I couldn't resist my curiosity this week when I found myself in a baking shop and came across these seeds. I came home with a precious little package containing 250g chia seeds for which I paid $5.00. Not bad, I thought, if they go the distance...
But what of the health benefits?
Chia, belonging to the mint family has been in use since ancient Aztec times, originally used as a cash crop. Gluten free, the seed can be eaten raw or cooked, whole or ground and is the highest known plant source of omega-3. The seeds are also high in fibre and protein, are known to lower blood pressure being rich in essential fatty acids and can stabilise blood sugar levels. Non GMO and pesticide free, the list of further health benefits seems to go on and on!
So, I was sold! Yes, albeit after I had made the purchase but that was fine with me.
But what to do with them?
The lady in the shop told me they absorb quite a bit of water so to soak them first when making bread and to take this soaking liquid into account in the recipe quantities.
Ok! I could try that!
Eager to play with my intriguing new chia seeds, I prepared the soak. The seeds were soaked in cold water at a ratio of 1:4 (50g seeds, 200ml water), overnight which produced a thick chia 'gel'.
|Chia gel - seeds and water that have been soaked overnight|
Two loaves crammed full of chia. The loaf was incredibly moist..after resting for 12 hours and then slicing. SO moist! And it toasted up beautifully..even though it seemed to take aaages to brown in the toaster...
..and the taste?
It's hard to know if there is any taste coming from the chia - definitely not anything noticable,anyway. I was however blown away with how moist the loaf was..I know I mentioned this already, but it was really surprising!
Chia Experimental Loaves (#1)
makes 2 smaller loaves
50g chia seed
400g sourdough starter
800g flour (I used a mix of strong white and organic white)
1 1/2 tsp salt
poppy seeds for garnish, optional
Soak the chia seeds and water overnight. The following morning mix all ingredients together, delaying the addition of salt. Fold often on floured surface over 4-5 hours (dough will be moist and flowing). Shape. As the dough was moist, I chose to use tins, although if free form loaves were sought, the water content could be reduced in the original ingredients. Allow to rise for 3-4 hours until doubled in size. Score and bake at 220c for 20 mins, rotate loaves and reduce temp to 200c and bake for a further 20-30 minutes. Cool on wire racks.
Coincedentally, Brydie has also been playing with chia this week. Take a look at her hippy Chia Quinoa Bread here.