Salt-free bread

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Blood pressure friendly bread

Blood pressure friendly bread


Bread is an important part of our diet because it is high in carbohydrates and fibre, low in fat and a good source of energy.  Unfortunately, most manufactured bread you buy in bakers or supermarkets contains large amounts of salt - acting to raise your blood pressure.

While it is true that the salt content of some of the sliced breads has been reduced, they still contain 0.4 to 0.5 grams of sodium per 100 grams of bread (that's the same as 1.0 gram of salt per 100 grams).  This means that 1 slice of bread (40 grams) contains ½ gram of salt and that 6 slices of bread contain 3 grams of salt which is more that half the recommended intake for the whole day.


How you can cut down on salt in bread

If you eat bread and wish to cut your salt intake to 6g or less per day, you need to find bread that contains much less salt.

There are two alternatives:

  • Ask your local baker to make a batch of bread without salt
  • Make your own salt-free bread

Ask your local baker to make a batch of bread without salt

Many small bakers will do this – usually a batch of 5 or 10 loaves; choose your favourite bread, but ask them to make it without salt. 

Try to collect the bread when absolutely fresh, slice it, freeze it and take it out when required.  It can either be put in the toaster or left to defrost at room temperature.  Defrosting it in the microwave will dry it out.


Make your own salt-free bread

You can do this either by hand (which is quite time consuming) or using a breadmaker (which is much quicker and easier).  Using a breadmaker will make a loaf from start to finish in around three hours and, apart from adding the ingredients and setting the controls, no further work is needed. 

Alternatively, you can use the breadmaker for mixing and proving the dough only and then bake the bread in a conventional oven or you can mix and let the bread rise yourself (proving).

Whether you make it yourself or in the breadmaker, the recipe is identical.


Important bread making tips

  • Always use strong bread flour.  If you want to use flour that does not have such a high gluten content such as wholemeal or granary flour, mix 2/3 of wholemeal or granary flour with 1/3 of white strong flour.
  • Fresh yeast is hard to find (a few bakers and health shops do sell it).  By far the easiest yeast to use is the fast action bread yeast and this can be added straight to the flour without having to activate it first.
  • Always use warm water for mixing but not hot, i.e. it should be pleasantly warm to the hands.
  • Experiment by taking your favourite recipe and adding nuts, dried fruit, bran, wholegrains, seeds, wheat, onion, garlic, etc, to the dough.
  • If you are not using a breadmaker, after mixing the dough it should be put in a warm place until is has approximately doubled in size (proving).  This will take a variable amount of time, usually from ½ to 1 hour.

You can use any bread recipe, but here are three well tried recipes (g = grams):


Wholemeal bread, makes 1 loaf or 12 slices

Ingredients:

  • 300g wholemeal flour
  • 150g strong white flour
  • 1 sachet (7g) fast action bread yeast
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil/ rapeseed oil
  • ½ pint warm water

Method

Place the flours in a large bowl together with the yeast, olive oil and warm water.  Mix to a dough adding a little bit more water or flour if necessary.  Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead for 5-10 minutes, until smooth and elastic.  Leave in a warm place until it has doubled in size (about 30 minutes).

Turn out the dough and knead again for a few minutes. Lightly oil a 450g loaf tin or baking tray and shape the dough to fit the tin or make an oblong shape and place on the tray. Leave it for about 10 minutes.

Heat the oven to 220C (Gas mark 7) and bake for 30-40 minutes until golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped underneath. Cool on a wire tray.

If the bread is not eaten on the same day it is a good idea to slice it when absolutely fresh and freeze it.

The same recipe applies if using a breadmaker - place all the ingredients in the container, choose a programme and let the machine do the work.


Fruit Loaf, makes 1 loaf or 12 slices

Ingredients:

  • 450g strong white flour
  • ½ pint warm water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil/ rapeseed oil
  • 1 ½ sachet (10.5g) fast action bread yeast
  • a pinch of ground cinnamon
  • 100g dried apricots
  • 50g dried dates
  • 100g dried raisins

Method

Chop the fruit finely by hand or in a food processor to the size you like.

Place the flour in a large mixing bowl together with the yeast, water, olive oil, cinnamon and chopped fruit. Mix to a dough.

Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Leave in a warm place until it has doubled in size (about 1 hour).

Turn out the dough and knead again for a few minutes. Lightly oil a baking sheet and shape the dough to an oblong. Leave in a warm place for 30 minutes.

Heat the oven to 220C (Gas mark 7) and bake the bread for 30 minutes. Cool on a wire tray.

This bread is also suitable for the bread maker, using the speciality bread programme.


Naan Bread, makes 6 naan bread

Ingredients:

  • 150ml tepid fully skimmed milk
  • 1 sachet (7g) fast action yeast
  • 150 ml low fat yoghurt
  • 450g strong white flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil/ rapeseed oil
  • 1 egg lightly beaten

Method

Place the flour in a large bowl together with the milk, yeast, oil, yoghurt and egg. Mix to a dough, adding more flour if necessary.

Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead for 5-10 min, until smooth and elastic. Leave in a warm place until it has doubled in size.

Turn out the dough and knead again for a few minutes. Divide into 6 balls (approximately small tennis ball size).

Heat the oven to the highest temperature and put the baking tray to heat in the oven.

Take one ball and roll it into a tear-shaped naan, about 25cm long by 13cm wide.

Remove the hot tray from the oven and place the naan on it. Put it into the oven immediately for 3 minutes or until it puffs up.

Remove from the oven and wrap in a clean tea towel to keep warm. Make all the naans in the same way and eat hot.

Naans can be frozen. To use them from frozen put in toaster or oven or lightly fry in olive oil/rapeseed oil. To add flavour, put chopped coriander leaves, cumin seeds, or chopped onions and chilli.

This bread is also suitable for the bread maker, using the dough programme only.



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