Most commercial loaves of bread are notorious for their lack of nutrition and unhealthy profile. Thus, most bread addicts are looking frantically for its healthier version.
Well, the quests in laying your hands on the Ezekiel bread. This age-old bread is grabbing limelight now amidst all health-conscious population. Here, we find out what it is, why is it different and how can we bake it in our home oven.
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You Must Be Thinking That What Is Ezekiel Bread?
Ezekiel bread’s recipe can be traced back to the Old Testament in the Bible. Its reference is Bible is given as, “Take also unto thee Wheat, and Barley, and beans, and lentils, and millet, and Spelt, and put them in one vessel, and make bread of it….” Presently, the bread is popular as Ezekiel 4:9.
It is touted as a nutritionally complete bread that you can live off for years. Its basic recipe comprises of taking six types of organically grown grains and legumes and sprouting them. They are then ground to flour and the bread is baked out of them. There is no external sugar and fat added to it. Despite it, the bread is bursting with rich nutty flavors.
With the same blend of grains; the bread is commercially available in many varieties like the plain, flax, Cinnamon Raisin, low sodium and sesame. Popularly also called as sprouted bread; it is kosher, vegan and GMO-free but not gluten-free. It is believed to be a complete source of protein and other essential minerals and vitamins.
Basic Ingredients of Ezekiel Bread
Ezekiel bread is hailed as flourless bread as it does not have any refined wheat or pulverized wheat. Instead, its flour is made from four types of sprouted cereal grains, i.e. wheat, millet, spelt and barley. It also has the flour of two soaked legumes, i.e. soybeans and lentils.
Almost of these ingredients contain gluten. Hence, this bread is not advised for people with gluten intolerance or celiac disease.
Concept of sprouting
To retain the nutrients and fibers of grains, we have been using whole-grains flour for baking bread and various other recipes. Then why do we need to sprout them? Let’s understand the reasoning behind it.
Most seeds need proper conditions like water and temperature to germinate into new plants. Sprouts are those whose length of new plants do not exceed kernel length. This happens because seeds have complex genes, proteins, and enzymes present within them. Under proper conditions, a complex biochemical process triggers within them to give rise to the beginnings of a new plant.
Sprouting is thus the condition between the seed and the full-fledged plant. Its nutritional value is supposed to get increased and it becomes more digestible by the body due to the biochemical changes inside the seed.
There is another benefit of sprouting. To survive and not to get eaten-up; the seeds contain anti-nutrient substances that inhibit digestive enzymes and thus block the absorption of nutrients. It is the anti-nutrients that make seeds like raw soybeans toxic to eat when raw. Generally, they are not harmful to humans but they prevent absorption of vitamins and minerals and do not let us extract complete nutrients. Sprouting reduces the antinutrients in seeds and makes them healthier for us.
Thus, by sprouting, we increase the nutritional value of the grains used and bake healthier bread than with whole grains.
Nutritional Facts of Ezekiel Bread
Compared to the white slice of bread; the size of the Ezekiel bread is slightly smaller. Going by the data present in the United State Department of Agriculture’s Branded Food Products Database; a slice of Ezekiel bread weighing 34 grams contains approximately:
- Calories: 80 calories
- Carbohydrates: 15 grams
- Fat: 0.5 grams
- Saturated Fat: 0 grams
- Proteins: 4 grams
- Fiber: 3 grams
- Sodium: 75 milligrams
- Sugar: 0 grams
- Thiamine: 0.1 milligrams (8 percent DV)
- Phosphorus: 80 milligrams (8 percent DV)
- Magnesium: 24 milligrams (6 percent DV)
- Niacin: 1.2 milligrams (6 percent DV)
- Iron: 0.7 milligrams (4 percent DV)
- Zinc: 0.6 milligrams (4 percent DV)
- Vitamin B6: 0.1 milligrams (4 percent DV)
Apart from this, the bread is extremely rich in vitamins especially the Vitamin B group. It also contains 18 amino acids including the nine essential amino acids.
Potential Benefits of Ezekiel Bread
Ezekiel bread gives you plenty of health benefits that are often not present in the normal white bread. Few of them are:
- A complete and high protein source
With 18 amino acids including the nine amino acids, the bread is a rich and complete source of protein. Sprouting increases its protein content by almost fifty percent which is super-impressive.
- High in fiber
Compared to even whole-grain bread; the Ezekiel bread has a higher content of no-processed and high-fiber. Moreover, it tastes great with peanut or almond butter.
- Is easily digestible
Sprouting breaks down all complex nutrients into simpler and easily digestible components. This makes digesting and absorption of nutrients more efficient as compared to whole grain bread. Sprouting also decreases antinutrients which takes its digestibility and nutrient quotient higher.
- Aids in weight loss and diabetes control
Ezekiel bread has the lowest glycemic index compared to most other bread. Thus, it does not raise your blood sugar quickly. Moreover, there is no sugar or saturated fat added to it. This helps control blood pressure as well as cholesterol level in the blood. You can successfully lose weight with it.
- Increases vitamin and mineral concentration and their absorbing efficiency
Sprouting increases the concentration of vitamins and minerals while decreases the level of anti-nutrients. Consequently, the body can absorb most of the vitamins and minerals without any problem.
Baking Ezekiel Bread at Home
By now, many of you would be fired up to bake this wonderful bread and dig on it. Thus, without further ado, let’s get down to the baking business. You would love baking this bread as it is a batter bread and does not require any kneading from your part.
- Wheat berries – 2 ½ cup
- Spelt grains – 1 ½ cup
- Millet grain – 1/4 cup
- Hulled barley – ½ cup
- Dry green lentils – ¼ cup
- Dry northern beans – 2 tablespoons
- Dry pinto beans – 2 tablespoons
- Dry kidney beans – 2 tablespoons
- Lukewarm whey – 4 cups (can use water instead but whey imparts more flavors and nutrients)
- Raw honey – 1 1/8 cup
- Olive oil/ coconut oil – ½ cup
- Active dry yeast – 2 tablespoon or 2 packets
- Salt – 2 teaspoon
- Milled flax seed – ½ cup (optional)
- Dough enhancer – 2 tablespoons (optional)
- Gluten – 1 tablespoon (optional)
- 1 egg with 2 tablespoons of water – optional for use as an egg wash on top
- Dry fruits – optional, for added flavor and nutrition
- Sunflower/sesame seeds – optional for garnish.
- All ingredients from wheat berries to dry kidney beans must be soaked overnight and allowed to sprout and then dried completely in an oven. Mix all of them and grind to an even consistency flour. You might need to mill each of them separately for an even smoothness. Mix all ingredients well for an even consistency.
- In a separate bowl, add yeast, whey or water, honey, oil, and salt and set aside for five to seven minutes.
- Add milled flaxseed, dough enhancer, and gluten to combined milled flour and mix well till well combined.
- Add the flour mixture to the yeast mixture and stir in well. Knead if required but it is not as intense as in normal bread. It is a batter bread and thus you just need to mix well. You can mix in the dry fruits as well. This can take about ten to fifteen minutes. You also need to remember that the dough will be sticky.
- Pour the dough mixture into greased pan. Cover with a towel and set aside for 45 minutes to one hour to let it rise and reach the top of the pan.
- You can paint the egg wash over the top and garnish with sunflower and sesame seeds.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F or 175 degrees C and bake the bread for about 45 to 55 minutes till the loaves get golden brown.
- Demold once the bread is cooled and enjoy.
Few tips and pointers
- Always add the flour to the liquid and not the other way around. Adjust the flour amount such that the mixture is not a hard dough but a paste consistency.
- You get milled flour in various supermarkets or you can do it yourself at home. If milling at home, the sprouts must be completely dried. They can be milled in a mixer.
- Use a toothpick to check if the bread is baked. It will come out clean.
- Do not refrigerate the bread and consume within 72 hours. Leftover can then be cut into slices and frozen.
- Frozen slices must never be thawed in a microwave but allowed to do so naturally. This will keep the ingredients intact.
We hope you enjoyed our delicious and healthy take on bread. Chime in below for comments, queries or suggestions. Till then, enjoy!