“Too Good” Bread

School kids have been complaining about the tasteless lunches mandated by the USDA. Meanwhile, at least one school in Sweden had the opposite problem:

A talented head cook at a school in central Sweden has been told to stop baking fresh bread and to cut back on her wide-ranging veggie buffets because it was unfair that students at other schools didn’t have access to the unusually tasty offerings.

Annica Eriksson, a lunch lady at school in Falun, was told that her cooking is just too good. Pupils at the school have become accustomed to feasting on newly baked bread and an assortment of 15 vegetables at lunchtime, but now the good times are over.

The municipality has ordered Eriksson to bring it down a notch since other schools do not receive the same calibre of food – and that is “unfair”.

From now on, the school’s vegetable buffet will be halved in size and Eriksson’s handmade loafs will be replaced with store-bought bread.

Setting aside the health ramifications of serving “too good” bread to students, this incident underscores an attitude among some people (including many voters in the U.S., unfortunately) that drives me nuts: If some people are better off than I am, that somehow makes my situation worse, so I don’t want them to be better off. The kids in other schools who don’t have access to Ms. Eriksson’s good cooking aren’t being harmed, but somehow it’s more “fair” to them if the kids in her school don’t get to enjoy her meals anymore.

I don’t know anything about Swedish politics, but it would be interesting if food fairness became a campaign issue. I can picture some burly Swede named Joe the Baker confronting a Swedish candidate (one who has never baked anything and has no idea where bread comes from or how the baking business works) and demanding an explanation.

“Look, I don’t have anything against you,” the candidate will answer. “I just think we need to, you know, spread the bread around.”

“But it’s my bakery. I saved for years and worked 80-hour weeks to get this going.”

“You didn’t build that. Somewhere along the way you had some help.”

Almost-Paleo Bread

I didn’t mind giving up bread when I went low-carb, but I do occasionally miss tuna melts, patty melts, BLTs and other sandwiches, so I’ve kept an eye out for grain-free bread recipes.

We tried this one last week and thought it was pretty good, although the loaf only rose to about half the height of sandwich bread. So we tweaked it and tried again. This time the load produced sandwich-worthy slices. Here’s the tweaked recipe:

  • 16-oz. jar creamy almond butter
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons baking power
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup warm water

1. Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees.
2. Mix the ingredients in a mixing bowl.
3. Pour the batter into a 9 x 5 greased bread pan.
4. Bake until firm. (In our oven, it took one hour.)

While watching Sunday Night Football, I decided to taste-test the bread by making one of my long-ago favorite sandwiches, a grilled cheese with ham and a fried egg. (Yes, I know cheese isn’t paleo.) I’m pleased to report that the almond-butter bread held up well. Chareva also informed me the bread holds up to being toasted in a toaster.

I took a ham and salami sandwich to work today and it was quite filling, no doubt because the almond-butter bread has a very high fat content. Since Chareva’s parents are visiting later this week in honor of her 40th birthday and her dad loves bagels, we ordered some bagel pans. With any luck, the recipe will work for onion bagels.

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93 Responses to ““Too Good” Bread and Almost-Paleo Bread”
  1. Daghain says:

    I’m going to give this one a try. It’s very similar to one I make but it definitely looks like it makes better slices for sandwiches.

  2. Christianna says:

    That beautiful loaf is comprised of *only* almond butter and eggs with a smidge of leavening agent!?! It looks amazing!! Far more effective than any coconut flour or flax meal variety I have been able to find. I cannot wait to try it! Thank you so very much for sharing!!

  3. Jenny says:

    Happy Birthday, Chareva! I’m just weeks behind you.

    The bread looks good. I will have to try it, on account I’m 2 months (and 16 pounds) into my LCHF live-it, which is a record for me. I love egg salad, chicken salad, and tuna salad, but I’m not crazy about lettuce as the vehicle.

  4. Laurie says:

    That looks amazing! I’ll have to try it soon! Chareva is younger than me by half a year? Whaaaa?

    Wait … are you suggesting she looks older? You don’t want her gunning for you on the next cruise.

  5. Lissa says:

    This recipe looks great! I will have to give it a whirl … SOON!

    I use a recipe that calls for almond flour and a bit of coconut flour. It also uses apple cider vinegar, which interacts with the eggs to make it rise. The results have been very tasty – TOO tasty, really, as I could sit and eat a whole loaf – but kind of flat. We’ve had to do some creative slicing to get sandwich slices. But I did find that a muffin top pan is great for making hamburger buns! It needs a little less baking time, but what a joy to be able to eat a burger with our hands again!

    That sounds good too.

  6. Teresa Pierce says:

    So how was the flavor? I tried a peanut butter bread a few weeks ago but the peanut butter flavor was too strong. I guess the logical thing to do would be to buy some Almond butter and taste it, but instead I’m bugging you 🙂

    It has a bit of a nutty flavor, but I like that.

  7. Peggy Cihocki says:

    Oooh. I love bagels. Please tell me where I can get a bagel pan. Onion “bagels” sounds awesome. I heard this bread works well with macadamia nut butter, too. Going to have to make some of each–almond and macadamia. but I have to find some macadamia nut butter first. Meanwhile, I already have everything I need to make the almond butter bread. Thanks for tweaking and posting.

    We ordered bagel pans from Amazon.

  8. Becky says:

    I hope you ordered bagel pans for the rest of us who don’t have them. After all, if you have something that I don’t, even if the difference is based on the choices we have made for our lives, it’s not fair 🙂

    Holy moly, I forgot about my obligation to avoid enjoying life more than anyone else.

  9. Ron K. says:

    Have you tried almond flour instead of almond butter in this recipe? If so, is there any difference in the finished product?

    I have changed from Morton Salt to Celtic Sea Salt (light grey). It has more mineral “goodies” than Morton and tastes better. Might be worth trying in some of your recipes.

    Also when doing a nasal rinse it does not burn my nose like the Morton Salt does.

    We’re going to try it with home-ground almond flour next to keep the cost down.

  10. Sol y Sombra says:

    Looks really yummy, Tom! One question though: since almond butter is not available in my country and I don’t want to use peanut butter, would regular butter from cow’s milk work just as well, what do you think? I guess not, but still, any chance?

    The almond butter is what gives it the bulk. You could try grinding almonds into flour and adding butter as the oil.

  11. John Craenen says:

    Looks delicious Tom. I hope the decision to make a sandwich wasn’t an emotional reaction to your football team performing badly. I love the deep orange hue in the egg yolk. Looks like your team/flock of hens are performing well.

    Naw, I was rooting for the Packers. The Titans also beat the Steelers on Thursday, which shocked and delighted me.

  12. Per Wikholm says:

    Funny, if I didn’t read this American blog I would have missed this absurd news from Sweden.

    But there is good news also from the kingdom of Sweden. Our capitol Stockholm City has efter only one day of intense protests againsed the imposed ban on butter i schools retrieted and are going to start serving butter agian. You’ll find the story on my Facebook Wall or on Andreas Eenfelds Swedish site kostdoktorn.se (Google translate it). The Stockholm politicians made their U-turn after Swedens biggest morningpaper had conducted a web poll showing that 89% of the almonst 17 000 respondets were pro butter in schools.

    Now that’s progress.

  13. Per Wikholm says:

    Tom, on this subject You have to realize Scandinavian culture. The rule that no one deserves better than anyone else actually has a name in Scandinavia, it’s called “The Law of Jante”, read obout on Wickipedia here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_Jante

    But who thought this rule was a good idea and why?

  14. Ulfric says:

    Update (From The Local, Swedish news in English) :
    A lunch lady whose food was “too good” for students at a Swedish school will be able to continue offering her tasty concoctions after local authorities said the episode was a “misunderstanding” — an explanation that doesn’t sit well with the cook.

    “It feels like a stab in the back,” Annica Eriksson, the cook at Vikaskolan in Falun, told The Local.

    …snip…

    At the meeting, held Monday afternoon, Eriksson was told by the nutrition project leader Katarina Lindberg that local authorities would not stand in the way of her aspirations to offer pupils home-made bread and fresh vegetables.

    “Annica misunderstood us, of course she can bake her own bread,” Lindberg told The Local.

    Apparently Ms. Eriksson misinterpreted clear instructions to stop as clear instructions to stop.

  15. Bruce says:

    Regarding the Sweden story.
    Wouldn’t it be nice in these types of situations to find out what and how the other person is doing and try to copy their program and maybe (god forbid) improving on it?

    The mentality of “you are doing it better then everyone else so stop it” befuddles me.

    Some people suffer from serious envy issues.

  16. eddie watts says:

    looks very tasty, wonder if peanut butter would work too?

    I dunno. I don’t eat peanuts, so I haven’t tried that.

  17. Cat H. says:

    I make this recipe, but use baking soda and lemon juice instead of baking powder and water. Works great every time. Mixing in some rosemary and shredded cheddar is yummy as is some cocoa powder and cinnamon!

    Cheesy bread. That sounds good.

  18. Rebecca says:

    Oh that looks amazing! Definitely going to make it 🙂 I love the onion bagel idea! I certainly miss bagels and cream cheese or bagels with egg, cheese and ham. Sometimes I miss just being able to put together something quick esp. for breakfast. This would be great for the mornings.

    Back in the day, I ate low-carb bagels that were made from soy flour and other garbage. These would be much better.

  19. Brian says:

    That must be expensive bread if you need a whole jar of almond butter each time. Looks good though.

    It’s not a cheap way to make bread. For our next experiment, we’ll try home-ground almond flour. We buy almonds from Costco at pretty reasonable prices.

  20. Gerard Pinzone says:

    You forgot one to mention one thing… How does it taste? Does it taste like bread at all? I’ve made those “Cleochatra’s Oopsie Rolls” and they are pretty good as buns. Some tips for those: get hamburger bun trays and grease them before use. A stand mixer for beating the whites in a stainless steel bowl is recommended. Don’t overcook. Use wax/parchment paper to keep them from sticking to each other.

    Not surprisingly, it tastes a bit nutty.

  21. Danny says:

    Oh hey, a “you didn’t build that” reference. Cute.

  22. Stefan says:

    Haha.. well here in Sweden we have something called “Jantelagen” (unwritten “law”) which is based on the old Lutheran traditions, that if you” put your head up from the crowd you will be pushed/pulled down”, and “you should never think (ever) that you are better than the rest of us”.

    Luckily these old traditions are (hopfully?) dying with the older generation..

    Nice blog btw! 😉

    In our country, some people want that unwritten law to be written law.

  23. Chris says:

    The first part of your post reminds me of a similar situation at work a few years ago. My old boss’s wife used to make these delicious desserts and he would bring them in to share at our monthly staff meetings. He once brought in creme brulee for everyone and even scorched the top with a propane torch (this was before I started eating low carb). Then somone in another program found out about our bounty and complained. My boss was told to cease and desist on the treats (folks in the other program groups were feeling left out, awww). Also reminds me of a great quote from The Incredibles: “If everyone is special then no one is!”

    Some folks are only happy as long as everyone is equally deprived.

  24. Anna says:

    Hey Tom, thanks for sharing your bread results. I have done a lot of experimenting with grain-free breads and, while my bread is still far from perfect, I have been getting a better rise, which was my problem at the beginning. Using a smaller loaf pan really helps, not just by changing the shape of the bread, but somehow the dynamics of the smaller pan seem to help boost the bread. A medium loaf pan works best (but dimensions of the pans are not standard and are all over the place). Also, I got great improvements by adding about a tablespoon of psyllium husk to the batter.

  25. Chuck Currie says:

    Sweden, and ever more so, the U.S., suffers from TPS (Tall Poppy Syndrome).

    Have you checked out FTA’s “Fat Bread”? Similar to what you came up with. The problem I have with nut breads, other than the high n-6, is, if you don’t crack and grind the nuts yourself, the chances of getting moldy, mycotoxin laden nuts is very high – almost impossible not to.

    I think our desire for, and love of, bread is in our DNA. I haven’t had a slice of bread in over four years, yet the smell of fresh baked bread – especially French bread, which the local market likes to place at the head of the check-out line – is almost too much to resist. I can empathize with crack addicts.

    Cheers

    The smell of bread made my mouth water for quite awhile after going low-carb, but reading “Wheat Belly” cured me of that reaction.

  26. Marilyn says:

    That Swedish thing is a good example of “you don’t enrich the poor by impoverishing the rich.”

  27. Shari Bambino says:

    To make any nut butter all you need is nuts and a food processor. Dump nuts and let the food processor do its thing. In about 7-10 minutes you’ll have a nice smooth butter. No need to add anything.

    I really like the recipe from Against All Grains which is very similar but with a little bit of coconut flour. I’ll give this one a try later today though. Looks great!

  28. Ulfric says:

    I guess I’m not bored enough with low-carb eating to try to make pretend bread.
    I guess if I craved bread then it might be wise to fool myself with pretend bread … I guess.

  29. Janet says:

    16 oz. of almond butter. Yikes. I can buy it fresh ground in my town (SO DELICIOUS and grainy good) and that would cost me about $15.00 just for the almond butter. Ha. I will have to try and find the jarred variety and give this recipe a whirl. Makes my mouth water. Especially for some french toast taste.

    It’s not a cheap loaf. That’s why we’re going to try almond flour next.

  30. Nathan says:

    I recently made cookies using almond butter. I used splenda though.

  31. Farside says:

    Your recipe reminds me of a pound cake, an almond pound cake.

  32. Steven says:

    It is human nature to want to take away from others what you yourself do not have. Goes in to the ‘Do not covet your neighbors wife’ (extends to house and donkey/ass) of the ten commandments. The problem is not wanting/coveting something similar to what your neighbor has, or aspiring to attain similar status. The problem is wanting exactly the thing they have, which might only be accomplished by taking it from them.

    Indeed. We’ve now had generations of politicians who owe their careers to that desire.

  33. Nice loaf, but what we really want is a low fat cheetos recipe.

    Low fat? Surely you jest.

  34. Chris says:

    Hi Tom,

    What’s your opinion on the “you are what you eat eats” Michael Pollan philosophy? One can try to avoid grains, but the reality is most animals are probably eating grains. Do you think that there is still a benefit to the Paleo philosophy if the meat and eggs come from animals that may have eaten grains?

    I appreciate your opinion.

    Thank you!

    Chris

    I don’t believe eating meat from a cow that ate grains is the same as eating grains, no. While the fatty acid balance in grass-fed meat is better for us, I don’t believe eating corn-fed meat is harmful … just not as beneficial.

  35. DePaw says:

    As nut butter is made from nut flour and fat, could you not make the bread from nut flour, fat, eggs, and baking powder rather than making nut butter first? As that seems to be how all low-carb bread was made until recently it changed to nut butters.

    Also did you see my blog post and the fallout on the FatHead facebook group?

    http://mostlymeatiswhatieat.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/mucous-not-glucose-deficiency.html
    http://www.facebook.com/groups/57440891958/permalink/10151445388286959/

    Jaminet really dug his own grave saying not all low/zero-carbers get ‘glucose deficiency’, this by definition means that it’s not the lack of carbs causing the problem but something else, as if it was the lack of dietary carbs in of themselves causing the ‘glucose deficiency’ then everyone would get it.

    To be honest, I read don’t pages that consist of white text on a black background. Those drive my eyes buggy.

  36. Marilyn says:

    ‘Guess you didn’t need to grease the pan with a whole jar of almond butter in the recipe. 🙂

    We still greased the pan as a precaution. Probably overkill.

  37. Laurie says:

    If anything I was thinking she was years younger than me. It shocked me when I realized we’re the same age…. I don’t want her mad at me, tha’s fo sho! 😛

    I didn’t think you were almost 40 either, so you’re even.

  38. Becky says:

    sorry to be a stalker but do you have a good recipe for almond flour @ home? I’ve been trying and winding up almond butter instead of almond flour.

    Chareva just buys big bags of raw almonds and grinds them in the Bullet.

  39. @Sol y Sombra

    If you really want to order almond butter, you can try such websites as iHerb.com or Vitacost.com as they both ship almost anywhere in the world. I live in Israel and order from these sites regularly.

  40. Elwin Ransom says:

    Hmmm. Looking forward to your solution to the recipe. (Maybe substitute almond flour and a touch of coconut oil?)

    Oh, and you are the MASTER of simile! (Or is that a metaphor? I always get those two confused…)

    🙂

  41. Firebird says:

    Swedes took to the streets to protest for the return of butter to the schools?! There must not be any reality TV over there to create a diversion.

    Maybe the whole incident was created so they could film it for TV… ?

  42. Austin says:

    I’ve had moderate success with flax bread and almond pizza crusts. I suppose this is successful because despite the “butter” name, it’s still comprised of finely ground almonds, which… whaddaya know… is exactly what almond flour is. I’ll definitely have to try this! The flax taste is something I’m not always quite in the mood for.

  43. Pamela Martyn says:

    Since seeing your film and researching incessantly, this LCHF way of life has well, literally, changed my life. Someday I’d love to tell you about it, but for now, just a big THANKS to you Tom.

    I made a bread similar, using Cashew butter today, and it’s a bit dense for my taste. I’ve experimented with quite a few different recipes, as my husband requires a decent vehicle for his meat and cheese at lunch, and always return to this recipe:
    http://www.lowcarbshighfat.com/2012/03/lchf-bread-recipe.html
    It’s a delicious loaf made with cottage cheese, greek yogourt, ground almonds, eggs, fibre husk–to name a few ingredients. It’s great toasted as well.
    And as for it being “imitation bread”, there’s nothing imitation about it. Who says bread has to be made up of yeast and flour anyways? I think adding as many alternatives to this way of eating, makes it easier to stick to it. I for one, am never looking back.

    It wouldn’t work for the paleo crowd because of the dairy, but it looks good.

  44. Jim says:

    Tom, tired the bread last night … this just improved my efforts significantly! Thanks!

  45. Ryan says:

    Hello Tom, reading the comments today reminded me of a question I’ve been meaning to see if you could give your opinion on. I assume you don’t have the to be coaching everybody’s personal questions so I understand if you cant. I’ve been reading your blog for awhile, watched your movie, been eating a paleo/low carb diet for a about 2 years now and Im down to a weight that I feel good at (was never really fat), healthy and strong. I know that you, and most of the readers here follow a very low carb or no carb diet, but I figure I would rather ask here then somewhere that I would definitely be given the answer that I wanted. Im a pretty active person, a few longer workouts a week, training for possibly the police academy in the near future (hopefully), and In my down time I like to kayak fish, walk the dog, hunt with the dog etc, so basically Im always moving. Do you think that incorporating starchy carbs into my diet would be detrimental to my overall health? Because I do feel like I perform better and feel better when I do. But should that not be the case, should I up calories and keep the carbs low. I feel fine doing moderate activity without them but when I really start to train I do not. Im only 22 years old but having past experiences with bone cancer in high school, chemo the whole 9 yards, I try to look down the road here, in regards to health health and other majors problems I would rather not encounter. So basically what I am asking is, weight loss factors aside, is my usual meals of steak or eggs, vegetables and a carb mostly sweet, sometimes white potato or white rice accompanied with a fair serving of butter or coconut oil, (rarely any fruit) bad for my overall health down the line?
    It would be great of I could get your input on this, thank you.

    As Drs. Volek and Phinney spell out in the “The Art and Science of Low-Carbohydrate Performance,” it’s possible to become keto-adpated to the point where you perform just as well without carbohydrates, but if that’s not your goal, I don’t see why someone in your position couldn’t enjoy a sweet potato or some rice.

    If cancer is still a concern for you, I’d keep the portions low, however. Cancer can only feed on fructose and glucose, so a ketogenic diet may be an anti-cancer diet.

  46. Dave, RN says:

    Try tapioca bread. You can get it on Amazon…

    We did have a situation like this years ago at my kids school. Nobody was allowed to bring cupcakes to school to celebrate calls birthdays. Why? Becuase it wan’t “fair” that one class had cupcakes and the others didn’t.

  47. Rebecca Foxworth says:

    First, the equality of bread in schools. Now…a maximum wage? Stop the madness.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=10840939

    There’s an old curse: May you live in interesting times. Welcome to interesting times.

  48. DePaw says:

    Then copy the text into word?

  49. DebbieC. says:

    Pamela, I’m with you on the “And as for it being “imitation bread”, there’s nothing imitation about it. Who says bread has to be made up of yeast and flour anyways?” comment and I totally agree. It’s made of real food and therefore it’s REAL, not “imitation” anything. I got into a fight with Kurt Harris at his blog, before and he disallowed comments (and before he stopped posting, apparently). He had a blog post about how terrible it was that people wanted to make “imitation” foods like bread and pancakes. And it really yanked my chain. As I put it, if a pancake is made from flaxmeal or coconut flour or almond flour it’s not “imitation” anything. It’s merely a flaxmeal or coconut or almond flour pancake, and just as real as any other food made from real ingredients. Kurt didn’t agree with me but I still think his post was ridiculous.

    I use a recipe almost identical to this one occasionally:
    1 cup almond butter
    3 eggs
    1 T vinegar
    1/2 tsp. baking soda
    1/4 tsp. salt

    It rises nicely, makes a great loaf which holds together well, can be thinly sliced, toasted. Makes great sandwiches and French toast. I don’t make it often but it’s nice for a change.

    It works well with peanut butter but I try to avoid legumes. I haven’t tried macadamia nut butter but if anyone tries it remember that macadamias are deadly for dogs. I won’t try it myself as I have a dog who tries to eat anything not nailed down and I know she would love the bread.

  50. Antonio says:

    wow! a loaf of fake bread costing more than $10. there’s something wrong with this picture no?

    It’s certainly not a cheap loaf.

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