The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

really Low Carb simple Flaxseed Bread--worth trying!

in_quest's picture

really Low Carb simple Flaxseed Bread--worth trying!

Sacrilege, I know, but I've pretty much abandoned the sumptuous delights of artisan sourdoughs for the advantages of LCHF lifestyle. It's been working well for almost a year, and has improved many of my lab test results related to the insulin-stimulating carbs that most bread lovers unknowingly imbibe, often en route to unhealthy metabolic syndrome (even despite a good BMI) or type 2 diabetes. Feeling so much better, consistently, justifies the sacrifice for me.

How I miss good bread (actually any bread), though. So I was so happy to discover The PK Cookbook: PK bread recipe by Dr. Sarah Myhill. See also YouTube: A Quick Method For Making Delicious Paleo-ketogenic Bread (9m30s). Only 0.4 net carbs/slice! For a low carber, tastes decent; and holds up when thinly sliced.

Have any forum members tried this recipe? She makes the point that this simple mix of freshly ground flax meal, salt, and water rises due to high temperature (oven spring?). I baked my first attempt at 500° F for fist 10 min, and lowered to 425° until internal temp of 205°.

Does anyone have experience with flaxseed (North America) or linseed (Europe)? Specifically, I'm looking for recommendations to eek out any possible improvement to crust and especially, (currently cake-moist and close) crumb.

suave's picture

She the same Sarah Myhill once banned from practicing medicine for selling snake oil?

in_quest's picture

Her bread recipe deserves to be considered on its own merits.

There is substantial controversy among health professionals (always has been), particularly as old school traditions focused on addressing symptoms (usually by big-money pharma) is being challenged by new research-based medicine focused on causes. I'm not a medical professional, but I do allow for informed experts (seemingly ever too slowly) progressing toward better answers. Just as the "pro's" once pronounced the world to be flat, minority heretics challenging that status quo became the majority. Medical paradigms, food pyramids, and bread paradigms do shift.

suave's picture

You mean the same way Kevin Trudeau's medical advice should be considered independent of Kevin Trudeau's financial advice?

in_quest's picture

"I do allow for informed experts..."

"...challenged by new research-based medicine..."

Our better knowledge bases often develop by 1) one or a few or many independent practitioners, based on their personal experiences (enough of them to turn on an internal light bulb or hunch); 2) they try to figure out the hunch well enough to formulate a generalizeable hypothesis; 3) they personally, systematically, informally, then formally, test (and refine, or reject) their hypotheses; 4) others formally test and verify, or reject) those hypotheses, and 5) often develop the next step to advance the theory. I think Myhill's training, professional practice, and empirical research study qualifies her as an informed expert for legitimately advocating for her approaches. Whether they come to be part of accepted practices will be the test of time.

Regardless, you, and this subthread re snake oil and Kevin Trudeau are distractions. The purpose of this topic is only--how to improve the bread recipe.


suave's picture

I don't think I am a distraction at all.  This forum is built on embracing new people and new ideas, but it does not mean we need to blindly accept cockamamie theories of a charlatan attaching herself to the newest dietary fad.

Colin2's picture

If you had simply posted the last three paragraphs of your original post (can anyone suggest ways to improve this interesting flax seed loaf) there could be no conceivable objection.  Of course, any recipe can be considered by itself!  I can enjoy whole-wheat bread without endorsing a century's worth of quackery, bunkum, and hooey around whole grains.

But you didn't limit yourself to discussing the recipe, right?  Your first paragraph uncritically repeats Sarah Myhill's medical claims ("insulin-stimulating carbs that most bread lovers unknowingly imbibe, often en route to unhealthy metabolic syndrome ").  And so, if you're are going to post specific medical/therapeutic claims, on a forum not intended for that purpose, I do think it's appropriate for others to point out that Myhill is a dangerous loon.

Yes, of course. paradigms shift, but it does not logically follow that every loon is right.  

bread1965's picture

I think the reaction above to your post was as much to do who came up with the recipe as much as to the way in which it was presented. You're right that we all need to keep a watchful eye over our health, and we don't at our own peril. And in the same vein should encourage, applaud and support anyone that is working towards that end. Because it sure is a struggle - or can be for many of us.  But lines likes "unknowingly imbibe en route to unhealthy metabolic syndrome or type 2 diabetes" is to imply that most people are blissfully ignorant and came across preachy (to me at least - and I'm sure that wasn't your intention).  As to the rest of it that's where DMP comes in to it with the line "you're entitled to your own opinion, but not your own set of facts".. ;)

Back to the bread.. Well... give it a try - let's see pictures with the crumb shot!!

Would love to hear what you think !  Thanks..


clazar123's picture

Suave, that was a real "shoot-from-the-hip , kill-the-varmint quick" reaction. And everyone else pulled out their six-shooters just because. Everyone, calm down and talk.

As far as "medical experts"- there is a lot of factual information and then there are a lot of assumptions. I have been a nurse for over 40 yrs. and I have seen a lot. Here is a dance on "facts" for your consideration. When I was trained (1972 era), it was in all my textbooks and "common knowledge" that blood was sterile. In common practice, all the nurses would tell you that gloves were not necessary "just" for blood exposure and that the only diseases you could catch from blood were gonorrhea, syphilis and Hepatitis but only if the patient wasn't married and was sexually promiscuous, a prostitute (always female-not male), or not monogamous. (I always wore gloves-how did I know their sexual history?). How far we have come!  There are many "experts" in the current medical environment who will dispute this history but I was there- in a big city teaching hospital using the latest research.  So things labelled "facts" are sometimes opinion or common practice or even some "experts" take on reality.  The word "facts" is often misused.

Why the big reaction? I didn't agree with the original poster on his viewpoint but it was just his opinion and s/he was asking some legitimate questions that I could address as a fellow baker. I did not take it as preachy but I guess it could have been taken as "fake news" and it may be why it engendered the reaction it did. "Fake news" and "alternate reality" have gotten us in trouble, lately. NO POLITICAL VIEW EXPRESSED. 

I didn't think the OP opinion comment rose to the standard of : "All it takes for evil to thrive is for good men to do nothing". I will always dispute evil.

So lighten up. A polite differing of opinion statement from everyone would have been just as effective and more in the spirit of this forum. But what about answering the bread question? I will attempt to do so in another post.


clazar123's picture

I have responded to a number of posts about low carb bread so you might want to search my posts.

HERE is a link in a response for help with Linseed (flax) bread.

ANOTHER LINK  for a keto roll recipe developed. It actually was a tasty bun. Not low in calories but low in carbs.

I reviewed the recipe in the link you provided and I really have difficulty believing a loaf of ground flax seed and water turns out as pictured. There are bubbles present in the crumb shot shown-it really looks leavened with something-either baking soda/powder or yeast. Hard to believe it would leaven to that extent in the short time it is left to sit. Yeast action will occur but not to that extent, IMO.

THE LATEST KETO post I responded to was this one.

So take a look, don't be afraid, use the SEARCH BOX, and ask questions. It works pretty well. Also, check the "Baking for Special Needs" forum in particular.

Many would argue that baking keto bread is "not really bread" but I look at it as "one woman's trash is another woman's treasure". Before wheat-we all ate keto and GF! There is a learning curve that you have just started so be prepared for some experimentation. I hope it is all delicious!

Happy baking!

in_quest's picture

After giving this weirdly simple linseed bread recipe a try, I was affirmed in its potential but discouraged by some of its flaws. So I immediately turned to this forum, which I've read earnestly for a couple decades. Some quick searches didn't reveal success stories with this seemingly too simple set of ingredients, so I started this topic in this Special Needs subforum, self-defined as "to accommodate dietary restrictions be they medical, religious, or philosophical". Here I expected allowance for minority, maybe non pc ideas (e.g., keto, low carb, et. al.)

My academic preference is to document sources, so provided links to the original author’s recipe and video. I am objective enough to realize that all humans are flawed, and that people with whom I may disagree on almost everything, may nevertheless contribute good ideas worth my consideration. Certainly, our world has benefitted greatly from advances created by inventors identified as quacks at the time. Check out They Did Not Give Up. Sarah’s recipe should stand on its own merits, regardless where the efficacy of her evolving medical ideas becomes determined. Our own bread discipline is littered with cries of heresy that later became respected acclaims of awe. My careful research suggests that the traditional SAD food pyramid and its emphases on grains and fruits will be displaced; much new quality research is developing the low carb-high fat theorem and sister approaches, which may ultimately earn priority as the new standard.

As for “insulin-stimulating carbs that most bread lovers unknowingly imbibe, often en route to unhealthy metabolic syndrome (even despite a good BMI) or type 2 diabetes” in this topic’s initial post—my kind intent was positive and encouraging, not to attack. Plus, I expected my post in this forum section would be read by low carb/keto/paleo folks who would be affirmed, not offended by, these words.

I had lived all my long life in pursuit of what I thought were best practices at the time. So it was a jolt when I discovered that my mostly relatively clean living habits and healthy BMI had actually earned lab test markers aligned with metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance! I respect every person’s right to choose one’s own course, but my phrasing was meant to briefly taste on a few concepts that I anticipate we’ll encounter more in the future, and perhaps start to steer some of my revered bread lover family here to ponder if they might be at similar risk.

My guess is that most devoted bread-lovers aren’t aware (I wasn't) how carbs, and especially flours, stimulate insulin production, and potentially, insulin resistance, the underlying case of metabolic syndrome (pre-diabetes) and diabetes. Nor do they know the sobering trend identified in the CDC National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2017. Specifically, they officially estimate that by age 65, 25.2% of the US population suffers from diabetes, and 48.3% from pre-diabetes—that’s a whopping total 73.5%! In health matters, we lose by being ostriches or feigning "fake news"; with an open mind, just google "metabolic syndrome".

Thanks, clazar123, for your Whoa, settle down,all! reply. Until then, I was feeling blindsided under siege.

In conclusion, I wish good health to all my fellow bread-lovers, regardless of your persuasions. I really was looking only for technical bread recipe advice, never wanting this off-track discussion; but if even a single person benefits from it, that’s good, too.

Personally, I’m currently pursuing a ketogenic diet and 16h/8h intermittent fasting cycle. Every few days I choose to cheat a bit, and enjoy a little good artisan bread, or non-keto fruit or ice cream.

DebbieR's picture

Quote: "As for “insulin-stimulating carbs that most bread lovers unknowingly imbibe, often en route to unhealthy metabolic syndrome (even despite a good BMI) or type 2 diabetes” 

Yep!  I stumbled over the IF and LCHF way of eating about a year ago and have been learning about all the damage those innocent potatoes and 'good homemade' bread did to my insulin levels!  

Thanks for the recipe/tips...I really really miss my 'good homemade' bread and have been looking for alternatives.

Melbourne Park's picture
Melbourne Park

I've had type 1 (insulin dependent) diabetes for now 60 years, and I've eaten carbohydrates for all that time. I would just like to mention, that glycemic index - or how quickly the carbohydrates get absorbed and hence effect one's blood sugar level - is very important with type 1 diabetics, and more important for type 2 diabetics. 

So if you make something using 100% plain white flour - it is going to be absorbed quickly into your body. But if you make something that contains flour but has things that take time to absorb into the body, then it takes the remaining white flour much longer to be absorbed into one's body. So if the glycemic index is low, it will absorb slowly. 

A bread with seeds and nuts and roughage in it - that will be a bread with a much lower glycemic index. 

I am looking at buying a grain mill, and I think I'll buy one that can also grind nuts such as almonds into flour. Because the almonds (while very high in calories) have very low carbohydrate. I reckon I might be able to add 5 or 10% almond flour to a dough? Who knows ... who knows ... and by using as high a percentage of the whole grain (by milling it myself) as I can get away with and still have a decent bread - I'll slow down the time it takes to effect my blood sugar. And also by adding some seeds etc as well. 

Zero carbohydrate diets do work. But don't forget, that while a food may have zero carbohydrates, it doesn't mean that it does not have high calories. And while a zero carbohydrate diet might work, high levels of protein put a large load on one's kidneys. I'm looking for a balanced life. As well as a low glycemic index loaf of bread that tastes good. And if its lower in carbohydrate, that would be even better, but I know if it's not good to eat, then I probably will be tempted by something else. 

in_quest's picture

Frankly, this is the only recipe I've ever found after almost a year of searching, that actually looked like it might perform somewhat like "real" bread, while yielding the most friendly keto stats of any bread I've encountered. I had to try it.

Its appeal to low carbers is its incredible keto macro ratios: 0.4 g net carbs, 4.6 g protein, 10.5 g fat, 133 kCal (based on 10x 1-slice servings / loaf; it's easy to slice it thinner). Macros are as important to serious keto'ers as spreadsheets and gram scales to bread bakers.

Keto'ers trying to slim down typically target a daily limit of only 20 g net carbs (a huge challenge), 40-50 g protein (can be a challenge), and ~70% of kCal in fat. Ratios are somewhat less difficult for those simply maintaining weight/BMI, but net carbs are always kept low. (For comparison, a 2 oz slice of Giant Eagle, Sourdough Artisan Bread has 24 g net carbs. Most keto bread recipes have 3-4 g net carbs, lots of protein (usually from eggs), and poor crust and crumb.)

I think the links I provided to the original author's recipe and video are sufficiently complete and convenient for reference. My only tweak was starting with a 500° F oven, and lowering to 425° after 10 min until 210°. As Bread1965 requested, I've attached a photo. Based on the ingredients, I wasn't surprised at its tight crumb; it shrunk somewhat during cooling, and it's heavy and too moist---like cake. It tastes pretty good.

Its author, while making no claim to be an expert baker, credibly experimented and refined her recipe over 6 months, which is probably why the crumb in her photo (also attached) looks much better. BTW, color difference is due to my use of brown seeds; she used golden.

What I'm hoping is that some forum members, with their substantial knowledge, experience, and wisdom, could recommend technique or recipe improvements to achieve better crumb without sacrificing its current macro ratios. As clazar123 postulated, maybe baking soda/powder or yeast. Perhaps gums, psyllium husk powder, or other additives? bulk fermentation-proofing with times? Mixing, shaping technique, temperature refinements, dutch oven?

(I’m just starting to study the links clazar123 offered in her reply. Many look promising.) For me, when possible, recommendations for this recipe that guide me with amounts for starting my trials, in addition to the ingredient or technique, would help a lot.

my rough 1st attempt

original author's photo
clazar123's picture

Sorry to say but that is a SAD looking loaf. I am still amazed it looks even like it does but there is a long way to go.

That dough needs some structure. Gum,psyllium, eggs, starch....something. Start with the other recipes and use the ingredients and amounts as guidelines. Devise a recipe, mix, bake, take notes. Repeat until happy. Post often. That would be the drill when you are starting from scratch.