Thursday, 12 November 2015


Everyone knows that Italians love pasta and pizza, but probably only who came to visit Italy knows that Italians love bread too. At home as well as at the restaurant, bread is never missing. There are also people, like my mum, who don’t feel full unless they have at least a slice of bread. 
Having said that, you can imagine that being celiac (a bit more than gluten intolerant) in Italy is... a disaster! You are surrounded by flour and gluten. Everywhere!
Luckily I have never been a big fan of bread myself, so that, when I found out to be celiac a few years ago, it was not too hard to give it up.
Sometimes, though, I’m missing it. 
I miss having a slice of bread with avocado or along with my salad or, why not, with a healthier version of Nutella (I’ll be posting the recipe soon !).
The gluten-free bread I can find here in Italy is usually prepackaged, made with refined flours, full of unpronounceable ingredients and, honestly, it is not good at all. 

I had to find a solution. I definitely had to.

While I was living in Sydney I tasted a gluten-free bread at a cafĂ©: It was  made of sprouted grains (mainly baby quinoa). As soon as I got home I tried to make my own and it turned out a bit different, yet delicious. I was impressed. It was so damn easy to make. What I had to do was simply put grains in a bowl, cover them with water, waiting for a few hours, draining them and blending them in a food processor adding only a few more ingredients.
I felt so empowered when I tasted it: it was soooo good.
For a person like me, who has never been able to make a decent bread, even with a flour containing gluten, it was great to make a delicious gluten-free bread without having to find the right proportion between flours and water or without waiting for it to rise.
Last, but not least, this bread is way more nutritious than a normal bread made with flours because it is made with whole grains and seeds. (Did you know that the milling process destroys many important nutrients? Read abut it further down the post).

This bread is delicious by it self, with a few slices of avocado on top, with veggies or cheese if you eat it, but it is also delicious with honey -I love it!-, jam or with a healthy hazelnut-chocolate spread. Enjoy it whenever, wherever and with whatever you want!

A lot of people have already made this bread and it turned out perfect to all of them and, most of all, they all loved it!

Milling of flours: milling of nutrients

Did you know that the milling process brings to a loss of vitamins and minerals? And I’m not talking about white flour -the worst you can eat!-, but about whole grains flours. 
The vitamins that are generally lost during the milling process are some B vitamins, especially B1, B3 and B6, and vitamin E, as well as the minerals magnesium, iron, selenium and zinc.

But, what do these vitamins and minerals do for us?
Vitamin B1(thiamine) helps turn glucose, the fuel for the brain, into energy. So, one of the first symptoms of deficiency is mental and physical fatigue. Low B1 means poor attention span and concentration.
Vitamin B3 (niacin) helps increasing energy through improving food utilization: it helps converting proteins, fats and carbohydrates into energy. It is important to healthy activity of the nervous system and normal brain function.
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) it is necessary for many body functions, for example it is vital for a healthy brain function: our neurotransmitters need vitamin B6 to be metabolized and it is also needed to convert the amino acid tryptophan into serotonin, an important antidepressant neurotransmitter.
Vitamin E is one of the most important antioxidant in nature and it helps us to contrast free radicals, which try to damage our cells.
Magnesium is also called the “anti-stress” mineral because of its calming effect. It works along with calcium to guarantee a correct functioning of our heart.
Iron is essential for hemoglobin production. Hemoglobin carries oxygen to organ tissues. Iron is also necessary for myoglobin, which carries oxygen to our skeletal muscles.
Selenium is a potent antioxidant and works with vitamin E. Selenium is also necessary for a proper functioning of the thyroid because it helps in the conversion of the pro-hormone T4 into the active hormone T3.
Zinc is vital for most of the metabolic reactions that take place in our body. It also supports our immune system and a lack of it is usually linked to prostate problems in men because the organ with the highest concentration of zinc is the prostate.

Note: if you mill the whole grains at home it is more likely most of their vitamins and minerals are retained. Their loss is mainly linked to exposure to light and air.

THE MAGIC BREAD (gluten free)
Makes one loaf

3/4 cup (140 gr) quinoa (mixed white, red and black)
1/2 cup (90 gr) millet 
1/2 cup (90 gr) buckwheat
1/4 cup (40 gr) sunflower seeds
1/4 cup (40 gr) pumpkin seeds
 2 tbs flax seeds or chia seeds
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tbs apple cider vinegar
coconut oil for the loaf pan

- Put quinoa, millet and buckwheat in a bowl, cover with water, add the apple cider vinegar and soak for up to 8 hours. 
Put sunflower and pumpkin seeds in a smaller bowl, cover with water, add a pinch of sea salt and soak for up to 8 hours.
Put the flaxseeds in a glass and add 6 tbs of water, whisk vigorously and let soak for up to 8 hours. They will make a gel, which will help to bind all the ingredients together.
I suggest you to do that the night ahead. 
- Preheat the oven to 350°F / 180°C.
- Drain, rinse and drain well again the grains. Put them in a food processor and process for 10 seconds, then scrape down the sides of the container and repeat for three times.
- Add the flaxseeds (or chia seeds) gel and process for 10 second to incorporate them. If necessary mix them by using a spoon or a spatula first.
- Add salt and bicarbonate of soda and process again for 10 seconds to incorporate them.
 -Drain, rinse and drain well again the seeds. Add them to the container and incorporate them to the grain mixture using a spatula or a spoon. Do not process them.
 -Slightly oil a loaf pan and pour in the mixture. Flatten it with a spatula or a spoon.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes. Let it cool down, slice and enjoy.

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