By Lynda Wallas

Homemade Bread & the New Jam

In my pursuit of an 80% healthy existence, I am always on the lookout for the latest ways to swap old, not so great choices with new, more nutritionally spot-on ones.
A big part of this is incorporating a wide variety of superfoods, using dairy and sugar replacements in my cooking and baking, and mixing it up with regards to quantity and timing of meals to boost my aging metabolism.

So, I’m not talking dieting here! Lifestyle changes aligned to what we now know to be good for our own longevity, and the quality of that longevity, is what I am talking about….
I don’t cut out my carbs – I think that’s impossible and potentially stupid. It’s way too hard to stick to any new regime, such as a lifestyle eating adjustment in mid-life, without the comfort and satisfaction of carbohydrates like bread. It’s a staple worldwide, and always has been…. as far back as biblical times. It shaped the world we live in today, since nomadic peoples settled into towns based on the need to grow wheat in fields and build ovens. It’s no come and go food fad; it’s importance and it’s evolution are a big part of the society timeline, not just the food timeline but the actual development of the Western world.
Due to tummy troubles and mid-life onset of food allergies, I do currently choose gluten free bread (stored in the fridge, it lasts quite well…. but is more palatable toasted than not). I’ve found a brand that I enjoy and that causes me no bloating issues. Recently, however, I craved something different, and something I could make fresh. So I tried a number of bread recipes, thoroughly enjoying the process of making my own…. the smell fresh from the oven, and having a loaf to slice whenever I felt inclined for the next week. Just for right now I am continuing to stay away from wheat and gluten, but that does not prevent a plethora of wonderful bread making choices!

Here’s a couple of ‘sweet’ versions that I’ve been making….. all ingredients in together, minimal fuss, no yeast, no resting time…..

Spelt Loaf Tin Bread
1 and ¾ cups Spelt flour
¼ cup chia seeds
1 cup water
¼ cup olive oil
1  ½ teaspoons gluten-free baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
fresh fruit (such as berries) or dried fruit (such as dates, prunes or sultanas)

Soak chia seeds in half the water for about 30 minutes.
Set oven to 160°C (or 140°C for fan forced).
Sieve Spelt flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Add chai seeds with water, remaining ½ cup of water, olive oil, cinnamon and salt to the flour and mix well.
Add your fruit (or seeds or nuts) and mix again.
Line a loaf tin with baking paper.
Pour the bread mixture into the loaf tin and smooth out the surface.
Bake for approximately 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes, or until cooked through….. and crunchy on the outside.
Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out on a wire rack.

This is a ‘solid’ style bread, doughy and heavy from the chia seeds (that will thicken anything when combined with water). I think the consistency/weight of it makes it very satisfying.
I sometimes add Chinese dried fruits, such as Jujubes and Longan fruits, to my bread for the additional health benefits (post coming soon!)

Coconut Bread
2/3 cup buckwheat flour
1/3 cup coconut flour
½ cup almond meal
¾ cup desiccated coconut
2/3 cup coconut sugar
2 teaspoons gluten-free baking powder
3 eggs
¾ cup almond (or almond and coconut) milk
120ml melted coconut oil (melt gently in the microwave)
1  ½ teaspoons grated lemon rind
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons coconut flakes

Line a loaf tin (9.5 x19.5 cm base) with baking paper.
Set oven to 180°C (or 160°C for fan forced).
Combine buckwheat flour, coconut flour, almond meal, desiccated coconut, coconut sugar and baking powder in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre.
Whisk eggs, milk, oil, rind and vanilla extract in a jug.
Add to well in dry ingredients and stir to combine.
Pour into the loaf tin.
Combine coconut flakes and 2 teaspoons of extra coconut sugar in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the top of the loaf.
Bake for 50-55 minutes or until cooked through (insert a skewer into the centre and it should come out ‘clean’).
Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out on a wire rack.

This delicious coconut-y bread has a wonderful texture and sweetness. If you like the combo of coconut, lemon and almonds then you are going to love this.

And, since sometimes the only thing you want with fresh, just out of the oven bread, is homemade jam….. here’s the new healthy jam sensation sweeping the health- conscious sector…. Chia seed jam.
As I said above, chai seeds will thicken anything when liquid is added to them. Not just thicken but hold together. But far outweighing their stick-ability is their incredible nutritional benefits. Full of antioxidants, fibre, high quality protein, and Omega 3 fats (the good fats), chia seeds are probably the smallest and most super food of the superfoods. Containing calcium, magnesium, manganese and phosphorus, they are also extremely low in calories. They lower the risk of heart disease and diabetes, contain nutrients for good bone health, and can assist with weight loss. Basically a little mid-life miracle worker!
They are also so versatile… I’m always banging on about this, but seriously, if you haven’t been making chia puddings yet then you need to get with the program!
Check out my post here:

Chia Jam
300g thawed frozen berries (raspberries, or blackberries are great choices)
1  ½ tablespoons honey (or maple syrup)
3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
5 teaspoons chia seeds (white are best)

Place berries, honey and lemon in a small saucepan.
Bring to a simmer, and simmer for 5 minutes.
Add chia seeds.
Simmer for 1 minute more or until thickened slightly (jam consistency).
Remove from the heat. Transfer to a bowl or jar, allow to cool.
Store in the fridge once cooled.

Now you are not missing out on one of life’s simple pleasures!
But you are doing it sensibly…. and giving yourself so many health benefits that will bring the right results for a life well lived in mid-life and beyond 🙂

Lynda Wallas
Lynda Wallas
About me

I’ve always been interested in health and fitness…. which turned out to be a good thing when fertility treatment in my 30s took a toll on my health, leading to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and early onset menopause. More about Lynda...

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