Photos by Allison Usavage
This recipe found its way into my kitchen as I was preparing for an Adventure Film Fest in our living room. Several of my friends and I had just returned from epic journeys, and we were all itching to share our experiences. Bobby and I wanted to put our new home cinema projector to use, and this was the perfect opportunity. The only condition was that everyone would bring their camping chair, a camping bowl and spork, and a trail-inspired food.
I wanted to share one of my favorite, easiest trail-friendly snacks: bread with butter and quick pickles. But that seemed too easy, so I began researching how to make a dense, European-style bread like you find in Nordic countries, often made with Rye. In the process, I stumbled upon My New Roots Life-Changing Loaf of Bread. With 183 comments praising its existence, it wasn’t hard to be coaxed into trying it! As usual, I had trouble sticking to the instructions, but it was everything I dreamed of, and more. Bottom line: This bread is good for you, is gluten-free, and tastes sensational! The texture is a bit moist, too much so for some people, so slice and toast it before smearing it with butter and topping it with quick pickles. Or make it sweet with a drizzle of honey!
Soaking nuts and seeds makes them optimal for digestion and makes it easier to absorb their nutritional benefits. I strongly urge toasting each slice before serving for a firmer, drier, nutty texture. Though this recipe is extraordinarily simple, it requires some patience; in time for letting the bread rest (at least 2 hours) and for letting the bread cool (at least 30 minutes).
- 3 cups rolled oats
- 2 cups raw sunflower seeds
- 1 cup flax seeds
- 1 cup almonds (sub with walnuts, pecans or hazelnuts)
- 8 tablespoons psyllium seed husks (use 6 tablespoons if using psyllium husk powder)
- 4 tablespoons chia seeds
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
- 3 1/2 cups water
- 6 tablespoons melted coconut oil, plus extra as needed
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
- Grease two bread pans with coconut oil.
- In a large bowl, combine all the rolled oats, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, almonds, psyllium seed husks, chia seeds, and salt.
- In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the maple syrup or honey, coconut oil, and water.
- Add the liquid ingredients to the dry and stir together with a spatula for about 7 minutes. At first the batter will seem watery; keep stirring until it thickens and fully absorbs the water. It should be hard to stir.
- Divide the dough into the bread pans and smooth the top with the back of a spoon or spatula. Cover with a tea towel and let rest for 2 hours minimum, at room temperature, or overnight.
- When ready to bake, use a knife to separate the dough form the sides of the pan. If the loaves pull away and retain their shape, you are ready to bake!
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the loaves from the oven and flip them upside down out of the pans and directly onto the oven rack or a baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes more, but begin checking at the 30 minute mark. The bread is done when it sounds hollow if tapped.
- Let the bread cool completely before slicing, at least 30 minutes, Don't let the warm, freshly-baked aroma seduce you into early cutting, or it will crumble in despair!
- Store the bread in an airtight container for up to five days, or slice the bread and freeze it for toasting another day.
For Currant-Rosemary variation: Add 2 tablespoons ground almonds or oats, 1/3 cup dried currants, and 1 tablespoon dried rosemary, crushed with fingers.
For Tropical variation: Add 1/4 cup shredded coconut, 1/3 cup dried, diced papaya, and 1/3 cup dried pineapple.