By Hayley Stobbs R.Ac
Wintering in the kitchen calls for seasonal nutrient dense foods and long cooking times to nourish the deep energy of our kidney system. Root vegetables, dark greens, proteins, seeds, dried herbs and spices, generous grey celtic or himalayan sea salt, and seaweeds, move inward to nourish core strength. Naturally, stewing, slow-cooking, roasting, and baking, serve their purpose to warm the home and the body. Warm and cooked foods protect digestive and immune health and preserves our vital energy through dark gloomy days towards spring. Let’s get baking. . .
First up, buckwheat sourdough bread. Buckwheat is not a cereal, grass, or grain. It's a grain-like seed (pseudo-grain) within the polygonaceae family, which includes foods such as garden sorrel, rhubarb, and sea grape. This seed-grain is grown in Canada and the flour I use is made by Canadian brand Organic Anita’s Mill, which can be purchased sprouted or plain. Although buckwheat is naturally gluten-free, if you have celiac disease you can search online or in stores to find a flour that is certified gluten-free to ensure that it hasn’t been cross-contaminated during the manufacturing process.
Note: If you’re curious about gluten intolerance, I highly recommend checking out this highly informative blog post by Naturopathic Physicians, Dr. Meghan van Drimmelen and Dr. Carla Cashin, Gluten Intolerance: Is It A Fad?
Buckwheat is a great source of magnesium and a good source of biotin, folate, contains selenium, and the antioxidants rutin and quercetin. Both buckwheat and flax are rich sources of lignans, phytochemicals that are converted by microflora and contain anti-cancer and hormone-regulating properties. According to TCM food therapy this pseudo-grain helps to resolve internal dampness, promotes qi circulation, and tonifies the large intestine, spleen, and stomach systems. Tip: Toast the bread and top savoury adzuki bean miso and black pepper to amplify the recipes damp-draining effect.
If you make either recipes within this post let me know how they turn out by commenting below or tagging me on Instagram @hayley_stobbs.
GLUTEN-FREE BUCKWHEAT SOURDOUGH BREAD
Bake time: 50 minutes
Yields: 1 loaf
The interesting thing I’ve learned with working with buckwheat flour is that it doesn’t require a starter culture. As you will see in the recipe below, simply mix with water, maple syrup, sea salt, and let time (24 - 48 hours), patience, natural yeasts and air do the work before proceeding with additional ingredients. Please do use the maple syrup as this starts the fermentation action and is the only natural sweetener I’ve tried that works. The fermentation of buckwheat flour pre-digests the naturally occurring sugars which makes it easier to assimilate and nourishes gut microflora when digestive health is in balance.
2 ½ cups light buckwheat flour, sprouted or plain
½ cup arrowroot flour
¾ teaspoon sea salt
2 ½ cups water
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 tablespoons psyllium husk, optional
¾ cup ground flaxseed (golden)
½ cup ground chia seed (white)
1 tablespoon maple syrup
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1. Add the flours into a glass or ceramic mixing bowl. Stir. Pour in the water and mix well with a wooden spoon. Add the maple syrup and sea salt, and stir.
2. Cover with a thin tea towel. Allow the mixture to soak and ferment for 24 hours.
3. Check to see if the dough has expanded, half to double it’s original width. If it hasn’t, let it sit for another 4 – 20 hours, and if it has proceed to the next step.
4. Preheat the oven to 350F and oil a bread pan or baking pan with olive oil or coconut oil.
5. Sprinkle the ground seeds over the mixture, mix well to combine, and then let it sit for a few minutes.
6. Next, add the maple syrup, sea salt, and baking soda. Stir.
7. Form into a loaf and place on a baking pan, or shape into a loaf pan, and bake for 50 minutes. Tip: before placing in the oven you can lightly dust with arrowroot flour and score with a serrated knife lengthwise to give the loaf a bit of character.
8. Remove from your oven and cool completely before slicing. This bread is best served toasted. Top with home-made jam, hummus, miso, or avocado & black pepper. Store in an airtight container, wrapped with beeswax paper, or in a bag, in your fridge or freezer. The bread will last about 2 weeks in your fridge and a couple months in your freezer. Enjoy!
The following recipe highlights hemp, chia, and flax seed. Over the years I’ve found that hemp makes a decent substitute for eggs in baking when blended in a high speed blender with water and flax or arrowroot. For this particular mix I’ve added gelatin to amplify the holding and lifting effect of eggs. For those who are vegan, it turns out fine without the gelatin, however crumbles if the product isn’t cooled in the refrigerator for 24 hours after baking to set.
Seeds are a good source of essential fatty acids, fiber, and minerals. Energetically they nourish kidney yin, the liver, and intestines, and when sprouted they mildly strengthen yang energy. As a treat I occasionally use sprouted chia and flax by Organic Traditions to make the loaf, and I think it turns out even better than using non-sprouted. When eaten in excess seeds can exacerbate damp conditions. To balance the natural yin energy of this seed bread I like to add yang herbs to the mix, such as rosemary.
WINTER SEED BREAD
Bake time: 50 minutes
Makes: 1 loaf
1 ½ cup hemp hearts
1 ¾ cup water
Fresh herbs 28g (1 oz) each: rosemary, sage, stems removed, chopped, optional
2 tablespoons grass-fed gelatin plus 4 tablespoons luke-warm water, optional but recommended
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup ground flaxseed
1 cup ground chia seed
½ cup coconut flour ( I use Bob’s Red Mill)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1. Preheat your oven to 350F and oil a bread pan with olive or coconut oil.
2. Measure four tablespoons of water into a small bowl. Sprinkle in one tablespoon of gelatin at a time, whisking with a fork.
3. Add the hemp, optional fresh herbs, gelatin, cider vinegar, and sea salt to a high speed blender. Blend until smooth and creamy.
4. Mix the ground seeds, coconut flour, and baking soda together in a medium sized mixing bowl. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix to combine. Use your hands if necessary, the batter will be dense!
5. Bake at 350F for 50 minutes. Remove, completely cool, and refrigerate overnight before slicing. Store in an airtight container in your fridge for up to a week or in your freezer for a couple of months. Toast to serve and choose savoury or sweet toppings as desired.
I hope my post has inspired you to get baking this season :) If you’re interested in nutrition and acupuncture I’d be happy to guide you along. Please visit www.vcaspa.com to book online or call 250-590-4341. To learn more about my acupuncture practice, follow @hayley_stobbs on Instagram.
Wishing you love & vitality,
Hayley Stobbs R.Ac, CNC