Bread Caveman Style (Paleo)

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I love bread; so, entering a paleo diet was rather difficult. Taking the transition slowly, I decided to experiment with this paleo bread. Understanding that this bread is made with coconut and mainly almond flour is key. These flours act differently than your typical white and whole-wheat flours.

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Almond flour, almond meal or ground almond is made from ground sweet almonds. Almond flour is usually made with blanched almonds (no skin), whereas almond meal can be made both with whole or blanched almonds. The consistency is more like corn meal than wheat flour. Almond meal has recently become important in baking items for those on low carbohydrate diets: the paleo diet. It adds moistness and a rich nutty taste to baked goods. Items baked with almond meal tend to be calorie-dense. Almond meal has low heat conductivity. Almonds have high levels of polyunsaturated fats in them. Typically, theomega-6 in almonds is protected from oxidation by its surface and vitamin E. When almonds are ground, this protective skin is broken and exposed surface area increases dramatically, greatly enhancing the nut’s tendency
to oxidize.

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. I used a mixed berry flax seeds. It added a few extra sweet notes because of the fruit.
  2. Processing the dry ingredients in a food processor mixes them together and helps break apart the flax seeds.
  3. I added my wet ingredients straight into the food processor­–being sure to really mix
    the ingredients.
  4. Blending the dry ingredients separate is the proper technique because it allows for an even mix.paleobread3
  5. I lined my loaf pan with parchment paper: it keeps the pan clean and permits
    easy removal.
  6. I love using honey as a sweetener. It is a great adhesive because it is sticky, and it is not overly sweet.
  7. I allowed my bread to cool on a cooling rack. It will continue to cook if left in the pan; however, I don’t mind a semi-doughy center.
  8. The bread will note rise because it lacks active yeast, so do not base your cooking times on that staple.

Used in moderation, the bread provides some comfort food in the transition to a strict paleo diet. Although it is harder to make sandwiches because of it’s lack in height, it pairs well with nut spreads and homemade, sugar free jams. I love the light density the bread creates; I love the nuttiness from the almond flour; I love that I can enjoy bread–for now.

Leave a comment with your favorite jams and nut spreads. Follow my Pinterest. Check back again next Wednesday for more tips and tricks from The Cooking Bug.

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Roti–Indian Flatbread

I love bread! It is a horrible and honest answer, but since I was a child I have enjoyed bread of any kind. I was excited to have found a recipe for what I had thought was naan. However, I was surprisingly excited to understand the differences between naan and what I found to have made, roti. The following describes the subtle differences:

Naan or Nan is a leavened, oven-baked flatbread. It is popular in West, Central and South Asia. In Iran, from which the word ultimately originated, nān does not carry any special significance, as it is merely the everyday word for any kind of bread. Naan in other parts of South Asia usually refers to a specific kind of thick flatbread. Generally, it resembles pita and, like pita bread, is usually leavened with yeast or with bread starter. Naan is cooked in a tandoor, from which tandoori cooking takes its name. This distinguishes it from roti, which is usually cooked on a flat or slightly concave iron griddle called a tava. Typically, it will be served hot and brushed with ghee or butter. It can be used to scoop other foods, or served stuffed with
a filling.

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Roti is generally an Indian bread, made from stoneground wholemeal flour, traditionally known as atta flour, that originated and is consumed in India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. It is also consumed in parts of South Africa, the southern Caribbean–particularly in Trinidad and Tobago–Guyana and Fiji. Its defining characteristic is that it is unleavened. Indian naan bread, by contrast, is a yeast-leavened bread. Roti and its thinner variant, known as chapati, are integral to Indian and Pakistani cuisine

Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  1. I used whole-wheat flour.
  2. I used more than the amount of water suggested.
  3. You want to create dough that is firm but a cohesive piece.
  4. I mixed the dough in my Kitchen Aide mixer, then I kneaded it to incorporate the missed flour and lost pieces.
  5. I was able to divide my dough into nine balls, probably 12 had I made them evenly sized.
  6. Be sure to roll them thinly. Thicker pieces will leave a doughy texture when cooked.
  7. After rolling them, place them on a cookie sheet layering them with paper towels to keep them from sticking.
  8. Be sure to not over flour them because the flour residue will stick to the naan during the cooking process and be left afterwards. No one likes raw flour.
  9. Heat the skillet, without oil or Pam, on high.rotiindianflatbread2
  10. The dough will begin to bubble with air pockets within 30 seconds. Flip the bread immediately to reduce the chance of burning the bread and cook for an additional 30 seconds.
  11. The tops of the naan will be freckled with brown cook spots.
  12. Oil only the top of the naan. Because the bread is thin, the oil will be absorbed on both sides.

Understanding my love for Indian dishes, I am thrilled to understand both the difference between naan and roti and having found a recipe that allow for a traditional bread to accompany my future exotic dishes. Paired with a curried quinoa stew or as a side to a tikka masala, the roti is simple and easy to make. You can even add peanut butter and enjoy as is, like my mother. Hurry though because with friends and family there might not be any left
for you.

Leave a comment with your favorite Indian recipes. Follow my Pinterest for more recipes. Check back again next Wednesday for more tips and tricks from The Cooking Bug.

Banana Oatmeal Muffins

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Overripe bananas on sale at the grocery store or you purchased more than you anticipated eating? Banana oatmeal breakfast muffins are an exceptional way to save “wasted” bananas. Unlike muffins from Starbucks, these easy breakfast or snack treats are free of sugars and loaded with nutritional benefits like flax seeds

Flax seeds come in two basic varieties: brown and yellow (also known as golden linseeds). Most types have similar nutritional characteristics and equal numbers of short-chain omega-3 fatty acids. The exception is a type of yellow flax called solin (trade name Linola), which has a completely different oil profile. Solin is very low in omega-3 fatty acids. Although brown flax can be consumed as readily as yellow, and has been for thousands of years, it is better known as an ingredient in paints, fiber and cattle feed. Flax seeds produce a vegetable oil known as flaxseed or linseed oil–is one of the oldest commercial oils­–and solvent-processed flaxseed oil has been used for centuries as a drying oil in painting and varnishing.

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Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. I like to use Chobani when baking or cooking with Greek yogurt because of its
    thicker texture.
  2. You can use vanilla yogurt just remember to nix the teaspoon of vanilla.
  3. The honey works well to add sweetness to the dish.
  4. Do not use agave!!! Although agave is becoming increasingly popular, agave is made with high fructose corn syrup.
  5. The flax seed is an added nutritional benefit as noted above.
  6. Your bananas should be spotted brown and very ripe. They will mash easily; the riper the banana, the sweeter the taste.
  7. I cooked my muffins at 400 degrees and they were still moist and delicious.
  8. Pulsing the oats in a food processor creates oat flour.
  9. I added pecans to my batter.
  10. The muffins will be dense and moist from using a banana base.

Muffins are always a great way to create a grab-and-go breakfast. The use of sweet bananas and the acidity of the pecans work as a perfect pair. There is room for diversity in ingredients. Try dark chocolate for a dessert muffin; try raisins for a healthier muffin; try strawberries for a fruity muffin. Any way you like it this muffin can offer.

Leave a comment with your favorite muffin mixes. Follow my Pinterest. Check back again next Wednesday for more tips and tricks from The Cooking Bug.