When I finally realised that gluten and I were to part ways forever I was rather upset (to put it mildly). Never having had a particularly sweet tooth my indulgence was always usually bread related; freshly baked artisan loaves, anything to do with sourdough or a deliciously dark and vinegary German rye were guaranteed to have me grinning from ear to ear.
After university my Saturday mornings became a well practiced routine. Armed with a cafetiere of coffee I would set about making and kneading my dough before heading out whilst it slowly proved. Gym session done I would head home to knock back the dough, shower and whip up a delicious soup or baked eggs whilst my loaf went into the oven to emerge beautifully crunchy on the outside and pillowy in the middle. I looked forward to that first slice all week!
Fast forward to my first dalliance with gluten free bread, ready sliced and purchased from a supermarket I was already nervous, was this to be my future? Into the toaster it went and an overwhelming sweet smell started to fill the kitchen, this was very quickly followed by the unmistakable acrid burning smell of incinerated bread. Time for take two. Realising that it needed far less time than my usual fare I successfully produced an edible looking product and went in for the taste test, it was not good. Crispy-ish on the outside the inside was still very much cold ‘bread’ and tasted like a sugary sponge……this wasn’t going to work so into the bin it went and I hit the internet.
Years later I still see the same loaves on supermarket shelves and despair that people are paying over the odds for what is basically a white loaf with the protein content removed (see post on gluten for more info) leaving behind something that I would consider worse for you than the white sliced loaves most of us would steer well clear of. With a plethora of naturally gluten free ingredients now widely available I say put that loaf back on the shelf and run far, far away. Then have a read of my post on gluten free living and get into your kitchen and start experimenting with buckwheat, brown rice and chickpea flours, you will be so much better off!
The following recipe is a staple in my kitchen; naturally gluten free, protein packed and absolutely delicious (declared by those who avoid and those who enjoy gluten alike) they are also so easy to make they practically make themselves. These crackers also freeze brilliantly and I tend to make up to 3 times these quantities and pack them into freezer bags. Just pop in a hot oven on a baking tray for 3-5 mins as and when you want them.
Super Seed Crackers Makes approx 18-20 crackers
- 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/2 cup chia seeds
- 1/4 cup sesame seeds
- 1/4 cup whole flaxseed
- 1 heaped tablespoon cumin seeds (lightly crushed in a pestle & mortar)
- 1 heaped tablespoon caraway seeds
- 1 tablespoon dried mixed herbs (feel free to use fresh herbs such as thyme or rosemary)
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- a few good grinds of black pepper
- 1 cup cold water
- Preheat oven to 160°C and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, mix all dry ingredients together then add the water and mix thoroughly, leave for a couple of minutes then mix again. The chia seeds will begin to absorb the fluid and become gel like which will hold your mix together.
- Once there is no loose fluid left (approx 5 mins) spread the mixture onto the baking sheet with the back of a spoon/spatula until it’s about 3-4mm thick. Sometimes it’s easier to get a smooth surface and no gaps using slightly damp hands to smooth at the end.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes (depending on your oven), the crackers should be firm to the touch.
- Remove from oven and flip out onto a large board. Peel the baking paper off, if it doesn’t come easily pop back into the oven for a couple more minutes. Slice into crackers using a large knife or pizza slicer, flip over and pop back onto the parchment lined tray. Bake for another 20-30 minutes, keeping an eye on them. They should be lightly golden in colour.
- Allow to cool completely on a rack. Store in an airtight container/jar or portion into bags and freeze. Unfrozen they will stay fresh for a good week or so.