Bake this bread. Seriously, stop what you’re doing, go buy some nuts and oats and seeds, and get started, because it won’t be ready for at least another five and a half hours, which is already way too long to wait. This stuff is delicious. I ate at least five pieces of it, and the part I brought over to my backpacker friends (you know me, I have to give my baking away to someone) received rave reviews. It’s great plain, it’s great with butter, it’s great with olive oil, I can only imagine how good it would be with some honey or peanut butter or the right kind of cheese (I’m thinking a really sharp, nutty cheddar). It’s got a bit of a daunting ingredients list, but it is one of the easiest breads I have ever made. I promise.
And it’s naturally gluten-free (although if you are baking this for someone with Celiac Disease, make sure your oats aren’t contaminated. I know a lot of major brands aren’t actually Celiac-friendly). Which is great, because I have a horrible confession to make, you guys: I’ve been cutting down on gluten. When I first got to Australia, I was all set to live off my favorite cheap diet of peanut butter sandwiches, but it turns out my stomach can’t handle quite that much wheat, and so I have become one of those obnoxious people with a fake gluten intolerance. I know, I’m not happy about it either. I will by no means be giving up flour on this blog, so don’t you worry. I’ve just been exploring some naturally gluten-free recipes as well. And this one, well, I think I may have mentioned that this one is delicious.
Some of these ingredients are a bit obscure, but if you have any sort of decent health food store near you, you should be sweet. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to find psyllium seed husks (which I had never heard of in my life, but which apparently is a very important binding agent), but I’ve seen them in three different stores in this tiny town. Easy. I would also like to mention that I used the cheapest olive oil I could find (okay, second cheapest, but still) and my bread was still amazing. Not to say fancy olive oil wouldn’t be good, but you certainly don’t need it.
Josey Baker’s Adventure Bread
(From, obviously, Josey Baker, via David Lebovitz)
2 1/4 cups (235g) rolled oats
1 cup (160g) sunflower seeds (hulled)
1/2 cup (65g) pumpkin seeds (hulled)
3/4 cup (90g) almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
3/4 cup (120g) flax seeds (in Australia, this is apparently called linseed)
1/3 cup (25g) psyllium seed husks
3 tablespoons (25g) chia seeds
2 teaspoons (12g) fine sea salt
2 tablespoons (40g) maple syrup (I used honey, but if you want it to be vegan, go maple syrup)
1/4 cup (55g) olive oil
2 1/2 cups (600g) water
1. Oil an 8×4-inch loaf pan (I didn’t measure mine, but I know it was slightly larger than that because my bread came out a bit shorter and wider than the bread in David Lebovitz’s pictures). Set aside and preheat your oven to 175 Celsius (350 Fahrenheit). Toast the sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds on a baking sheet, stirring occasionally, for about fifteen minutes, until fragrant and slightly browned. Turn off the oven and set the seeds aside to cool.
2. Add the oats, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds, flax seeds, psyllium seed husks, chia seeds, and salt to a large mixing bowl. Stir together until well combined.
3. Stir in the maple syrup, olive oil, and water. Once everything is somewhat combined, get your hands in there and really mix it up. Spend a good five or ten minutes on this: in Josey Baker’s words, “take pride in your mush-job.” When everything is nice and integrated, transfer to the oiled loaf pan. Smooth the top with a wooden spoon, and refrigerate the dough for at least two hours. I left mine overnight.
4. Take your dough out of the fridge at least half an hour or an hour before you’re ready to bake it (it’s best if you let it come up to room temperature before you put it in the oven). Preheat your oven to 200 Celsius (400 Fahrenheit). Bake your bread in the middle of the oven for about an hour. (Mine took a bit longer, partially because I was impatient and didn’t let it warm up enough, and partially because my new oven is a bit wonky.)
5. Let cool in the pan for about ten minutes, then carefully remove from the loaf pan and let cool for about two more hours. Josey Baker insists that these two hours are very important, and he seems like a guy who knows what he’s doing. Slice very thinly and serve toasted or raw, with anything you want on top.