Old-Fashioned Apple Oat Bread
February 22, 2012

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A typical snapshot of conversation between me and my Mom, taken from my departure early yesterday morning:

Mom: I’m going to miss you so much.

Me: Aw, Mom, You won’t miss me that much. I’m pretty messy and annoying.

Mom: You are messy and annoying. But I’m going to miss you anyway.

Equal parts honesty, love, and humor. It’s what my relationship with my mother is all about.

So here I am, back in D.C. and running on about four and a half hours of sleep, thanks to biochem lab. Needless to say, the last 24 hours haven’t afforded me the time to create any really memorable food, but they have given me a chance to write down the recipe for the delicious, high-fiber, old-fashioned apple oat bread that I baked up for Mom right before I left!

My mother was recently advised by her doctor to increase her dietary fiber intake (go doctor!). Naturally, she consulted with me about what that would mean, and how to go about doing it. I was glad to oblige: fiber is crucial to overall GI health, and health in general.

What is fiber, and why do we care about it? Dietary fiber comprises the indigestible parts of plants—chitin, cellulose, dextrin, inulin, waxes, and oligosaccharides, to name a few—and it falls into two major categories, soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber (or prebiotic fiber) is fermented in the gut, and it creates a gelatinous substance which helps to slow digestion (if you’ve ever wondered why oats are said to slow digestion and thus aid in keeping you full, this is why). Insoluble fiber passes through the gut intact (that is, it can’t be fermented or dissolved), and it therefore aids in keeping elimination moving.

Both forms of fiber are essential for proper digestive function, along with the management of cholesterol. If you have a sensitive GI system, you should read up on how adjusting your balance of soluble vs. insoluble fiber may help to ease your tummy woes: this post should help. No matter what, it’s important to get at 25 grams daily for women, and 30 for men. For vegans, this is likely a low estimate: my daily intake is always higher.

Can one possibly get too much fiber? Sure, and if you do, you may experience chelation, wherein the heavy amount of fiber you’re eating actually prevents some mincronutrient absorption. This is not commonplace, nor should fear of it prevent you from eating a high fiber diet, but it is a warning against extreme excess of fiber (for example, if you already eat a high fiber diet, and you’re also taking natural or synthetic fiber supplements at the same time).

My Mom, like many standard Americans, probably eats closer to 15-20 grams of fiber daily than 20-25. So I’ve been on a mission to help her change those ratios. Some high fiber foods include:

Soluble Fiber:

Rice, pasta (white, not whole grain), soy, quinoa, corn meal, carrots, turnips, rutabagas, parsnips, beets, avocados, flax seeds, bananas.

Insoluble fiber:

Raw veggies, whole wheat foods, bran, granola, crucifers, and most fruits.

All dried fruits are incredibly high in fiber, usually insoluble.

When I set about making Mom a high fiber vegan baked good (vegan baked treats are her favorite), I took into account the fact that we had the following on hand:

  • a bag of organic apples
  • oat bran
  • flax meal

All staples when I’m around, as oat bran is often my preferred alternative to regular oats (not for health reasons, but rather, because I like the creamy texture and incredibly quick cooking time). I decided to put all of these things into a breakfast bread that would fall someplace in between a traditional quickbread (like banana bread) that is very moist, and a soda bread, which is drier and more crumbly. This hit the spot: it’s not quite rich and moist the way a classic quickbread might be, but it has a perfect balance between moisture and a light, airy “crumb.” More importantly, it’s packed with high fiber ingredients, and it is totally tasty and fragrant. The chunks of fresh apple and the oat topping give it a rustic, old-fashioned vibe!

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Old-Fashioned Apple Oat Bread (vegan, can be made gluten free, soy free)

12 small or 8 bigger slices

1 1/4 cup oat bran
1 cup whole wheat or spelt flour (or a gluten free blend)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup agave
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup almond milk
1/2 cup applesauce
2 tbsp flax meal mixed with 1/3 cup water and allowed to “gel”
1 chopped small apple
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup rolled oats

1) Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and grease a loaf pan.

2) Mix the flax meal and 1/3 cup water together and set aside.

3) Mix the oat bran, flour, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and salt together in a large mixing bowl.

4) Whisk together almond milk, applesauce, flax misture, and oil. Add to the dry ingredients, mix roughly, and then add apple and raisins. Stir to combine.

5) Pour dough into loaf pan, sprinkle with oats, and bake for about 45 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the bread comes out clean.

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See that? A near perfect “crumb”—just midway between light and dense. And the apples and raisins provide perfect bursts of sweetness.

To make this bread gluten free, you can use gluten free oat bran and whichever gluten free flour mix works for you.

1/12 of this loaf provides 4 grams of fiber, while 1/8 provides 6 grams. This is a good amount for a quick bread! Along with some fresh fruit (say, apple or pear) and two or other fiber-rich meals/snacks, the bread will have you well on your way to meeting the daily requirement. Additionally, I like this recipe because it provides both soluble fiber (oats and oat bran, flax) and insoluble (spelt, apple, raisins). It also provides complex carbohydrates to fuel your morning, and some healthy fatty acids from the coconut and flax. In all, a nutrient-dense recipe.

Questions about fiber and fiber intake? Ask away! And if you try this bread out, let me know how it goes. I’m off to battle my sleepiness and make my way through yet another biochemistry lab. Wish me luck.

xo

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Categories: Gluten Free

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    45 Comments
  1. This looks delicious! I can’t wait to try it myself 🙂 and I’m surprised that white pasta actually has some nutritious value, despite all the bad raps society throws at it. Of course, it’s always better to consume whole foods anyway. Thanks for the great post!

  2. Interesting about the fiber. My 11 year old daughter has major constipation issues and the doctor advised 3 grams for every year of age. She gets plenty of fiber ( high raw vegetarian) but not enough water

  3. I tried this tonight and it was perfect. I am avoiding soy and gluten and I am vegan. I love your recipes. So many wonderful recipes. I ate 1/3 for dinner. 🙂

    • I forgot to add that you did not list agave in the directions but you did list it in the ingredients list. I just threw it in with the wet ingredients.

  4. Gena, I think my boyfriend will absolutely love this. He has no taste for oatmeal, and we struggle finding a healthy breakfast he’ll enjoy. This seems like a very good try!

  5. That looks delicious! I’m definitely giving this one a try! I’ve been experimenting with different kinds of breads lately and am even considering buying a bread-making machine (i’m too comfortable, i know). I wonder if such a recipe would work on one of those?
    Last time i made bread, i smeared a spinach and garlic mix on the dough, then rolled it up and baked it. It came out perfectly! 🙂 Was very proud of myself 🙂

  6. I just tried the recipe without any substitutions, using whole wheat flour, and it is delicious. I did use unsweetened So Delicious coconut milk instead of almond. The texture and flavor is just right. I was also wondering about subbing the oil for more apple sauce – to try for next time. Thank you!

  7. My last conversation with my mum ended as follows, after she’d told me to stop being silly when I’d called her sobbing because she’s texted me that the wild blackberries I’d eaten that day were probably heavily sprayed with chemicals:

    Me: If you don’t hear from me tomorrow morning, then I’ve died.
    Mum: Okay, I’ll just send the undertaker over.
    Me: You’ll be sorry you didn’t take me seriously!
    Mum: We’ll just write on the tombstone: “She died as she lived, eating delicious food.”
    Me: Too true.

    So pretty much your mum (okay, okay, MOM) and you remind me of my mum and me, which means we should all double date in a Gilmore Girl-esque style one day. In New York. Catered by you. With this bread, because I too adore oat bran over rolled oats in all applications.

  8. This bread looks delicious, With celiac disease, I miss these types of food. I can sub with the GF flour, but I cannot even eat GF oats (oat bran) so can you suggest a substitution??? Thanks for all your great posts!!!

  9. Cool to see you talking fiber! I’ve been on the road and no sleep too, glad you got a visit with your mom.

    Fiber gets maligned in some circles, but the other super-cool thing is it feeds the beneficial bacteria. Have you been reading some of the recent research on resistant starch, which is basically a subset of fiber?
    love
    Ela

  10. This looks SO yummy! My Baby Sister would go crazy for this bread I am sure. I am happy that you had a good time with your mom. Good luck with your labs today girl!

  11. thanks for the link to the post on soluble/insoluble fiber – i must have missed that one. great info!

  12. Great bread and great fiber recap. No matter how many times over the years I read about the differences between fiber (soluble, insoluble, etc.) I always forget. I guess I am lucky in that whatever I’m eating seems to be working for me without putting too much attention into the varieties but I love the refresher and info…thanks, Gena!

  13. Very interesting about the balance of soluble/insoluble fiber – I never knew that, nor about the chelation. Could you tell us more about that? I eat a very high fiber diet, but I also supplement with metamucil (I have IBS too). Am I in danger?

    • I doubt it, Sarah — the quantity has to be truly extreme for this to be a risk. If you aren’t having any signs of a health crisis, I would bet you’re OK.

      • Thanks! I’m also still trying to “digest” (oh ha ha!) all this info about soluble v. insoluble fiber. I am just really skeptical that soluble fiber is the right answer for me (I have IBS-C like you) – it just sounds like the opposite of what I thought made sense. I thought more “brushing out” of the colon with insoluble fiber = more and faster elimination.

  14. I’m going home next week for spring break and I’m looking forward to making this for my family! (instead of the nutrition-less coffee cake they usually eat on weekends…) one question though – could I use rolled oats or quick oats instead of oat bran?

  15. Wow, they even have GF oat bran these days? Truly modern times we live in! Glad mom liked the bread. I try to introduce my parents to some new foods each time I visit too.

    I have a million questions about fiber as I am going through some fiber-related issues right now but I think they might be too specific and to long-winded to post here. I am trying to reduce fiber (not sure which kind) but also eat raw and anti-inflammatory. It doesn’t quite make sense to me at this point so I have to mull on it a bit. Maybe I will study your other post for a bit.

  16. Great post! The bread looks so delicious, and I love the ingredient list. Can’t wait to try it out. And thanks for all of the information about fiber – I didn’t know the difference between soluble and insoluble fiber before; very interesting and important to know!

  17. I always thought that 25 grams of fiber seemed kinda low, more like a bare minimum, and it’s crazy that so many people get less than 15 grams a day. I can get 15 grams of fiber in one meal without trying! This is a really lovely loaf and makes me want to go out and get some oat bran, which I’ve never used.

  18. OMG this looks so amazing! Bookmarked and hopefully I’ll be able to make it soon! I’ll have to experiment with the gluten free version. Such a beautiful bread 🙂

  19. Hi Gena, that bread looks so delicious!! ill have to try the recipe!!
    about the fiber… whats the differences between the Soluble Fiber and the Insoluble fiber. wich one should i consume more… or should i intake same ammount of both??
    thanks a lot for your help and your recipes.. they are always the best!!

    • Evelina,

      I think I spoke to the differences in the post! And you should get a mixture of both: one is not better than the other. Read the older post I linked to for more information.

      G

    • I’m not sure what you would substitute for the baking soda, Sue. I think the recipe would be edible without it, just not as fluffy.

  20. This looks so yummy, except I have a husband who is allergic to nuts, coconuts, you name it! Can I substitute skim milk or soy milk for the almond milk and use grapeseed or olive oil?