With the return of The Sun, I’m finally coming out of the worst bout of Seasonal Effective Disorder I’ve ever experienced and rejoined the Land of the Living. I put on pants before noon today!
The thing I miss most when I’m eating strictly low-carb is bread. The great news is that the number of wheat-alternative and low-carb bread recipes is increasing rapidly due to the power of crowdsourcing. I decided to try out this Soul Bread recipe to see if I could reclaim my favorite floppy breakfast and lunch substrate.
I’m using my Cuisinart CM100 combo oven, which is potentially a problem since it doesn’t have a non-convection bake setting. There’s no way to turn off the convection fan, which tends to lead to overbrowning of the exterior and undercooking of the center. It has a combo convection bake and microwave setting that’s supposed to fix this, but I haven’t had a chance to really test drive it yet.
The result, however, was good. I followed the directions without change, and while the center was just slightly underdone, the rest firmed up well. I hit the loaf with the microwave for about four more minutes to fix that problem.
The crumb of the bread is pretty close to the real thing, but slightly eggier and more rubbery. It holds together better than most gluten-free bread I’ve had. The first batch I made using whey protein flavored with vanilla and stevia because I couldn’t find an unflavored one. The result has *just* enough of a desserty flavor that it was a little off-putting with eggs.
However, it toasted nicely and hungrily absorbed butter almost as well as my favorite breakfast bread, sourdough. If I could get rid of the sweeter flavors, I think we might have a winner.
For the second batch, I scored some unflavored whey protein and a bread machine for $15 from Goodwill. They routinely have 3-5 bread machines these days, so I had a selection. I chose a Regal Kitchen Pro Breadmaker K6743.
I deliberately undermixed the ingredients before putting it into the machine, because it has its own mixing paddle and I wanted to see how well it worked. I used the only quickbread setting since the Soul Bread is chemically leavened. The result was lumpy and somewhat overcooked. Next time I’ll do more pre-mixing despite the extra mess.
I also managed to dig a big hole in the bottom of the loaf by accidentally rotating the mixer fin inside it before removing it.
Since this recipe goes straight from mixing to bake with no rising delay, I may pull out the mixing paddle before the bake next time. Since it was overcooked, I’ll likely reduce the bake time, which I’ll probably have to do manually.
You can see how much I destroyed the bottom of the pieces with the mixing paddle here:
Going forward I’m going to try to make versions of my baking recipes both for combo ovens and bread machines. I think bread machine recipes are probably more generally useful, but the combo ovens are really fantastic for people living in tiny spaces where countertop space is at a premium.
Overall this is a great place to start for a low-carb bread! It works well for sandwiches and really shines toasted and smeared with butter for yolk-sopping during breakfast. To get something closer to sourdough I’ll try swapping some egg for whey protein so it will be a bit less eggy and rubbery, and adding a little more leavening to get a more open, airy crumb. I may also experiment with yeast for leavening with small amounts of honey or something else to feed it, without adding too many carbs to the recipe.
Happy baking, and please let me know how it goes if you try it out!