Bread is one of those foods that you can spice with just about anything and it will still taste fantastic. From chocolate to cheese, seeds and yes, even vegetables, there are a hundred and one recipes for artisan breads that use fun and healthy ingredients.
If you’re looking to spice up your homemade bread recipe, try these five healthy and fun ingredients.
1. Chai Spice
For a spicy, comforting and rich bread, try adding chai spice to your recipe. This complex blend of spices adds an explosion of flavor, and works well with just about any bread recipe (whole wheat or white).
Chai has been celebrated for centuries for its health-promoting properties. This blend of spices helps boost the immune system, improve digestion, reduce inflammation and fight free radical damage.
It’s easy to create your own chai spice blend at home:
- 2 teaspoons allspice
- 2 teaspoons cardamom
- 2 teaspoons cloves
- 3 teaspoons cinnamon
- 4 teaspoons ginger
Both ground and whole versions of these spices are available in most grocery stores. If you purchase whole spices, you’ll need to grind them yourself before adding them to your bread dough.
If you don’t have all of these spices on hand, you can purchase a pre-made blend. But making your own blend is usually the better-tasting option (plus, you can use that leftover ginger to make some Bombay Curry).
The beauty of adding spices to a bread recipe is that you don’t have to adjust the flour or water amounts in most cases.
Feel free to add as much or as little chai spice as you want for a subtle or bold flavour.
2. Tomatoes and Olives
If you enjoy savory breads, try adding tomato and olive to your next batch of dough. These two ingredients complement each other well and will give your bread a Mediterranean flavour.
Tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C, antioxidants, lycopene and molybdenum. Olives are a great source of copper, iron, healthy fats and calcium.
While you can use any tomato you wish, I prefer cherry or grape because of their sweet, bold flavor. Sundried tomatoes would work great as well. Feel free to use any olives you like. Kalamata olives are the classic choice, but Spanish green and simple black olives also work well.
Because tomatoes and olives will add moisture to your dough, you’ll need to adjust the amount of flour in your recipe.
Pair your Mediterranean-inspired bread with some Prawn & Tomato Tagliatelle Pasta for a real treat.
3. Almond Flour
For those on a grain-free or gluten-free diet, almond flour is a great healthy replacement for whole wheat or white flour in bread. Almond flour will add nutrients without imparting an almond flavour to the loaf.
Almond flour, or meal, is a great source of protein and fat as well as vitamin E.
Most bakers find that a conversion ratio of 1:2 all-purpose to almond flour works best when using a bread machine. You may need to blend this flour with other gluten-free flours to recreate the traditional bread texture and flavour.
Barley can be added to bread in a variety of forms, from flour to whole grain to malt. In fact, barley malt is a common ingredient added to commercial breads. But if your goal is to keep it healthy, whole grain or flour forms work best.
Barley is an excellent source of manganese, molybdenum, selenium, fibre, copper, vitamin B1, chromium, phosphorus, and magnesium. This nutritious grain also ranks low on the glycaemic index.
If you’re adding pearled barley to your recipe, you’ll want to soak, cook and cool it first. Do keep in mind that the barley may add moisture, so you may need to adjust your flour ratio slightly.
If you plan to use barley flour, you’ll need 1-3/8 cups for every 1 cup of white flour.
Traditionally a breakfast food, muesli can be added to bread to give it flavour, crunch and an extra kick of nutrients.
Along with fibre, you’ll also add protein and omega-3 fatty acids to your bread.
The classic muesli includes a blend of oats and other grains as well as fruit. If making your own blend, wheat germ, oat bran, wheat bran and sunflower seeds make great additions. Raisins and dried fruit can also add sweetness and flavor to your blend. Walnuts or almonds can also be added.
Of course, you can also buy a pre-made muesli blend. These often include corn flakes.
Muesli is best added to the crust of the bread, but you can also add it to the dough if you wish. You may need to add more water to the dough to compensate for the muesli.
What healthy and fun ingredients do you add to your homemade bread? Share in the comments below.
This post was in collaboration with Village Bakery.