Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Adventure Bread goes Grain Free

If you've tried Josey Baker's gluten-free Adventure Bread, you'll know that it's brilliant with the first bite. Packed full of nuts and seeds, it has delicious flavor and texture, a rich dark color and it slices beautifully for sandwiches.  Although it is extremely tasty with savory flavors as in sandwiches, the nutty sweetness is just right for sweet snacking with jams and nut-butters, too.

The original Adventure Bread recipe is gluten-free and calls for rolled oats.  Really, it is sooooo tasty! But I wondered if it could be adapted to become entirely grain-free by taking out the oats and making some substitutions. Good news--the recipe works just as well with almond flour.

If, like me, you've made a lot of grain-free breads, you may have grown tired of their coconut flour taste and egg-y textures.  I know that I surely am.  After all, they're not really very bread-like, and they don't really taste like much.  The best thing you can say about them is that their slice-ability makes them a suitable platform to load on the good stuff.

But...lucky us!  Here's a grain-free recipe that is new, entirely different and that tastes more like an old world bread you might purchase in some charming European country town. It's not a light and airy "white bread", but it is definitely something you'll be happy to nosh on in its own right.  And loading it up with toppings or your favorite sandwich goodies only makes it that much better.

If you prefer the original Josey Baker Adventure Bread gluten-free recipe with oats, here's the link: adventure bread.   Or you can show up at his fabulous San Francisco bakery and buy a loaf for yourself! For the grain-free version, see below.

Before you start cooking, however, here's a note on psyllium seeds.  If you've never used them, you can find them at natural food stores and online.  Do not leave them out as they are the binding agent that replaces the gluten in traditional flour.  In fact, part of the brilliance of this recipe is the inclusion of a number of ingredients (psyllium, xantham, flaxmeal, chia) that create that "sticky" factor allowing this bread to hold together without the eggs required for other grain-free breads.

Grain-free Adventure Bread

Dry Ingredients:
2 cups almond flour
2 tablespoons coconut flour
1 cup sunflower seeds, hulled
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, hulled
3/4 cup sliced almonds
3/4 cup flax seed meal
1/3 cup psyllium seed husks
1/4 teaspoon xantham gum
3 tablespoons chia seeds
2 teaspoons fine sea salt

Wet Ingredients:
2 tablespoons maple syrup (be sure to use real maple syrup)
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
2 1/2 cups filtered water

Prepare the pan and oven--  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 9" x 4" loaf pan (I sprayed mine with coconut oil spray.)

Toast seeds and nuts-- Spread the sunflower, pumpkin seed and almonds on a baking sheet and toast until they start to brown, about 15 minutes, stirring halfway during baking. The seeds may take less time to toast, so keep an eye on them. (You can skip this stage is you purchase pre-roasted seeds and nuts.) Remove from oven and increase the heat to 400 degrees.

Mix together--In a mixing bowl, add together the dry ingredients and stir.  Make a well in the center and add the wet ingredients.  Stir together until everything is well combined.  Scoop mixture into the oiled pan and gently mash down to remove large air gaps.

Bake at 400 degrees on the middle rack for an hour or so.  Remove from the oven and, importantly, let the bread cool for 2 hours before cutting.

Josey recommends that to increase the flavor and texture, you serve this bread toasted and sliced thin (around 1/2"), but it's certainly plenty good served without toasting and anyway you want to slice it.


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