Caraway seeds are approximately 2 mm long, have five pale ridges and are also known as meridian fennel, Persian fennel, wild cumin, and Roman cumin. Oh that gets confusing… caraway…fennel…cummin… It really is true when they say that good things come in small packages (I mean look at me… hehe). Caraway seeds contain more than 50 healing compounds which studies show can help fight all kinds of health problems.
I did some studying on caraway and one thing that kept jumping out at me was digestion! I always thought that caraway was just used in savory dishes, but it can be also be added to desserts to speed digestion after a large rich meal. It helps to soothe the muscles used in the digestive process. And for us ladies out there… it can also be used to relax uterine tissue and is therefore sometimes very beneficial in the treatment of menstrual cramps. Going back to the digestion (this is a big area of study for me)… They also state that a stomach massage with a very small amount of caraway oil will reduce minor flatulence. Not that I have an issue with flatulence, I am a girl for pete’s sake. ;) (source) < — source of my findings about how it aids in digestions, not a source to confirm whether or not I am a girl. hehe Also it blends beautifully with dill, fennel, anise, basil, cardamom, and jasmine. Interestingly enough, I found that dill also helps with digestion, mild disorders and flatulence.
I can’t wait to test some further flavor combinations soon. There are other amazing benefits to caraway. When caraway is added to rye bread, it aids in the digestion of the starch. It is added to sauerkraut to banish the lingering sulfuric odor (and help again with flatulence).
When purchasing caraway, I recommend to only buy it in the whole seed form. Grinding it as needed releases the spice’s volatile oils and helps to dissipate the flavor throughout the recipe. That is why you see me using both forms in the recipe. Since I don’t use high temperatures to make my raw breads, I wanted somehow to really infuse the caraway flavor throughout the entire loaf. Besides, if stored in their whole form, the seeds can last for several years. It may also seem as though I used a large amount of this spice and you might be tempted to scale back. Raw caraway has a slight aroma but the full flavor doesn’t come out until cooked. Therefore, I ramped up the measurement.
If you are new to using caraway and I know you are out there. I can’t be the only person who waited till her late thirties to dust off the lid to this spice. If that is you… I encourage you to really give trying new flavors and spices your best effort. There is a whole new world awaiting, and I am here to support you. Caraway has an earthy taste to it and is similar to fennel and anise (so much easier to type that word than say it right). It also kind of has a nutty aftertaste as well, so now go and enjoy your experimentation.
Ingredients: yields 1 loaf
- 2 cups packed, moist almond pulp
- 1 cup water
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 3 Tbsp maple syrup or raw agave
- Place the sunflower seeds and oats in the food processor, processing until it reaches a flour consistency.
- Do not use wet seeds and oats in this recipe. Make sure they are dehydrated first, otherwise the bread will be to soggy.
- If you are unable to consume oats, you could replace it with ground buckwheat or add more sunflower seeds to the recipe.
- Add ground flax, psyllium, dried dill, ground caraway, caraway seeds and salt. Pulse till mixed. Set aside while you mix the wet ingredients.
- If you don’t favor the flavor of flax, you can use the same measurement of ground chia seeds.
- I don’t have a replacement for the psyllium husks, it helps to give the bread that spongy feeling. You can opt to leave it out but it will change the texture a bit.
- In a large-sized bowl combine almond pulp, water, lemon juice, and sweetener. With your hands, mix together.
- Almond pulp… I use almond pulp in most of my bread recipes because it helps lighten the texture. You can use whole nuts ground to a small meal but the bread will be much heavier.
- Sweetener is up to you but I don’t suggest omitting it. It adds a balance to the overall flavor of the bread. You can use just about any sweetener that you desire.
- Add the dry ingredients to the bowl and hand mix until well incorporated. Depending on how moist your almond pulp is, you may need to add water so the dough sticks together nicely. If you do, do this by adding 1 Tbsp at a time.
- Shape the loaf. I used a medium-sized mixing bowl that had a nice roundness to the bottom of the bowl. I lightly greased the bowl with coconut oil and packed the dough mix into the bowl. I then used a lid that was smaller than the bowl diameter to use to press down on evenly and firmly. See photo below.
- Pop the dough out of the container and place flat-side down on the mesh sheet that comes with the dehydrator.
- Dehydrate at 145 degrees (F) for 1 hour. This will create a crust on the outside.
- Remove the bread and on a cutting board, cut the bread into 1/2 – 1″ thick slices.
- I cleaned the knife in between cuts so make the cut nice and clean. Don’t saw back and forth, this will cause the edges to crumble.
- Lay each slice back onto the mesh sheet.
- Decrease the temperature to 115 degrees (F) and continue to dehydrate for about 10 hours.
- This time will vary due to the climate, humidity in your home and how full the dehydrator is.
- Keep an eye on the bread and remove when it reaches the texture that you desire.
- Shelf life and storage: My personal recommendation would be to store this bread in an air-tight container, in the fridge, for 3-5 days.
- The more moisture that is left in your bread, the shorter the shelf life. Therefore, shelf life will vary with your drying technique. Whenever I make this bread, it never lasts long enough to spoil.
- Keep in mind, even though this bread freezes well, the whole purpose of eating a raw diet is to eat foods at their peak of freshness, so don’t expect this bread to have a long expiration date.
The Institute of Culinary Ingredients™
- To learn more about maple syrup by clicking (here).
- Click (here) for my thoughts on raw agave nectar.
- What is Himalayan pink salt and does it really matter? Click (here) to read more about it.
- Are oats gluten-free? Yes, read more about that (here).
- Are oats raw? Yes, they can be found. Click (here) to learn more.
- Do I need to soak and dehydrate oats? Not required but recommended. Click (here) to see why.
- Learn how to grind you own flax-seeds for ultimate freshness and nutrition. Click (here).
- How does psyllium work in a recipe? Learn more (here).
- Why do I start the dehydrator at 145 degrees (F). Click (here) to learn the reason behind this.
- When working with fresh ingredients it is important to taste test as you build a recipe. Learn why (here).
One of the greatest joys when creating raw food recipes is experimenting with different ingredients… a practice that I highly encourage. Daily I get questions regarding substitutions. Of course we all might have different dietary needs and tastes which could necessitate altering a recipe. I love to share with you what I create for myself, my husband, friends and family. I spend a lot of time selecting the right ingredients with a particular goal in mind, looking to build a certain flavor and texture.
So as you experiment with substitutions, remember they are what they sound like, they are substitutes for the preferred item. Generally they are not going to behave, taste, or have the same texture as the suggested ingredient. Some may work, and others may not and I can’t promise what the results will be unless I’ve tried them myself. So have fun, don’t be afraid, and remember, substituting is how I discovered many of my unique dishes.