This truly is a life-changing loaf of bread - absolutely delicious, nutty, and satisfying. It's so easy to make. No kneading, no rising, no punching down, no fiddling - just stir together a few healthy ingredients, wait, and bake.
When I first stumbled across the recipe for this bread, I just had to try it - it sounded almost too simple. You just stir together some oats, seeds, and nuts? You add some water and a touch of oil and sweetener? That's it? And it sticks together? Slices easily?
You bet it does. It is the tastiest, nuttiest, most satisfying loaf of bread I've ever munched on. Sarah Britton writes the lovely blog My New Roots, a cornucopia of healthy foods as beautiful to look at as they are to eat. I am so thankful she's shared this amazing recipe with us.
Anyone dealing with food allergies knows that bread is one of the foods most missed and the baked item most difficult to get right with alternative ingredients. This bread really has changed our life - our food life, that is.
I've served it for special lunches with 'regular people' (non-allergy-sufferers) and they've raved about its fantastic taste. I've made and sliced several loaves, packing them along for trips, and they've been a life saver. I've always got a loaf or two in the freezer, some cut up ahead, so we can grab a slice for toast anytime. The Life-Changing Loaf of Bread tastes as delicious with savoury toppings as it is with a smear of nut butter and jam. But it shines at its fantastic best when toasted - the crispy brown caramelization enhances its nuttiness and brings a depth of flavour that makes it hard to stop at just one slice.
What makes this bread stay together is the sticky power of psyllium husks. These featherweight little husks from the seeds of the plantago ovata plant are super high in fiber. When mixed with water they form a flavourless gel that is not only highly beneficial for the colon and elimination system (yes, they help move stuff along), but also for the heart and pancreas (soluble fiber helps lower blood sugar levels). However, it's the sticky properties of psyllium husks that make them the star ingredient in this bread.
Yay for psyllium! It binds together healthy oats, seeds, and nuts. All you do is add the liquid ingredients, stir, pack it into a loaf pan, let the bread sit for at least 2 hours (up to overnight) so everything can get thoroughly moistened and the psyllium husks can do their job of sticking everything together, then bake. The baking technique is also a little different. The loaf is placed onto a rack halfway through baking, so the outside can get nice and crisp. Brilliant.
I've modified the original recipe only slightly, changing out the flax seeds for super healthy little hemp seeds. Even though flax seeds are wonderfully healthy, too, their nutrition is of little value unless they are ground, since the whole seeds pass through our system undigested. I've also changed the nuts to pecans or walnuts, since those are softer nuts and slice more easily in the baked loaf, but any nuts would be fine, really. In addition, I use warm water, since it absorbs more quickly and allows the coconut oil to stay liquid while mixing.
The one other modification I made to the Life-Changing Loaf of Bread recipe is to invert the loaf onto a cake cooling rack for the last half of its baking, rather than directly onto the oven rack. My oven rack bars are too far apart, and I had one loaf tragically fall apart, and several other loaves slump between the bars to make deep ridges on the bottom, before I thought to use a cooling rack which has the bars spaced much more closely than my oven shelves.
And on top of it all, it's gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, and can be made nut-free, too.
So go ahead - become a bread baker - change your life!
* * * * *
slightly adapted from My New Roots blog by Sarah Britton
The Life-Changing Loaf of Bread
- 1½ cups (150gms) rolled oats (large-flake, old-fashioned kind), gluten-free if necessary
- 1 cup (145gms) sunflower seeds
- ½ cup (75gms) hemp hearts (or flax seeds, roughly ground or cracked)
- ½ cup (65gms) pecans or walnuts, large halves broken into pieces*
- 4 tablespoons psyllium seed husks or 3 tablespoons psyllium husk powder
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
- 1½ cups (360ml) warm water
- 3 tablespoons melted coconut oil or ghee
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey, but it won't be vegan
- In a medium bowl, stir together all the dry ingredients.
- In another bowl or a large measuring cup, stir together the warm water, coconut oil, and honey. Pour this into the dry ingredients and stir until everything is moistened. Let sit for a minute or two until all the water is absorbed.
- Spray a non-stick medium-sized loaf pan (4½ x 8½ inches/11 x 21 cm measured at the top of the pan) with cooking oil spray or wipe it with coconut oil or ghee. Stir the bread mixture again and dump it into the loaf pan. Pat it down with a spatula and smooth the top so it is completely flat (this will become the bottom later).
- Leave the bread to sit on the counter at room temperature for a minimum of two hours, up to twenty-four hours.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Bake the bread for 30 minutes.
- Then remove the pan from the oven, and place a cake cooling rack on top of the pan. Use pot holders or oven mitts to invert the pan, tipping the loaf of bread upside-down onto the cooling rack. Remove the pan, and place the rack with the loaf on it back into the oven. Continue baking the bread for another 30 to 35 minutes, until it starts browning at the edges and is slightly puffed up in the middle.
- Using oven mitts or pot holders, carefully lift the cooling rack with the loaf on it, out of the oven. Allow the loaf to cool completely before slicing (very important).
- Store bread in a sealed container or heavy duty plastic bag in the refrigerator. This bread freezes well. Simply slice it before freezing, for easy removal of individual slices for toasting or serving.
- Makes one loaf.
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Great reviews, I think I am going to have to try this. Love that is very healthy.
It really is healthy, plus it tastes great - so nutty. We love it toasted.
I have to watch my cholesterol. Can I use olive oil or canola oil instead of the coconut oil or ghee?
Hello, yes, oil should work fine in this recipe, since there's not much of it and it's not needed to be solid to keep the bread together. The psyllium husks do the job of binding the ingredients together. Enjoy!
I added up the /12 of the loaf is 270 calories! Enjoy.
oops! 1/12 of the loaf is 270!
Awesome! That's great to know.
Thanks so much for doing that! 🙂
You are welcome! The bread is so amazing!
Me, too. I wish I'd read this first! 😀
Although Very Well Fit "only" put it at 194. I went with English walnuts instead of pecans - that may be why. Originally it had automatically entered black walnuts, which put it as 224 - I had no idea there was such a difference!
That said, I wonder how much we can trust these calculators! It's definitely calorie-dense, but you get a lot out of it.
I cannot have any oils or butters.
Would anything else work to replace that oil?
Yes, applesauce would be a great substitute and provide a bit of the moisture that oil gives. It should work well.
Hello, this recipe sounds amazing! Wondering if I could use a glass loaf pan for this recipe. This is the only pan that I have that is the size that you were recommending.
Thanks so much 🙂 Yes, I think it should be absolutely fine in a glass pan. (Generally you'd reduce the temperature by 25 degrees with glass pans, but since it's only in there for 30 minutes, and then needs to bake on a rack, I'd just leave the temperature at 350 degrees.)
I used a glass pan with no issues.
Impressive! Made it a few days ago - so easy to make!! I had no hemp seeds so I used whole flaxseeds (I did want to reduce the calories a little and broken flax is quite rich) Also I only had whole hazelnuts. I enjoyed them but I think next time I will use half walnut and half whole hazel. I ended up in an online work meeting whilst it was in the oven, but it totally forgave me (or even liked) the 15 min extra in the oven.
It really is a very rich bread so it needs powerfully favoured toppings - certainly a keeper!
So glad you like the bread. It really does have a rich flavour all by itself - it's even great just toasted and spread with butter, or as you say - a flavourful topping. And it is quite forgiving in its baking time - I've left it a bit longer myself on occasion, too. Thanks for the feedback. Happy baking!
Any ideas on the carb count for this loaf of bread. My grandson is Type one diabetic and I have to count as carbs and would prefer to feed him something on the healthier side. Thank you for any info
Hi Kat, I'm sorry I can't get those figures for you. Because of the way I write my recipes with both metric and standard units, the nutrition facts plug-in doesn't work for me, but I know there are free apps online where you can type in the ingredients and the calculations are done for you. If you google 'free nutrition calculator' you'll find them. Hope that works for you. Happy baking!
This bread is so good. I had to use pumpkin seeds for the sunflower seeds and peanuts for the walnuts, and it turned out amazing.
That is so great to hear. Thanks for the feedback on how the substitutions turned out - good to know for times when I don't have all the ingredients.
I haven't made it yet - I'm concerned about putting the cooling rack in the over and more so getting it out again. It's flimsy wire and the feet will just go through the oven rack. I'm also not sure it's something I'd want to cook on. Is it necessary to have a lot of air circulation? Could it go directly on the oven rack?
Hi Melody, I tried one directly on my oven rack, and the bars are too far apart - the bread kind of slumped through the bars and got deep ridges in it from the weight of the loaf pressing down. Maybe try putting your cooling rack on a baking sheet - if it's got little feet it will lift it enough off the pan that the air can circulate underneath and hopefully that will work. Good luck and happy baking!
I slapped my forehead when I read that. I don't know why I couldn't imagine doing it on my own. Thanks, Margaret!
You are most welcome! I had to laugh, because I often have moments like that 😂! Happy Baking!
Making it the fourth time. Great!!
Makes me so happy to hear that! You're welcome. 🥰 It's such a tasty bread for such little effort. Happy Baking!