-stick tin instead but I’d prefer that your food didn’t come into contact with the chemicals in the non-stick surface as they are oestrogen mimics. The liner is quicker to use and more reliable for releasing the loaf anyway.
Peel, core and chop the apple and gently simmer with about 1 tbsp water in a small lidded pan until soft. This may take only 5 minutes depending on the size of your apple chunks. Puree this (a stick blender in the pan does the job) and set aside to cool.
Melt the ghee and add to the apple puree. If your apple has been freshly prepared you could add the cold ghee to the hot, pureed apple and let it melt while you continue with the recipe.
Add the cassava flour, psyllium, salt, bicarb and cream of tartar either to a bowl or some kind of food processor depending on whether you intend to do the mixing by hand or not. Use a sieve if you are mixing by hand or mix these dry ingredients on a moderately high setting in your food processor to get rid of the lumps.
Add the eggs to the pan with the apple and the ghee and give it a whisk or another whizz with the stick blender.
Add your pan contents to the dry ingredients and whisk or process, scraping down as necessary, until there are no lumps.
Pour the mixture into your lined tin and bake for 30-35 minutes until nicely browned and a skewer comes out clean.