Hello everyone, and Happy New Year! Here is the recipe for my new favorite bread (you may notice that I have commitment issues with bread…). In Zürich, finding healthy and tasty bread can be daunting, when it’s not outright unaffordable. Special breads, such as buckwheat, quinoa or chestnut breads, simply don’t exist. Or I have yet to find them. After I moved to Switzerland, I simply started to make my own bread.
I still love the « magic bread« , it is so healthy and so easy to make. My boyfriend got tired of it, though. He was nostalgic of « real » bread, with a yeasty smell and a, well, crusty crust. I happened to become the proud and somewhat bemused owner of 3 kilograms of chestnut flour. To make a long story short, I had to start baking with it. That’s how I tried my hand at chestnut bread. This one is excellent.
Chestnut flour is gluten-free. A bread that contains only chestnut flour is unlikely to rise. Indeed, when kneading bread dough, gluten (a protein) forms a tight mesh. This mesh traps the carbon dioxide bubbles released by the fermentation process, or by the yeast’s action. This bread has one-third chestnut flour and two-thirds whole wheat flour. I tried adding a fraction of buckwheat flour. However, buckwheat’s strong taste overtook the chestnut flavour, and the bread was quite crumbly. You can also use spelt flour, it’s delicious as well.
To help the dough rise, and because whole flour has less gluten than white flour, I add a little psyllium husk. It is the key ingredient of my gluten-free bread. Psyllium husks form a gel that plays the role of gluten. I add very little of it, but I found the bread softer and more airy, and also less crumbly. It gives a nice elasticity to the dough when kneading it. I really saw a big difference between breads with and without psyllium!
This bread is very easy to make: mixing and kneading the dough takes a dozen minutes. Mother Nature takes care of the rest. I hope you try it!
Chestnut flour bread
- 20 g fresh baker’s yeast
- 5 cl plant milk (or water), tepid
- 2 tbsp psylium husks + 4 tbsp water
- 350 g whole wheat flour
- 150 g chestnut flour (unroasted)
- 1 tsp unrefined sea salt
- 250 ml water, room temperature
Combine yeast and 5 cl plant milk. Let dissolve.
Combine the psyllium and 4 tbsp water. Let it swell into a gel.
Pour the flours in a bowl, add the salt, water, yeast and psyllium gel.
Combine well, then knead gently by pressing, pulling and pressing the dough. It must become smooth and elastic.
Shape in a ball, put it in a bowl and place a wet clothes on it. Put it aside in a warm place for 1 hour. I preheat my oven to 40°C and keep it there.
When the dough has rised, press it gently to take all air out. Fold once or twice. Then shape into whatever shape you want (I like a disc) and put them on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
Let it rise again for 90 minutes in the same warm place.
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Slice the breads lengthwise or in a cross with a knife. Bake small loaves for 30-35 minutes, and large loaves for 40-45 minutes.
Let it cool down before slicing.