This is our version of the no-knead “life-changing loaf of bread” recipe, which is the best gluten-free vegan bread recipe if you love dark chewy whole grain seeded bread, like German brown bread (Vollkornbrot) or the Mestemacher brands of bread. It is wonderful on its own, and exquisite dressed up with some vegan cheese, nut butter, or jam. And it’s oh-so-healthful, nutritious and good for you. And, it’s very easy to make and to customize and make your own. So while we think that ours is the best version, feel free to switch out the sliced almonds for some other nut, to change out some of the sunflower seeds for other seeds, etc.. Do understand that this is not sandwich bread, it’s a dense, dark brown bread that is about two inches tall.
There are a few versions of “the Amazing Life-Changing Loaf of Bread”, but Sarah Britton is credited for bringing the original to Internet attention, back in 2013. On her My New Roots site, Sarah, who goes by Sarah B., says that this bread has changed her life (hence the title), explaining that “It wasn’t until I went for lunch at a friend’s place a couple weeks ago that my life changed. When I walked into her apartment I could smell it. Something malty and definitely baked, toasty, nutty… when I rounded the corner to her kitchen, there it was. A very beautiful loaf of bread, pretty as a picture, studded with sunflower seeds, chia and almonds, golden around the corners and begging me to slice into it.” Which is a fabulous description!
We’ve made Sarah’s original recipe, as well as someone else’s variation. And the problem that we have with them is that the bread is not cohesive. Seeds flake off it like snow in a snow globe, and slices may or may not stay together. Now maybe it’s because we are baking at altitude (and with attitude :~) ), being a mile high (5280 feet above sea level), but while the bread was very tasty, it also is very messy. In fact when you turn it out of the pan seeds fly everywhere. Nor does it stay together when you want to spread something on it (unless you slice it into really thick slices). So we set out to solve those problems. And we have. Not only that, but we think that we’ve improved the recipe overall, both in changing some of the ingredients, and also the methodology. But you be the judge. :~)
Now, the best thing in which to bake this bread is a silicone loaf pan. After extensive research we ended up with this silicone bread pan as it was the best one and had the best price. The little ‘feet’ along the side allow it to stabilize, which is helpful given that otherwise the silicone sides are not very supportive. However if you don’t have one, you can use a regular loaf pan, but line it with parchment paper so the bread won’t stick and, as importantly, so you can lift it out of the pan.
Things that you may want to know ahead of time: you will need either psyllium husks or psyllium powder for this recipe. You also will need to let the dough sit for at least 4 hours before baking it (you can let it sit as long as overnight if you want to).
Our Version of the Amazing Life-Changing Loaf of Bread
1/2 cup flax seeds
1 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup dried fruit (raisins, chopped dried apricots, whatever you like!)
2 Tablespoons chia seeds
3 Tablespoons psyllium powder (or 4 Tablespoons psyllium husks)
1 teaspoon salt (optional)
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (in other words uncooked oatmeal but not quick oats* and not steel-cut oats)
2 Tablespoons molasses (ideally blackstrap)
3 Tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 cup water at room temperature
1 cup boiling or very hot water
If using a metal bread pan line it with parchment paper wide enough to hang over the sides; if using a silicone loaf pan no preparation is necessary. Do not grease either type of pan.
Put the flax seeds in a small bowl and add the 1/2 cup of room-temperature water; stir and set aside.
Put the molasses and coconut oil in a heat-proof bowl or a large (more than 2-cup) Pyrex measuring cup, pour in the 1 cup of boiling water, stir, and let sit.
While the above are sitting, put all of the rest of the ingredients in a medium mixing bowl, and whisk until well-mixed.
Now whisk the molasses, coconut oil, and water mixture together, and once the coconut oil is fully melted whisk in the flax seed mixture. Once you have the liquid and flax seeds fully blended pour it into the dry ingredients. Use a large spoon (do not try to use your whisk!) to mix the dough until it is fully mixed.
Using the spoon, spoon the dough into the bread pan and smooth the top so it is smooth and even.
Loosely cover the pan with foil (use a piece of foil large enough to wrap the loaf in after it’s done cooking so that you only need to use one piece of foil for both purposes), and let the dough sit in the pan, on your counter, for at least 4 hours. If you prefer, you can put it in your fridge overnight and bake it the next morning or next day.
Once you are ready to bake it, bake at 350° for 55 to 60 minutes, until it starts to sound hollow-ish when you thump it, and the edges have browned a bit.
Remove from the oven, let cool for 10-20 minutes, and then remove from the pan and let it finish cooling completely on a rack. Do not slice into it until it’s fully cooled.
Once it’s fully cooled go ahead and have a piece! Store the rest tightly wrapped in foil in your fridge.
Once you’ve made this so that you know how it’s supposed to turn out, feel free to switch it up to make it your own, just keep the proportions, so 1 cup of seeds, 1/2 cup of nuts total, 1/4 cup of dried fruit.
*If you prefer a smoother type of bread you can actually use quick oats, we’ve done both.
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5 thoughts on “Our Version of the Gluten-Free Vegan No-Knead Life-Changing Loaf of Bread (We think it’s the best yet!)”
Do you use the flax seed whole or ground? Seems like ground would help keep the loaf together? I know our bodies cannot digest flax whole, not even sure you can soak them and get any benefit without grinding, so I’m very curious. Looking forward to trying this recipe!!
Hi Jo! It’s whole flax seed; we’ve thought of trying it with ground though, so if you do please let us know how it turns out!
Hi! This looks amazing. What could I use as a substitute for the psyllium?
Hi Patty! There really is no one-to-one substitute for psyllium, however if it were us we would try 2 extra tablespoons each of flax seed and chia seed. Good luck and let us know how it turns out!
That bread looks so yummy. I love seeded bread.