Healthy eating: Susan Jane White says recharge your body's battery with this high-octane bread
Cut down on eating wheat, says Susan Jane White, and recharge your body's battery with this high-octane bread
We overdose on wheat, don't we? Cereals, sambos, pasta, biscuits and muffins are a daily feature in Irish tummies. As white flour is processed, and devoid of the good nutritional stuff, you may find it helpful to cut down on it and to start investigating other grains to boost your battery.
Wheat is one of the core culprits responsible for antagonising irritable bowel syndrome, according to Professor Jonathan Brostoff, author of The Complete Guide to Food Allergy and Intolerance. Typical symptoms include bloating, chronic constipation, fatigue and poor concentration. Sound familiar?
The definition of madness, warns Einstein, is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results. If your body isn't functioning as well as you'd like it to, take a look at what you're putting into it.
When your battery feels depleted, look for wholegrains such as rye, quinoa and brown rice. These are all rich in B-vitamins, the chaps that act as spark plugs for energy ignition. Rye has a nice smattering of magnesium and anti-aging vitamin E, which is increasingly prescribed as a clinical remedy for varicose veins in Australia. Pregnant mamas take note. Rye also boasts a higher concentration of cancer-protective lignans than any other cereal crop. It's also the grain of choice for bodybuilders, due to its specific amino-acid profile that fancies muscle mass. Don't worry, ladies -- you won't end up looking like the Terminator by nibbling Ryvita. You've got to lift an inordinate amount of weights for that.
This high-octane bread is firm rather than crumbly, and chewy rather than fluffy. Busy mamas will find it perfect for messy offspring who usually leave a trail of crumbs in their wake. Its texture also makes it an ideal travelling companion -- it won't turn into dental putty in school bags or pockets like most other breads do.
You will need:
75g pumpkin seeds
75g sunflower seeds
Approximately 300ml warm water
50g muscovado sugar
2 teaspoons fast-action organic yeast
25ml olive or macadamia oil
Good pinch of unrefined salt
250g rye flour
75g strong wholemeal flour
75g spelt flour (or another 75g wholemeal)
Start by lightly toasting the pumpkin, linseed and sunflower seeds in a baking tray for 12 minutes at 180 C. Don't use any oil.
Leave to cool. I recommend toasting more than necessary, as hot crunchy seeds are often looted in my house.
Once they have cooled, transfer the toasted seeds into a large mixing bowl with the warm water, the muscovado sugar and the fast-action organic yeast. Let these guys socialise for 10 minutes before adding the olive or macadamia oil, whichever you are using, the unrefined salt, the rye flour, the strong wholemeal flour, and the spelt flour, if you are using it. Mix into a firm dough, adding another splash of water if required. Leave for another 10 minutes.
Now briefly and lightly knead the dough. Leave it in the bowl, covered with a clean cloth for one hour. Transfer the dough to a large baking tin, which you have lined with non-stick parchment. It's a good idea to shape the dough before plopping it into the tin. You'll need to squish in the sides a little. Leave to rise for another hour. This will depend on the type of yeast you have used, so as soon as it looks about 25 per cent bigger, you're in business.
Bake for 45 minutes at 200 C, 390 F, Gas 6. Remove from the oven and from its tin, allowing to cool on a wire rack. It's best sliced thinly.
PS: Watch out Tipperary -- an organic bakery specialising in sourdough rye bread is opening near you very soon! I'm hideously envious. You've also got a local flourmill in Ballybrado, Cahir, which does outrageously good stoneground flours. They will transform your baking, see www.ballybrado.com