5 Ingredients to Make Your Homemade Bread Healthier
Nourishing and comforting, there’s nothing better than a hot loaf of freshly baked bread. But conventional bread isn’t the healthiest item on the menu. Thankfully, there are ways to make your favorite recipe healthier and without compromising on taste.
These five ingredients will add nutrients and flavor to your homemade bread.
1. Flax Seed Meal
Flax seeds have been cultivated since 3000 BC, and they make a great healthy addition to any bread. Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, these seeds are a nutritional powerhouse and offer a number of health benefits. These fats are essential to heart health.
These tiny seeds also contain lignans, which contain both antioxidant and estrogen qualities. In fact, flax seeds have nearly 800 times more lignans than other foods.
Along with essential fatty acids and lignans, these seeds also contain both insoluble and soluble fiber.
Flax seed meal – rather than the whole seed – is the best option for bread. The seeds must be ground for the body to absorb their nutrients. It’s easy to add the meal to your bread dough in place of some conventional flour.
Flax also makes a great egg replacement, so you can use the ground seeds in place of eggs in your basic bread recipe.
2. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are a superfood and can easily be added to your favorite bread recipe. Similar to flax seeds, chia contains high levels of fiber, vitamins, minerals, protein and omega-3 fatty acids.
Just one serving of these seeds contains 11g of fiber and 4.4g of protein. Chia also has linoleic acid, alpha-linolenic acid, strontium, mucin, magnesium, thiamine, niacin and antioxidants.
Chia has the fantastic ability to thicken and gel, which is part of the reason it’s so great for your digestive health.
These seeds can be added to the bread dough, the crust or both.
3. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is known for its health benefits, and it’s the medium-chain fatty acids, or MCFAs, that give this oil its health-promoting properties.
The three unique fats found in coconut oil include: lauric acid, caprylic acid and capric acid.
About 62% of the oils in coconut contain these three healthy fatty acids, and 91% of the fat is saturated.
MCFAs contain antimicrobial properties, are easier to digest and provide immediate energy because they are processed by the liver right away.
Most bread recipes call for oil or butter. Rather than using vegetable or olive oil, use coconut oil instead. Coconut oil will not only add healthy fats and nutrients, it will also add a tremendous amount of flavor to your bread.
4. Psyllium Husk Powder
Psyllium husk powder is a common ingredient in gluten-free and low-carb breads. This powder is a form of fiber from the husks of Plantago ovata seeds.
While psyllium can be used as a laxative, this powder can also help strengthen your heart, maintain your weight and regulate your blood sugar levels.
Psyllium has long been used as a substitute for gluten and was included in the initial gluten-free flour mixes sold in stores.
While this powder makes a great addition to bread recipes, it’s important to be mindful of how much you’re adding to the dough. Too much psyllium husk can have a laxative effect.
The husk powder will help create the traditional bread texture and flavor you love.
5. Mix of Grains and Seeds
If your goal is to add essential nutrients to your bread, incorporating a mix of grains to the recipe is a great choice.
Oats, barley, quinoa, rice and other grains and seeds make great additions to any bread. These ingredients can be ground into flour, or added to the crust whole for flavor.
Just be mindful that adding grains into the recipe may require you to add extra flour or water to the dough.
Grains add a tremendous amount of nutrients to bread, including essential vitamins and minerals. They also contain high amounts of fiber and protein. Some grains and seeds also contain omega-3 fatty acids.
The great thing about multigrain bread is that it can be tossed right into a bread machine for baking. But before you start baking, take the time to soak the grains beforehand. Soaking grains will remove the phytic acid that blocks the absorption of some nutrients found in the plant.
Bread doesn’t have to be an unhealthy part of your diet. These ingredients will add both nutrients and flavor to your favorite bread recipe.
Do you have healthy ingredients that you add to your bread? Share in the comments!