Quick Brown Bread
This brown bread is similar to soda bread. It has plenty of flavour, fibre and cooks quickly if you keep the various shapes shallow in depth. The dough can be made into slightly flattened bread rolls, which we call baps, or breadsticks and flavoured with nuts, seeds, herbs, chopped sun-dried tomatoes, olives and cheese. (See the baking hacks on lowcarbtogether.com for more on ingredients, what they do, where to source them and troubleshooting.)
Do try to find golden flaxseed and blonde psyllium husk for a good colour but the flavour will be the same with dark brown flaxseed and brown psyllium. This recipe uses coarse psyllium husk, which is cheaper and comes in larger quantities than the powder packaged for medicinal use. If you only have the fine powder, then use the same weight.
Makes 6 baps or 3 flat breadsticks
olive oil, for greasing
130g (4½oz) ground almonds
30g (1oz) coconut flour
20g (¾oz) coarse psyllium husk
60g (2¼oz) ground golden flaxseed
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 heaped teaspoon salt
3 medium eggs
1 tablespoon seeds, optional
Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/425°F/gas mark 7 and grease a baking tray with a little oil.
Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Add the eggs and 250ml water and stir through with a large spoon. When the dough is well combined, use your hands to bring it into a ball. It will thicken all the time as the water is absorbed. Divide the dough according to the instructions below and shape the loaves using lightly oiled hands.
To make the baps
Roll the dough into 6 balls between your palms, then flatten them into baps about 8cm (3¼in) across and no more than 2cm (¾in) in height. Transfer them to the prepared baking tray, placed at least 4cm (1½in) apart. Press a few seeds into each one if using.
To make the breadsticks
Grease a work surface with a little oil. Divide the dough into 4 and roll out each piece into sausage about 24cm (9½in) long and 3cm (1¼in) thick. Lay the breadsticks on the baking tray at least 4cm (1½in) apart and flatten them to about 2cm (¾in) thick. Press a few rosemary needles into the bread and scatter with salt flakes if using.
Cook the baps and breadsticks for 18–22 minutes or until golden brown and firm to the touch.
Add one or a mixture of these to the dough before shaping.
Cheese – 60g (2¼oz) grated Parmesan or other hard cheese.
Walnut – 100g (3½oz) chopped walnuts.
Herbs – 6 teaspoons finely chopped fresh or 4 dried herbs such as oregano, thyme, rosemary.
Sun-dried tomato and olive – 60g (2¼oz) chopped sun-dried tomatoes and 40g (1½oz) stoned, roughly chopped olives
Or for a Rosemary version, top with sprigs of rosemary and a little flaked salt.
Per plain bap or half a breadstick: 3.7g net carbs, 9.3g fibre, 9.6g protein, 19g fat, 260kcal
Shopski means something done in the way that the shopi do it. The shopi are the West Bulgarians who cook with a gyuveche, a pretty earthenware pot with a hole in the top. I have experimented at home with cereal bowls and foil, Le Creuset dishes and old enamel pots and they all work for this dish. You just need to make sure that you have a small, sealed ovenproof container. The difference will be the cooking time as the heat transfers more quickly through metal than it does through pottery. In fact, if you are using a traditional gyuveche, then you must put it into the oven cold and then turn the heat on so that it heats up slowly. This isn’t necessary with other ovenproof dishes, which can be safely put into a hot oven.
Use your imagination with this dish and add leftover meat and vegetables, roast peppers from a jar and/or salami, but this is the standard version shown to me by shopi Svetlana Nickolav. One of the low-carb baps is lovely alongside to scoop up the sauce, or you can add another egg if you are feeling hungry.
15g (½oz) butter, for greasing and dotting on top
1 small onion, finely chopped
100g (3½oz) feta cheese, sliced into 4 pieces
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped or a pinch of dried herbs (optional)
50g (1¾oz) smoked ham or sausage or cooked bacon, diced (optional)
400g (14oz) tomatoes, chopped or 400g (14oz) can chopped tomatoes
2 hot chillies, finely chopped or chilli flakes added to taste (optional)
Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/425°F/gas mark 7.
Butter two small ovenproof dishes (see the introduction) generously and then add half the chopped onion into each of them. Then add one piece of feta into each, followed by the parsley, ham, tomatoes, the remaining feta and an egg on one side. Dot over the remaining butter, add a little seasoning and put the chilli on the opposite side to the egg.
Put on the lid or fashion a piece of foil tightly over each one and cook for about 20 minutes or until the eggs are done to your liking. Serve straight away.
Per serving: 13.1g total carbs, 4.3g fibre, 19g protein, 22.4g fat, 323kcal