Pumpkin Spice Buckwheat Bake

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This recipe is adapted from my sister-in-law, Alysia’s recipe for Buckwheat Bake.

She adapted hers from a friend’s recipe.

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It’s made with buckwheat groats. You just simply grind them into flour in your blender. I’m not sure why they don’t just use buckwheat flour…I’ll have to ask her that the next time I see her. It does have a different color than the buckwheat flour I have in my pantry. Buckwheat flour when cooked takes on a bit of a purple-ish hue, these buckwheat groats do not. But I must say, there was something very satisfying about making my own flour. I have a Vitamix so it went from seed to flour in under 20 seconds.

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You grind the flour, add the salt, water, and chopped nuts before you go to bed. Stir, cover, and let it do its thing while you get your rest. That’s why I don’t have any prep pictures for you. I thought I’d spare you the terrible late night lighting.

Have you read up on why it’s so important to soak nuts? It’s enlightening. For those of you who have issues with nuts, that could very possibly be a thing of the past if you soak them.

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I’ll be honest, I had my doubts about this recipe. So far I have not been very impressed with grain free baking.

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But this has me surprised and excited…and relieved that it is absolutely delicious! And also very good-looking without being doctored up. So many grain free recipes I’ve run across, I can tell they’re being doctored with other items to hide the unsavory texture or color.

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There’s all kinds of sneaky secrets in food blogging and photography. That’s annoying to me and you can always count on me to be honest with you. This is SO versatile. You can add any type of nut, coconut, grated carrots, probably grated zuchini…sweet potato, all different kinds of spices and dried fruits, chocolate, banana, garlic, herbs, sun-dried tomatoes…the options are endless.

It also has me wondering if you can bake it in two bread pans, slice it, and bake it again for biscotti…hmmm…or made in a french bread pan with savory add-ins as more of an artisan baguette…an interesting idea for later.

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My sister-in-law adds syrup, nuts, raisins, and cinnamon to hers. Her friend is more of a purist and prefers hers plain.

What I love about it is that it can easily be made sweet or savory.

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The texture reminds me a little of carrot cake. Dense but not too dense, a nice crumb, but doesn’t fall apart the minute you touch it like many grain free items.

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And for you non-grain purists, please remember that Buckwheat is related to sorrel and rhubarb and comes from the seeds of a flowering plant. It is not a grass and is therefore, not a grain. A fantastic option for grain free eating. Hallelujah and amen. No coconut flour or almond meal  here.

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Pumpkin Spice Buckwheat Bake

The night before you want to make the buckwheat bake:

2 1/2 Cups of Organic Buckwheat Groats, ground into flour

3 Cups of Filtered or Bottled Water

1 1/4 to 1 1/2 teaspoons of Sea Salt

1/2 Cup of Organic Walnuts, chopped

Grind the buckwheat groats in a high-speed blender until it turns to flour, pour it into a large bowl and add 3 cups of water, sea salt, and chopped walnuts. Stir to combine and cover with plastic wrap.

The next morning: 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1 Cup of Organic Ground Flax

1 Cup of Organic Raisins

1 teaspoon of Baking Soda

1 Tablespoon of Baking Powder

1/2 Cup of Coconut Sugar

2 1/2 Tablespoons of Pumpkin Pie Spice

1 1/2 teaspoons of Pure Vanilla Extract

Add everything into the wet ingredients and mix well with a wooden spoon. Spread batter into a 9×13 inch baking dish and cook for 23-29 (it will vary depending on the ingredients you use) minutes, or until knife comes out clean. Serve with dairy free butter and organic, raw, honey.

Veggie & Chicken Goat Cheese Melt

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Last weekend at the farmer’s market just down the road from us, we stumbled upon a local goat’s milk cheesemaker.

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He had lots of samples which is always fantastic and I came away with two different types of goat cheese.

A spreadable garlic dill cheese and a goat mozzarella. We used the goat mozzarella on pizza a few days ago and it was delicious. Melted perfectly without being too moist. I think I even prefer it over buffalo mozzarella.

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I decided to use the garlic dill goat cheese and another cheese I found at our local grocery store for the melts. The garlic dill is incredibly flavorful. The dill really stands out and I love the balance of garlic and salt. The Beemster goat cheese tastes similar to a  light swiss cheese.  Alone, or together, they are fabulous.

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I sliced up an onion, pepper, a couple of mushrooms, chopped a clove of garlic, and sautéed them in olive oil.  When they were almost finished I added three chopped sun-dried tomatoes (in oil) and tossed them around until they melted nicely.

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Then I cut a piece of french bread in half and toasted it under the broiler.

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This is such an easy lunch.

I then spread the garlic dill cheese on the toasted bread, added a layer of sautéed veggies, then a few slices of left over chicken breast.

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Then, another layer of veggies, a drizzle of olive oil on each…

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and a generous amount of grated Beemster cheese.

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Popped it under a 500 degree broiler until the cheese started to bubble…

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Easy as that.

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Fabulous and full of flavor. I served mine with a side of spicy mustard.

Delicious!

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Time For Fall ~ Spicy Pumpkin Bread

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It’s getting to be THAT time of year again…

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When pumpkin everything comes onto the scene.

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There’s a hint of crisp air in the breeze, and you begin to get that little tickle for sweaters and your favorite pair of boots.

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The days are getting a tiny bit shorter, school has started, and summer is slowing down.

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And even though we’re trying to hang on to that beautiful warmth and sunlight of summer for as long as possible, we can’t deny that stir within us as the seasons change.

I’m happy we had such a hot and sunny summer here in Washington state. I like all four seasons and I like all of them to be very distinct. It’s hard to transition when they aren’t distinct and one just flows and mixes in with the other.

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We won’t have to worry about that this year. In about another 30 days we’ll picking pumpkins, decorating the porch with corn stalks and hay bales, and enjoying all things pumpkin flavored and fall scented.

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And then sweaters, scarves, and boots. Mmmmm….just cozy!

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Spicy Pumpkin Bread

* This was baked in a 5 cup bread pan which is smaller than an average bread pan

1/2 Cup of Organic Buckwheat Flour

1/2 Cup of Organic Sorghum Flour

1/4 Cup of Arrowroot Flour

1/4 teaspoon of Iodized Sea Salt

2 teaspoons of Baking Soda

1 teaspoon of Baking Powder

1 1/2 Tablespoons of Ground Cinnamon

2 teaspoons of Ground Nutmeg

1/2 (heaping) teaspoon of Ground Cloves

1 Cup of Canned Organic Pumpkin (100% pumpkin, no sweeteners, etc.)

4 Tablespoons of Pure Maple Syrup

2 Organic Eggs

Measure all the dry ingredients into a medium bowl and whisk to combine. In a mixer, measure all of the wet ingredients and mix on medium until thoroughly combined. Add dry ingredients and beat just until incorporated, do not over mix.

Pour batter into a prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees for 35-37 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in pan and then remove and cool completely before slicing.

Grain Free French Bread

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I was  beginning to wonder if it was possible to make grain free french bread.

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Turns out, it  is possible. I had my doubts, but here it is. In fact, when I spread the dough on the pan, I didn’t even bother taking  before pictures because it just didn’t seem possible that it was going to rise and turn into bread. Remember that tidbit if you choose to bake this bread. The small amount of batter and the moistness of it will freak you out.

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I’m not going to say that it’s perfect. The texture is fabulous, the taste is very good both warm and cooled, with or without dairy free butter, but I still think it could use just a little more tweaking to be absolutely perfect.

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When it comes to french bread, the end goal is perfection.

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It has to work well with pasta dishes, olive oil and balsamic, for bruschetta, garlic bread, and make a fantastic crouton. That’s asking a lot of a plain loaf of french bread, but what can I say?

My standards are high.

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I want it to be the recipe that is your “go to” recipe for the best grain free french bread you’ve ever had. That’s what I’m striving for. So as I experiment, I will keep you and this recipe updated. And when I finally think I have the perfect “go to” recipe, then we’ll celebrate.

For now, we’ll just be thankful for french bread that is quite tasty, but not yet perfect.

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Grain Free French Bread

1 1/2 Cups of Organic Sorghum Flour

1/4 Cup of Organic Blanched Almond Flour

3/4 Cup of Tapioca Flour

3/4 to 1 teaspoon of Iodized Sea Salt

1 1/2 teaspoons of Xanthan Gum

1 Cup of Organic Unsweetened Almond Milk, warmed

3 Organic Eggs

1 Tablespoon of Organic Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar

2 Tablespoons of Organic Olive Oil

1 Tablespoon of Organic Raw Honey

1 1/2 Tablespoons of SAF Instant Yeast

Line a french bread loaf pan with parchment and lightly spray with coconut oil. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, add the almond milk, eggs, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, and honey. Mix to combine thoroughly. Sprinkle the yeast on top and set aside.

In a medium bowl measure the flours, salt, and xanthan gum. Whisk to combine. With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour mixture to the wet mixture. Beat on medium for 2 minutes, scraping down sides once.

Spoon batter (it will be very wet and won’t seem like enough), on both sides of bread pan and smooth out into a baguette shape. Lightly spray a piece of plastic wrap with coconut oil and lay over the top of the bread pan. Top with a light tea towel or light dish towel. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Allow to rest on top of stove for 30-35minutes.

Remove towel and plastic wrap and bake for 30-35 minutes or until it is nicely golden and hollow sounding when tapped.

Grain Free Banana Muffins

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I give these banana muffins an 8 on the 1-10 likability scale. The number one being awful and ten being perfect.

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They’re grain free, gluten free (of course), dairy free, and refined sugar free. They’re moist and fluffy. They aren’t overly sweet but they still satisfy that sweet tooth craving and the bread craving that has been dogging me since I went grain free.

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I’m going to be honest with you though.

I’m not loving this grain free adventure I’m on. I find bread items made with just coconut flour and almond flour pretty much unpleasant. Maybe the texture? And I think the fat content, even though I’m using “healthy” fats, freaks me out a little.

And the eggs….holy cow.

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Most grain free recipes call for a TON of eggs. For some reason, that grosses me out too. Every time I’m cracking all of those eggs I can’t help but wonder…”is this really necessary”?

Either my muffin tin is warped or my oven isn't leveled properly...

Either my muffin tin is warped or my oven isn’t leveled properly…

At this point I haven’t tried flax or chia eggs, but believe me, I will. Because using 4-6 organic eggs for a single recipe that turns out nothing like the cookbook picture or sometimes even inedible after I’ve paid anywhere from $3.99 to $5.99 for a dozen organic eggs,  makes me irritable and angry.

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Since I’m not doing a true Paleo diet, I’m going to do some experimenting this week with different non-grain flours such as teff and sorghum along with the almond flour and coconut flour. My goal is to come up with at least 3 different grain free, dairy free, refined sugar free, breads that can be used for toast, sandwiches, and buns.

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Stay tuned, hopefully I’ll have some winners!

For the muffins I used Against All Grains recipe for banana bread. Except of course I used muffin tins, liners (make sure you spray with non-stick spray!), omitted the chocolate chips (but you don’t have to), and reduced the cooking time to 25-30 minutes.

You want them a bit golden on top.

Enjoy!

Forever Searching For That Perfect Sandwich Bread

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Sandwich bread is the number one complaint and the most sought after item by people who are gluten-free and/or grain free. Seriously, I cannot believe with the information and technology we have today that no one has been able to make the perfect gluten-free, grain free, or Paleo sandwich bread. How is this possible?

And don’t go getting too excited, because this post isn’t the post where I tell you I have it all figured out either.

Sorry.

Sifted Almond Flour

Sifted Almond Flour

I constantly search thinking there has to be someone out there who has this all mapped out and is sitting on a revolutionary allergen free sandwich bread . Oh, there are people who think they have it figured out and have shared some decent recipes, and I’ve tried tons. But I have yet to find that one recipe that screams “BREAD!”

I mean come on. They’ve created crazy GMO foods and cloned animals and who knows what else… you’d think someone could come up with the perfect allergen free sandwich bread.

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I too am guilty of putting “the best” or “fabulous” in front of some of my creations. And truth be told, I do feel those are the best or most fabulous of the numerous variations I’ve tried. However, there are those recipes you run across and try that have all of those colorful and hopeful descriptions that leave you scratching your head when they come out of your oven.

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Something else to keep in mind…sometimes for no rhyme or reason you can follow an allergen free recipe exactly and it still won’t turn out like the photo or the comments of the person sharing it. I have no idea why.

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I have recipes that I’ve used for years and years that are consistent and reliable and occasionally people will write me and tell me they’ve followed it exactly and it didn’t turn out the way I said it would. I have no idea how to address that. It would have to fall into the category of what is your definition of “exactly”? Or, I just do not know why. Which is frustrating for people.

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One of my biggest complaints lately is that many of the grain free recipes I’ve tried all have the same texture. In between bread and a muffin or banana bread texture.

Promising because it's a pretty loaf, but still, a low rise.

Promising because it’s a pretty loaf, but still, a low rise.

For some reason, this really irritates me. And after a while, grosses me out. I want to say really? This is it? The BEST sandwich bread? Are we all just so desperate for a decent bread that we have lowered the bar…dramatically?

About half the height of the loaf pan...

About half the height of the loaf pan…

I would say the biggest complaints I have and the biggest complaints I hear from other people are in this order:

1.  It doesn’t rise and is too small

2. The texture is weird. Either grainy or dense or crumbles and falls apart

3. It lacks in flavor

4. It needs to be toasted to be used for sandwiches

5. Too eggy, especially in Paleo bread making

6. Too many uncommon ingredients

7. Too expensive to make (many grain free recipes call for up to 6 eggs! If you’re using organic and it doesn’t turn out, it’s a huge waste of money)

The first words out of my husband's mouth, "it kinda tastes like banana bread...without the banana."

The first words out of my husband’s mouth, “it kinda tastes like banana bread…without the banana.”

But because we are in this together, and you love bread as much as I do, I’ll keep looking. And I’ll share the recipes I create and recipes of others that I’ve tried, because not everyone’s tastes are the same. But, I will always be honest about how I feel about them and why or why not I was or was not impressed.

BLT's with Avocado, Olive Oil Mayo, & Spicy Ground Mustard

BLT’s with Avocado, Olive Oil Mayo, & Spicy Ground Mustard

I tried two “sandwich” bread recipes the other day. One that I created and the other I followed exactly with the exception of 1 ingredient.

We’ll start with the one that I created and I’ll share the other one with you tomorrow.

Toasted it worked well for our lunch. I was fine with one, but because of the small size, my husband had two.

Toasted it worked well for our lunch. I was fine with one, but because of the small size, my husband had two.

Sandwich Bread

Out of 1-10 for toast I rate this bread a 7. Toasts well, holds together, nice texture, good taste, still doesn’t taste like “real” bread but it’s totally livable. Again, size is an issue. Don’t burn it in the toaster, it will make your house smell like popcorn.

Out of 1-10 for sandwich bread un-toasted, I rate it a 2-3 because of small size, muffin/banana bread like texture, and crumble

Out of 1-10 for hot out of the oven slathered with dairy free butter, I rate it a 6 because it’s hard to complain about hot bread right from the oven when you haven’t eaten bread in three weeks 

2 Cups of Almond Flour, sifted

1/3 Cup Flaxseed Meal

1 Tablespoon of Raw Organic Pumpkin Seeds, chopped

1/2 teaspoon of Organic Chia Seeds

1/2 teaspoon of Iodized Sea Salt

1 teaspoon of Baking Soda

1/2 Cup of Arrowroot Powder

4 Tablespoons of Dairy Free Butter, melted

3 Organic Eggs

1 teaspoon of Organic Apple Cider Vinegar

1/2 Cup of Coconut Milk

1 teaspoon of Organic Raw Honey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a loaf pan and line bottom with parchment, set aside.  Sift the almond flour into a medium bowl and add the flaxseed meal, chopped pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, salt, baking soda, and arrowroot powder. Whisk together and set aside.

In a large measuring cup add the coconut milk, apple cider vinegar, and honey. Whisk together and let sit for 5 minutes. Add the eggs and melted dairy free butter and whisk together. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients just until combined. Bake for 35 minutes. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes before removing from pan to cool completely.

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Tuna & Sauerkraut on Paleo Herb Bread

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No, I’m not pregnant.

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We can all breathe a collective sigh of relief over that one. That would be quite the surprise for my upcoming 46th birthday, wouldn’t it?

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Nope, not pregnant but I am craving some interesting things. I told you a few posts ago that I was going to be tweaking my diet some more and trying to battle the Lyme Disease symptoms with food.

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I can tell you that going off of all grains and refined sugar (except for extremely special occasions) makes you crave some interesting things. Like sauerkraut and tuna fish, for some reason.

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I started a Paleo diet last Monday. Today I had finally hit my limit of protein, vegetables, and fruit. So I grabbed my new Against All Grain cookbook and set out to see if I could find something I could sink my teeth into that didn’t crunch, moo, or cluck.

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I found a recipe for her hamburger buns. A little tweaking, and I had the perfect “bread” snack.  I made three little mini sandwich loaves. Lowered the salt, added lots of herbs, and came up with this.

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The reason I’m choosing to try the Paleo (ish) diet is because it is supposed to be very helpful in preventing inflammation, something people with Lyme Disease really struggle with. Inflammation can wreak terrible havoc on your body in so many ways.

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Fermented foods are also excellent for inflammation and the gut.

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And if you haven’t tried Trader Joe’s Skipjack Line Caught Tuna, you should. It’s delicious.

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Add a little olive oil mayo, a little dill, some ground pepper…yummy.

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Then slather the bread with horseradish mustard. So many bold flavors!

But not so bold they outweigh each other.

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I would say the texture is in between bread and a biscuit if that’s possible. Very tasty and stayed together quite nicely until the last couple of bites. I would say it’s probably best if you’re going to use it for a sandwich to use it the day you bake it. Otherwise, it will probably need to be toasted to stay together.

It did satisfy my grain craving. For today anyway.

I’ve already been thinking I may bake a batch in the morning without the herbs. I’m thinking it would be delicious warm with whipped coconut oil and medicinal honey.

I’ll let you know!

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Mini Herb Sandwich Loaves

1 1/2 Cups Raw Organic Cashews

3 Organic Eggs

3/4 teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar

1/4 Cup Organic Unsweetened Almond Milk

1/4 Cup Spectrum Shortening

1/3 Cup Coconut Flour

1/3 Cup Blanched Almond Flour

1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt

1 teaspoon Baking Soda

1 1/2 teaspoons Fresh Rosemary, chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons Fresh Thyme, chopped

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 Tablespoon Almond Milk – for brushing on tops of loves

Braggs Organic Sprinkle – for seasoning tops of loaves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Place the cashews in a food processor and process until ground into course crumbs, about 20 seconds.

Add the eggs, vinegar, almond milk, and shortening. Process until smooth. Add the flours, salt, and baking soda. Process again until smooth. Spoon into three even mounds on parchment paper and smooth into loves with wet hands.

Brush tops of loaves with almond milk and sprinkle with the Bragg’s seasoning. Bake for 35 minutes.