The harvest season will soon be upon us and for the small group of society that follows Earth-based spirituality and holy days, grains will be prevalent in their Wheel of the Year celebrations. Whole wheat bread, grain crusted pies, and a plethora of other grain-based dishes will be featured and enjoyed in many a Harvest meal.
But more and more, the potential for intolerance to said grains has led to another growing minority that is refraining from eating them. Whether it is from digestive issues, concerns about whether grains are actually suitable for humans to consume, confirmed Celiac disease, or just an effort to lower starch intake, many people are backing off and attempting to find tasty treats that are grain free. This movement is illustrated by the plethora of websites, diets and blogs that discuss the topic, such as The Paleo Diet, Dr. Eades' Protein Power blog/diet, Body Ecology, and Mark's Daily Apple. For me, and I'm sure many others, attempting to eliminate grains from my daily intake is about lowering starch intake and avoiding potential repercussions that might be subtle or severe. After my mother died of a digestive cancer, easing out of grain consumption became a personal goal of mine.
So what is a "Paleo Pagan" to do when their celebrations and rituals are intertwined with worshipping Goddesses of grain and honoring the cycle of the harvest? It's pretty simple. The harvest goes on with or without grains, so that's ultimately a non-issue, but the bounty of bread that makesus all feel so wonderful can still be enjoyed. There's no yeast involved, no refined flour that glues itself together and makes a doughy, rising loaf, but below you'll find a recipe for an herby, "grainy", and very yummy bread. And it's grain free. Make sure to let me know if you try it!
Flax Focaccia Bread
1 1/3 cup flax meal
2/3 cup almond or coconut meal (if you use coconut, add water)
1 tblspn baking powder
1/2 to 1 tspn sea salt
1-2 tblspn honey or raw sugar
1/2 cup shredded cheese (mozarella and parmesan work well)
italian herbs of your preference, about a tblspn total (I typically use garlic, oregano, and rosemary)
5 beaten eggs
1/4 - 1/2 cup water
1/3 cup olive oil
Reserve for sprinkling on top:
1-2 tblspns shredded parmesan
1 tblspn rosemary
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Prepare 10"x15" pan with oiled parchment, or directly oil pan (you can also split this into two smaller pans).
3. Mix dry ingredients well in large mixing bowl.
4. Mix wet ingredients, beginning with the smallest amount of water.
5. Add wet to dry and combine well.
6. Let batter set for 2-3 minutes so it will thicken. The more water you use, the longer it will need to set.
7. Spread into pan, making it thinner in the middle and avoiding spreading completely into the sides.
8. Bake about 20 mins until it springs back when you touch top, or a toothpick comes out clean.
9. Cool and cut.
This bread never lasts long in our house, and it is fantastic with some herb butter or olive oil!