Sunday, July 15, 2012

Spinach Sponge

Most store-bought sliced bread doesn't do a lot for me.  I can't eat it alone: the texture leaves me wishing I had something to chew, the flavor bores me, and it tends to include sugars I would rather get from eating fresh, whole fruit. I still eat it, primarily as a vehicle for other food, but I wanted to improve this solution.

I started looking up homemade bread recipes with the idea that I could make a bread over the weekend and use it during the week.  I decided to add spinach as well because I'm trying to add more vegetables to my diet.

I came up with something that hits most of the nutrition goals, some of the flavor goals, and completely lacks visual appeal. I started with this recipe for low-carb bread and made some modifications.

  • 1 cup flax seed meal
  • 1 cup oatmeal flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 3/4 cups egg whites
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 10-ounce package of frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • Spices to taste. I used, per the suggestion, onion powder, basil, and rosemary. I also used some salt.
bowl full of ingredients and spinach
Mixing in the spinach.
I mixed the dry ingredients together, followed by the wet ingredients, a bit a a time. Then, I mixed in the spinach and baked at 350°F for 25 minutes in a greased 9x13 pan.  It made 12 servings.

spinach sponge in 9x13 pan
When I brought one in to work, a co-worker wanted to know why I was eating a sponge.
You can pick up and eat the squares like a brownie, but they aren't stiff enough to use as a bread. The texture makes it clear that it contains whole grains and spinach, and it tastes overwhelmingly of rosemary (oops). Still, they're easy to transport and they contain a nice balance of healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, and protein. 

I definitely like the concept, but they could use some improvement.  I meant to put in garlic, but I forgot, and I think it would have improved the flavor. I put in salt, and I shouldn't have: they came out a little too salty.   Serves me right for not researching the flavor of flax seed meal better, I suppose. I'd also like to try replacing the water with crushed tomatoes or tomato paste to create a lasagna-inspired flavor.

For a variation that might adhere better to the original purpose, I might cut the baking powder in half and divide the batter between two 9x13 pans to try for a more cracker-like baked good.

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