How To Bake Protein-Packed Bread From Scratch With 4 Ingredients (All Gluten-Free and Vegan)

Photo: Stocksy/Susan Brooks-Dammann
Baking bread feels synonymous with high levels of effort, long periods of time, and a whole lot of kneading. (There's a reason it became the most popular pandemic pastime.) That being said, there are simple shortcuts you can take to make bread-baking far less fussy. First, you can enlist your Instant Pot to skip over the painstaking proofing and kneading process. Second, and even simpler, you can try baking this four ingredient, protein-packed bread from PowerHungry.

Almost comically easy to make, what this bread lacks in number of ingredients (and steps) it more than makes up for in its health benefits. The loaf that you’ll be baking is vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free, and even yeast-free. It still works perfectly as a sandwich base, toasted and buttered, or topped with creamy avocado and a sprinkle of chili flakes. Better yet, given that this bread recipe only requires one bowl and a couple of measuring cups, there's pretty much zero cleanup process.

Every ingredient in this gluten-free bread recipe is loaded with health benefits.

1. Oats

For starters, rolled oats are an extremely healthy grain, providing a range of key vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. And given their high fiber content, oats can help promote a healthy digestive system. “Oats have a special fiber called beta-glucan, which has been implicated in lowering cholesterol,” Monica Auslander Moreno, MS, RD, previously told Well+Good. Beta glucan has been found to lower cholesterol, lower blood sugar, and increase feelings of satiety. Oats also offer an arsenal of skin benefits: They contain vitamin E, zinc, and silica—a killer combo for strong, eczema-free skin. Oats are also particularly high in manganese, which your body uses to form bones and tissue, and is also key in brain and nervous system functionality. If you have a gluten intolerance or allergy, be sure to triple check the label on your oats has a 'Certified Gluten-Free' label.

2. Nuts and seeds

The second major ingredient of this bread is the nut and seed combination of your choosing. "I mean it when I say any nuts or seeds will do here," says Camilla Saulsbury, the genius blogger and recipe developer behind PowerHungry. "Almonds, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, pepitas, sunflower seeds, pistachios, you name it. It is a great way to use up last bits from what you have on hand." All of the nut and seeds mentioned above are packed with plant-based protein, heart-healthy fiber, unsaturated fat, and anti-inflammatory benefits.

And before you roll your eyes at the idea of chopping a huge pile of pumpkin seeds or blitzing the nuts in your blender (aka the fastest route to a huge mess, at least in my kitchen), Saulsbury says that step isn't actually necessary for this gluten-free bread recipe. "If you hate chopping, good news: No chopping required! The seeds and nuts go in whole. Whole pieces result in beautiful mosaic slices later." How easy is that?

3. Flaxseed meal and psyllium husk

Rounding out the ingredient list are two gut-friendly foods: Flaxseed meal (a nutrient-rich food thanks to its wealth of fiber and antioxidants), and psyllium husk, a natural digestion-booster that is a form of fiber derived from the husks of certain plant seeds. If you can’t find psyllium husk, try chia seeds instead. Saulsbury says that psyllium also acts as the binding agent for the bread dough in this recipe: "It is the super-binder that literally holds this bread together; the recipe will not work without it."

Finally, to really assure that each of these bread ingredients hold together without yeast, baking powder, or flour, you’ll add some water. And to add flavoring, some salt, which is optional.

Ready to get started? Check out the full recipe from PowerHungry below. FYI: You can keep this bread for quite a long time; if you’re refrigerating the loaf, you’ll have about two weeks of game time, and freezing will buy you several months.

The easiest vegan, gluten-free bread recipe

1 1/2 cups (150 grams) rolled oats (certified gluten-free, as needed)
1 1/2 cups (200 grams) nuts and/or seeds
3/4 cup flaxseed meal, regular or golden
3 Tbsp (15 grams) whole psyllium husks (or 5 teaspoons psyllium husk powder)
3/4 tsp fine sea salt, optional or adjustable to preferences
2 cups (500 mL) water

1. Line a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on opposite sides for easy removal post-bake.

2. In a large bowl, stir together the oats, nuts/seeds, flaxseed meal, psyllium husk, and optional salt. Add the water, stirring until completely combined. The dough will be very thick and stiff.

3. Transfer the dough to the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top with your hands (it helps to moisten them with water).

4. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Let the dough stand for 15 minutes while the oven preheats.

5. Bake in the preheated oven for 55 to 65 minutes until the bread is dry to the touch, browned, and sounds hollow when tapped.

6. Cool bread in pan for 15 minutes and then use parchment paper to remove bread to a cooling rack. Cool completely before cutting into slices.

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