If you haven’t been able to tell so far, I’m a pastries/desserts person (ie. I prefer sweet to savory). However I can never eat my beloved baked goods without feeling guilty and unhealthy afterwards because of the high sugar, butter, and yes, calories. I have thus been setting on a mission to find healthy, guilt-free versions of my favorite foods, and am recording my discoveries here, for my future reference, and to share them with my fellow sweet-toothed pastry lovers out there – you are not alone! 😀
I was once asked what my favorite food was as part of an icebreakers game. Giving it some serious thought, I concluded that my answer was bread, much to the amusement of my group members. In my society, it is less common to find those who prefer sweet rather than savory, and pastry/dessert shops are less common than savory food stalls, as compared to European societies, as I would imagine.
Anyway, a few years back, I realized that my weight gain was not because of fried and oily food (which is the common cause for most people around me), but because of all the pastries I was consuming, due to their high empty calorie count (because of the processed flours and sugars). I decided that I shouldn’t restrict myself from eating the foods I love and make me happy, but find healthier but similar options.
So here I am with my first experiment with healthy bread! I ensured that the recipe contains no sugar, butter, or processed, white flour. Instead, it uses homemade applesauce (sugar-free), DIY oat flour and fine wholegrain brown wheat flour.
Healthy Oat and Wholegrain Brown flour Bread
- 1 cup oat flour (I made mine my finely blending wholegrain rolled oats.)
- 3 cups wholegrain brown wheat flour
- 2 cups sugar-free applesauce (You can see the recipe here)
- 2 tsp vanilla essence
- 2 eggs
- 3 tbsp milk
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt (I used Himalayan pink salt)
- 1/3 cup (40 g or 1.5 oz) chopped walnuts
- Optional: cinnamon, added to taste (I didn’t use cinnamon partly because I had none left, and also because no one else in my family likes it other than me – how sad 😦 )
- Optional: sprinkle some rolled oats on top of the dough before popping it into the oven!
- Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit).
- Mix together dry ingredients in a large bowl (oat flour, wholegrain brown wheat flour, baking powder, salt, walnuts and the optional cinnamon).
- Mix together the wet ingredients (eggs, vanilla essence, milk, applesauce). Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well to form a dough.
- Place dough in a loaf pan (I used a normal baking tray because I didn’t have a loaf pan. Note: if the dough does not fit into a single loaf pan, you can separate it into two batches.)
- Sprinkle on the optional rolled oats onto the dough and pop it into the oven. Let it bake for approximately 45 minutes, depending on your baking tray size, or until the top turns brownish and crisp. You should use a toothpick to test whether the dough is still wet before removing it from the oven.
I found this recipe rather simple and quick, because no kneading or time for the bread to rise was required. In fact, I mixed the dough in a food processor which sped everything up even more. The bread is very fragrant and pretty dense because of the oat flour. In future experiments, I would probably try adding yeast and allowing the dough to rise to give it the more familiar, fluffy texture of common sliced bread.
I am pretty amazed with the effective use of applesauce to replace butter, and am extremely satisfied with this 100% wholegrain bread, which is difficult to get in the supermarkets, especially after I read this article. Turns out, even 100% wholegrain bread in stores are not always wholegrain! (Read the article, it explains why you should be careful when buying wholegrain bread.) I have come to the conclusion that I can only trust the bread that I bake to be truly healthful, because I know what I am putting in and what I am not.
I hope you enjoyed this recipe and the super healthy bread as much as I did. Please do let me know what you thought of it, and how you tweaked the recipe to make it uniquely yours! Happy baking!