Jul 26, 2012

Fluffy Low Carb Yeast Bread Recipe (recipe for one or two loaves)

About 4 months ago I changed my diet to a low carb diet.  I am doing this for health reasons (see my post about how I lost 15lbs in 3 months by increasing my insulin and leptin sensitivity), but I do believe it is a good ideal for most (but maybe not necessary for all) people.  I still have been making bread for my husband's lunches even though I haven't had any in months.  I took last month off and bought some, since it was so hot!  It seems weird to bake when we had a heat index of 110 degrees!  I might have found a way around that...can you say crock pot bread? That will be my next experiment,  look for a post to come on that.  I'm so hoping that will work.

The hardest part about eating a low carb diet is not having bread products.  I wasn't ready to make the plunge and make no grain bread just yet, so I made a loaf that's about 70%  grain as an experiment first.  It turned out great, so I reduced it to about 60% in this recipe, since it's only 60% grain it should also have a lower gluten content even with bread flour, which is great just in case you do have a sensitivity to gluten and don't know it (but not OK if you're celiac).  I'm happy to have bread again.  

This bread is a variation of the bread recipe I usually make. I used some tricks for gluten free bread due to the lower gluten.  I could not find any yeast no carb recipes, is there a reason for this?  I wondered.  I tried it anyways, and I thought it worked great, I don't know if I didn't use any wheat if that would make a difference or not.  The eggs and baking powder help it to rise after you bake it just in case the yeast doesn't rise enough. Nicole Hunn of Gluten Free on a Shoestring has some good tips on getting bread to rise that I plan to try next time.

I altered my usual recipe by increased the flax I usually use, and adding almond meal and almond butter in place of some of the wheat flour.  I ended up dropping down the amount of flax used, because it did not taste as good.  Apparently despite the health benefits, you can have to much flax.  And my philosophy is to have my recipes as nutritious as possible as long as it taste good!

 This recipe makes two loaves which is nice in the summer (less time your hot oven is), and saves time.   Simply freeze your extra loaf (after it's properly cooled) and put on the counter to defrost the night before you want to use it and it will be just as fresh as just baked. Why not make two if your going to go through the trouble of making it from scratch?  If you prefer to make one instead, no problem I have that broken down for you below.

Low Carb Yeast Bread
(makes one loaf about 58% hydration)  
Below is this recipe doubled to make 2 loaves

1 2/3 cups (13 oz) of warm filtered water (100 -115 degrees F)
3 large omega 3 eggs  
2 tsp tapioca starch (can sub with arrowroot powder or potato starch)
1  tablespoon honey (or organic sugar (so that it's not GMO))
1 tablespoon active dry yeast or 2 tsp instant (can skip proofing yeast) 1 package =2 1/4 teaspoons
1 tablespoon melted unsalted grass fed butter (Kerry Gold is grass fed) or melted coconut oil
1 tsp baking powder (aluminium free optional it's a back up to the yeast)
1/2 tsp pink salt
2 1/2 cup of unbleached bread flour
1/2 cup of flax meal
1 1/2 cup of almond meal or flour  (flour is better, it has a lighter texture)
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar (optional it helps to reduce mold)

Glaze for the crust:
1/3 cup water 
1 tsp organic cornstarch or tapioca starch

(makes two loaves, have one now and freeze one for later) 
(about 58% hydration)

3 1/4 cups (26 oz) of warm filtered water (100 -115 degrees F)
6 large omega 3 eggs 
1 tablespoon tapioca starch (can sub with arrowroot powder or potato starch)
2  tablespoon honey (or organic sugar (so that it's not GMO))
2 tablespoon active dry yeast or 1 1/2 tablespoons instant (can skip proofing yeast) 1 package =2 1/4 teaspoons
2 tablespoon melted unsalted grass fed butter (Kerry Gold is grass fed) or melted coconut oil
2 tsp baking powder (aluminium free optional it's a back up to the yeast)
1 tsp pink salt
4 1/2 cup of unbleached bread flour
1 cup of flax meal
3 cup of almond meal or flour  (flour is better, it has a lighter texture)
2 tsp xanthan gum
2 tsp raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar (optional it helps to reduce mold)

Glaze for the crust:
1/3 cup water 
1 tsp organic cornstarch or tapioca starch 

  1.  Add yeast and honey into 3 cups of warm water (100 -115 degrees F) into a large bowl or your mixing bowl for stand mixer.  Wait 5-10 min, it should be foamy, if it's not your yeast is dead, wait to make until you get new yeast. Around this time if it's winter I like to turn the temp up to 70-75 degrees since yeast like it warm and will rise easier in a warm environment. 

2. Add the eggs to the bowl and mix until foamy with a hand held mixer or stand mixer.

3 Start adding dry ingredients with the bread flour last (leave out 1/4 cup of bread flour if kneading by hand): vinegar, baking powder, salt, tapioca starch, Xanthan gum,  flax meal, almond flour, and bread flour (leave out 1/4 cup of bread flour if kneading by hand). Cover and let rest for 20 min.

4. Knead for 5 minutes Use a dough hook to knead or Knead the dough in the bowl until is comes together, and then scrape it onto a lightly floured counter,  Knead enough to develop the gluten structure a little, add as little of the reserved flour as possible to keep the dough from sticking.  Use a bench scraper to scrape the dough and gather it together as you knead it.  At this point, it will be very sticky.   Also keep in mind this recipe does have a lower gluten content so it should have a different consistency than "normal" bread.  Gluten free bread has a cake batter consitency and does not need to be kneaded  So this dough does still need to be kneaded and while it's consistency should not be that of cake batter but it should be stickier than normal dough.

5. Cover it with the inverted bowl and allow it to rest for 30 minutes.  This resting time will make the dough less sticky and easier to work with.

6. Knead the dough for another 5 minutes or until it is very smooth and elastic.   It should still be tacky (sticky) enough to cling slightly to your fingers.  If the the dough is still very sticky however, add some of the remaining flour or a little extra until the dough is too stiff to stir and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.  Only add the least amount of flour needed to the dough.  It should be slightly sticky.  If it's not slightly sticky, If it is not at all sticky, spray it with a little water and knead it in. Too much flour makes the bread dry and crumbly and according to Maggie Glezer’s author of the bread book “Artisan Baking Across America.” high water content is the key to fluffy bread.  "If the dough is stiff, According to Nancy's Kitchen ,"it is difficult for the expanding gases to lift the dough and create volume. After your dough is kneaded, it should be soft and nearly sticky. As a general rule when mixing bread, error on the side of too much water."

7. Divide the dough in half by using a wet knife or a wet pastry scraper if making two loaves. If you have a kitchen scale weigh it to make sure each piece of dough is even.

8. Shape the loaf.  On a lightly floured counter, shape each dough into a football.  Flour the top and cover it with plastic wrap.  Allow it to relax for 10-15 minutes.  Remove the plastic wrap and gently deflate the dough, using your fingertips to spread it into a rectangle about 10 inches by 8 inches. If you are forming a loaf to fit in a traditional loaf pan, figure out which side of your parallelogram more closely approximates the width of the pan, and with that as your sides, fold one third of your dough up from the bottom, into the center, and one third of the dough down from the top, over the center. Turn the loaf over so it is seam side down, tuck the sides under slightly if necessary to make it fit, and drop the loaf in your prepared pan. Flour the counter as necessary to prevent sticking.  Watch the video below for a great how to on shaping a sandwich loaf.

                               Shaping a Sandwich Loaf (6 min)

11.  Rise or Proofing the Dough:  There are three ways you can try to rise your dough or proof.  Keep in mind The temperature where yeast grows best is around 78 degrees.
      1.  You can try it in your crockpot or in the bread pans. To use your crockpot to rise the dough (a great ideal in the winter) check this out to find out how (just don't use plastic wrap as they suggest since heat can cause chemicals to leach instead grease your crock pot, use a wet towel, or parchment paper.  
       2.  Give the dough one business-letter turn, then press or roll it out again to about 12 inches by 5 inches and shape it into a 16 inch long loaf.  Set it in the prepared greased pan ( 2 long sandwich loaf pans).  Grease the top of the loaf. Leave in a warm place, draped with plastic.  Allow it to rise until doubled about 1 to 2 hours.  when the dough is pressed with a fingertip, the depression will very slowly fill in or if the hole remains it is done.  If the dough rises more than double, punch it down and let it rise again. (note if it will not rise it should still rise more after baking due to the eggs and baking powder).
       3.  Or you can let it rise in the fridge over night, and then let it rise 2-4 hours at room temp.  According to a chef this is what the pros do. Make sure to oil or flour your dough and cover your container with plastic wrap.    

12. Once they are double their size again (about 1-2 hrs) they are ready to be prepped to be baked   When the dough is pressed with a fingertip, the depression will very slowly fill in or if the hole remains it is done.  If the dough rises more than double, punch it down and let it rise again.  If over proofed, it will feel dead and tend to cave in. (note you will get a fluffier loaf if it doubles, so it's worth waiting, but if it does not seem capable of doubling, it will rise more after baking due to the eggs and baking powder)

13. For a medium shiny golden crust: brush on 2 tablespoons egg (lightly beaten to measure) and 1 teaspoon water, lightly beaten (via Real Baking with Rose.  If you just want a light crust mix 1/3 cup of water with 1 tablespoon of organic cornstarch or tapioca starch, brush on the crust with a pastry brush via Alton Brown (I altered it a bit from his because I didn't feel that much cornstarch was necessary and it adds more carbs).

14. Then slash the dough length wise down the middle with a wet knife (serated if you have one).  Do not cut deeper than a 1/2 inch.  Once the crust is formed, the bread can't rise any more, which is going to affect the density. The slashing allows for expansion even after the crust has begun for form.  
Update:  The first time I tried slashing my bread it seemed to help a lot (the one pictured) but I have tried two batches since and actually feel like it did not help and might have even caused my loaf to fall a bit.  So experiment with it and see what works for you.

15.      Preheat oven to 450 degrees (allow at least 20 min to preheat).

16.      Place baking sheet or loaf pans into the oven (you might want to bake each sheet separately to ensure even cooking. Have an oven shelf at the lowest level you can while still placing a casserole dish or brownie pan filled 1/2 way with boiling water in the rack below the rack the bread will be baked in (this helps to increase moisture to prevent a crust from forming to soon and not allowing the bread to rise in the oven and allows it to develop a crispy crust later in the baking when the dough could no longer rise anyways). 

17.   Turn down the oven to 400 degrees immediately after placing the bread in the oven.  This causes the bread to have a higher heat in the 10 min you typically have before the crust sets and won't expand anymore.  In other words it should help your bread to rise more.

18.  When the bread has baked for 30 min turn down the oven to 350 degrees

19. Turn the loaf around to encourage even browning and continue to bake for 20-30 minutes until browned.  If the bread seems to be getting too brown, tent with foil.   The loaves are done when the internal temperature reaches the 195-210 degree range (as read with an instant-read thermometer, if it's any higher it will be dry, lower and it might not be cooked enough) If you don't have a digital thermometer give the loaf a tap; if it makes a hallow sound, it is done.  If it makes a dull thud, bake a few minutes longer.

20.  Cool bread by tipping loaf onto a rack, to let it cool.  Cover with a tea towel if you wish.  Do not cut bread until it's completely cooled or you will ruin it!  After 3 hours you should be safe. 
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  1. Please do not call this a low carb bread. Anything with wheat flour, starch, and honey is NOT low carb.

  2. This might not fit your expectation of a low carb bread recipe, but it is lower in carbs than a normal bread recipe. My goal in making this recipe was to make a healthier bread ( higher fiber and protein, less grains and gluten, lower GI, healthier fat) that still had great texture. I developed this recipe half with bread flour to help keep the bread fluffy with some structure, and the other half of the flour with almond flour and flax (which still has high carbs but almost all the fiber is carbs which are good carbs). Almond flour only has 8 g of carbs per 1 cup compared to 88g a cup in bread flour. As for the honey, sugar is necessary to get the yeast to do it's job. I also added ingredients typically used in gluten free recipes since this is also much lower in gluten, although NOT gluten free. If you are interested in lower carb recipes than this I would suggest checking out our paleo pinterest board. https://www.pinterest.com/mplshomestead/paleo-savory-recipes

  3. I'm new to bread making. What is "bread flour"? Anyway to make up this blend with lower carb ingredients?

    1. Bread flour has a higher gluten content needed for making bread. This will help make it fluffier and compensate for the lack of gluten in the gf flours in this recipe. As for your carb question please see my comment above.