There is nothing more basic in a diet than bread. Therefore a healthy diet begins with healthy bread and Cretans eat a lot of it with every meal. The most traditional Cretan bread is the barley rusk (“dakos”) which is very difficult and time consuming to prepare at home. Apart from “dakos”, Cretans eat a great deal of whole grain bread. Our personal favourite whole grain bread is a combination of three kinds of wholemeal flour (“aleuri olikis”), namely spelt (“aleuri zeas”), rye (“aleuri sikalis”) and wheat flour (“starenio aleuri“). Below we provide a generic recipe for making bread with the use of bread maker that can be executed with any kind of flour suitable for baking. Note that the provided flour types and quantities used correspond to our own favourite flour and seed combination. If you would like to see the traditional hand made recipe follow the following link (handmade Cretan healthy bread).
Spelt flour is full of fiber, vitamins (especially of the B family), minerals and also a good source of protein. Spelt is known to assist metabolism, ease digestion, improve circulation of blood and lower cholesterol levels. It has also been suggested that spelt strengthens the immune system and controls blood sugar levels. Rye bread is a dietary fiber bomb, contains a lot of magnesium (which regulates blood pressure) and controls blood sugars. It is low in calories and therefore diet friendly. Wheat wholemeal flour is also fairly rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals although less so compared to spelt or rye wholemeal. However, wheat flour gives volume to our bread and is therefore desirable. A very Cretan addition to our bread a little carob flour, being full of antioxidants, calcium and fiber while providing a little of its natural sweetness. Last but not least, we add also broken linseed (also known as flaxseed) which helps greatly our digestive system due to its fiber content, is high in omega-3 fatty acids (lowers cholesterol levels) and a good source of lignans that some people argue they have anti-cancer effects. Note that linseeds should be broken in order for its nutrients to be easily absorbed by our digestive system.
Below we provide the easier version of this vegan bread recipe, requiring a bread maker. This way we produce a loaf of bread of approximately 1 kg which provides around 6 servings. Baking time heavily depends of the particular bread maker. You can account for about 4 hours. The time score is therefore 3 out of 3 (⌛⌛⌛). We give this recipe with our particular flour combination an overall score of 3 out of 3 as the outcome is delicious and healthy bread (😋😋😋).
The ingredients are readily accessible everywhere (apart from the carob flour which is a little trickier to find sometimes). Therefore the ingredients score is 1 out of 3 (🔎). As we make use of extremely healthy ingredients, the healthiness score is 3 out of 3 (🥑🥑🥑) . The following ingredients are for a bread maker with a capacity of 1 kg, i.e., the output loaf weighs approximately 1 kg. The ingredients are as follows:
- 200 gr of spelt wholemeal flour
- 200 gr of rye wholemeal flour
- 250 gr of wheat wholemeal flour (we add a bit more wheat flour to help the volume of our loaf)
- 350 gr water
- 1 tablespoon carob flour
- 2 pinches of salt
- 1 teaspoon of honey
- 3 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil
- 7 gr dry yeast (1 tablespoon)
- 2 tablespoons linseed
- 1 tablespoon of seeds, such as pumpkin seeds
Bread preparation with the use of a bread maker is very easy, so the preparation score is 1 out of 3 (🍳). Follow the steps as shown below:
- Put all the ingredients into the bread maker receptacle apart from the seeds, i.e., the linseed and the pumpkin seeds.
- Tip: Make sure that the yeast is not in direct touch with the salt, as the salt cancels out the effect of the yeast. It is advisable to put the honey on top of everything and then the yeast on top of the honey, as yeast feeds on honey.
- Program the bread maker to make wholemeal bread and start it.
- Wait until the initial mixing phase is accomplished (~1 hour depending on the bread maker). Then you will be prompted by the bread maker to add the seeds. Add the linseeds and other seeds to the mixture.
- When baking is over (in approximately 4 hours), remove the hot loaf from the receptacle, spray a tiny bit of water over it and wrap it with a clean towel. This will make our bread crunchier, as it help it discard all its steam.
- Wait until the bread loaf acquires room temperature. Then you can slice it according to your wishes and can either directly consume it or store it.
When the bread acquires room temperature, slice it according to your wishes, place it in food storage bags and then in the freezer. There it keeps very well and can be very easily and quickly unfrozen using a normal or a sandwich toaster. This way we can have fresh bread for days!
You can eat this delicious bread any time during the day and with any meal. At breakfast time spread some plant based butter and jam. If you want a more Cretan version, spread some mizithra or ricotta cheese with thyme honey on top.
It greatly accompanies any kind of soup, such as fish soup, lentil soup, bean soup or chickpea soup. It also matches very well any vegetable based Cretan or mediterranean dish, such as okra, green beans or briam.
Recipe last edited: 28/07/2020
© Recipe and photos by Agisilaos Papadogiannis