November 5, 2017, 6:18 pm
Bread is the bane of all who embark on low-carb diets. Wheat is jam-packed full of carbohydrates, which are, frankly, delicious.
So I've been trying for awhile to formulate zero-carb bread, a seemingly impossible feat. But I have cracked it. And it involves two things, one of which you've probably never heard of: almond flour. The other is vital wheat gluten, the enemy of all who believe in fake gluten allergies.
The problem with making non-wheat bread is that yeast, the little fungi that make the holes in bread that makes it so fluffy and wonderful, need sugar to do their jobs, and sugar is pure carb. In addition, most flour-like things lack the "glue" of wheat, which traps the gas that makes the bubbles. So no sugar, no wheat: no bread. There are a lot of non-wheat bread recipes out there, but they all end up being brick-like, and thus horrible.
But my recipe makes actual bread, actually fluffy, actually delicious and a net of about 3 grams of carbs per slice, or 23 grams for the entire loaf (most wheat-based bread has that many carbs for just one slice). With my thinking cap on for a few weeks, I decided to avoid the dozens of recipes out there that call for a bunch of egg whites to simulate the fluffiness of real bread; they all taste "eggy." Instead, I wanted to make real bread. Just without any wheat-based flour. So I did a lot of reading, and the part of wheat-based dough that makes the yeast gas get trapped is the gluten. And gluten has way fewer carbs than wheat flour. So I figured if I added fiber into the bread to counteract the very few carbs in the wheat gluten, I could use gluten to make my bread.
For those who don't know, fiber helps neutralize carbohydrates; the closer you can get your fiber grams to your carbohydrate grams, the closer you are to net zero carbs in whatever you're making. So to add fiber, I decided on psyllium husk powder. If you want nice, solid, regular poo, eat a lot of it, because it's LOADED with fiber. The fiber in the psyllium husk powder more than counteracts the carbs in the wheat gluten, and helps the yeast counteract the carbs in the tablespoon of honey I use as fuel for the yeast. It's not necessary (the bread is still very low carb without it), but I thought every bit of fiber I can add can't be a bad thing.
Almond flour is made from nothing but ground-up almonds, which are very close to zero-carb, since they have almost exactly the same amount of fiber as carbohydrates.
So without further ado, here's my recipe for
VERY LOW CARB bread
(about 3 grams carbohydrates per slice, 23 for the entire recipe)
INGREDIENTS (or as my sons say, Magredients):
3 packages dry rapid-rise yeast (3/4 ounces total)
1 tbsp sugar (I use honey from my bees) (don't worry, the yeast eats the honey's carbs)
1 1/2 cups very warm water (I turn my tap all the way hot)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt (I use coarse Kosher salt)
1 cup vital wheat gluten (more for mixing, if desired)
1 1/2 cups almond flour (blanched)
1/4 cup psyllium husk powder (optional; replace with either almond flour, coconut flour or gluten)
Pour the honey, yeast and water into your mixing bowl and wait for the yeast to start bubbling (this proves it's alive and saves your other ingredients if you have to start over). While you wait, mix all the other ingredients in another bowl.
Stir in the dry ingredients, mixing until it becomes a dough like any other bread dough. Grease a big bowl and put the dough in the bottom of it. Cover it and place it in a warm, dry place for 35 to 45 minutes while the dough rises. It should get close to double its original size.
Grease an 8 x 4 bread pan and, after kneading the dough once (and ONLY once), place the dough in the pan, cover it and let it rise another 30 to 40 minutes. While it's doing that, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. You can go hotter for faster cooking time, but that's what I use.
Once the dough has risen again (it won't rise as much this time as it did the last time), put it in the oven for 35 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick stuck into the middle comes out clean. Remove it from heat and let cool on a cooling rack.
Slice and enjoy.
This recipe makes one loaf. As a bonus, it's completely vegan, so my wife can eat it too (I know, some vegans have a problem with honey, but give me a break). And it's light, fluffy and delicious. I cannot tell that it's not made with wheat flour, and I'm the guy who has big problems with suspension of disbelief. Try it. You'll thank me.