Bye Bye Bread

One of the first – if not the first – things to go when you eat a low-carb diet is bread. There are a lot of low-carb recipes to be found online, but most of them just don’t satisfy your cravings. They tend to be eggy and/or “spongy”. In addition, it can be difficult to find something that hits that right macro-nutrient (i.e. fat, protein and carbs) ratios. Most tend to be too high in protein and too low in fat.
With the recent popularity of MCT (or medium chain triglycerides) powders, we decided to see if we could come up with an improved recipe. As a side note, if you try such a recipe please make sure to get MCT powder that doesn’t have added carbs, such as the one we link in the final recipe.

The Recipe

Our inspiration came by courtesy of this recipe. As an aside, we recommend you check out the rest of the recipes they have, they have a lot of good ones. But we made a few changes, and also decided to do some A/B testing on the ingredients. Actually, it was really A/B/C/D testing.

The Changes

Like many other low-carb breads, this recipe calls for egg whites. While there is nothing wrong with using that, you don’t always have a use for the remaining egg yolks. In that case, you can use substitute with egg white powder. You just have to remember to add some extra liquids, though the product you use will typically state that explicitly somewhere on the packaging.
We also added some MCT powder. MCT’s are great for upping the fat content of your foods. They get metabolized very efficiently and are ketogenic: they raise the level of ketone bodies in your blood.
An important consideration for bread is texture. While the cream of tartar/baking soda combo (which can be replaced with baking powder) helps produce the little air bubbles typical of bread, it doesn’t help give that stretchy quality a good bread has. We experimented with both vital wheat gluten (the protein part of wheat flour) and xantham gum (a commonly used emulsifier) to see if we could improve the texture.
Finally, we wanted to compare almond flour with flax seed meal. While almond flour is low-carb, flax seed is even lower in net carbs, and in addition contains a lot of omega-3 fatty acids. We wanted to see how texture and taste compare between the two.

Split Testing

We took the recipe, minus the garlic powder, seasoning and almond flour, replaced the egg whites with egg white powder, added half a cup of MCT powder, and divided it in 4 portions. The two of the portions got half a cup of almond flour, and the other 2 got flax seed meal. Then we added half a table spoon of vital wheat gluten to 2 of the portions (1 almond flour and 1 flax seed meal), and half a table spoon of xantham gum to the remaining 2 portions (same split). This way you end up with 4 different variations.

The Final Recipe

In our opinion, the winning combination is the one with flax seed meal and vital wheat gluten. To be fair, we should say that the differences are rather subtle, and you won’t go wrong with any of the variants. If you have gluten sensitivity, rest assured that you will still have a great result using the xantham gum. The consistency and taste are both good, and it works very well as a bread roll. You can finally enjoy a juicy burger on a bun, or those silky, runny eggs Benedict for your weekend brunch – without getting knocked out of nutritional ketosis.

Quantity Ingredient Protein Fat Carbs Fiber Net Carbs Calories
2 cups Flax Seed Meal 24 36 32 24 8 452
2/3 cup Coconut Flour 15 12.5 45 30 15 232.5
1/2 cup Psyllium Husk Powder 0 0 108 96 12 48
1/2 cup MCT Powder 0 45 11 11 0 405
6 TBSP egg white powder 25 0 2 0 2 108
2 Eggs 12 10 1 0 1 142
2 TSP Cream of Tartar 0 0 3 0 3 12
2 TBSP Butter (or Ghee) 0 22 0 0 0 198
2 TBSP Vital Wheat Gluten (or Xantham Gum) 11.5 0.25 2 0.5 1.5 54.25
1 TSP Baking Soda 0 0 0 0 0 0
1 TSP Salt 0 0 0 0 0 0
2 1/2 cups boiling water 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total (8 servings) 88 126 204 162 43 1652
Per Serving 11 16 26 20 5 206
All macro quantities are in grams. Some ingredients point to products that we like and use, for your convenience. These are afffiliate links.

The original recipe calls for baking 45-50 minutes, but you can probably get even better results with baking time a little closer to an hour. Everyone’s oven is slightly different, and the changes we made to the recipe probably also affect the baking time.
You can experiment with different shapes, like a flat bread or a sub. Doing a more traditional bread loaf could work too, though you will probably need to lower the temperature and increase the baking time to make sure the center cooks thoroughly.

As you can see from the above, each roll has about 200 calories, 70% of which comes from fat, and only 5 grams of net carbs. These ratios fit very well with a ketogenic diet.

The Steps

  1. Put all the dry ingredients in a bowl
  2. Mix everything thoroughly
  3. Add the eggs and incorporate in the mixture evenly (we don’t want scrambled eggs once we add the boiling water)
  4. Add boiling water and mix thoroughly again. You might want to use a hand mixer or a food processor
  5. Shape into individual portions. We like 8 portions in dinner roll shape
  6. Brush the melted butter or ghee on top of the rolls
  7. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for anywhere from 45 to 60 minutes, depending on your oven
  8. Take out of the oven, let cool, and enjoy!

Below you will find pictures of each step in the recipe.

Low Carb Bread - Dry ingredients

All the dry ingredients.

Low Carb Bread - Mix Everything up

Mix everything thoroughly.

Low Carb Bread - Add The Eggs

Add the eggs.

Low Carb Bread - Add water and mix thoroughly

Add boiling water and mix even more thoroughly. Kind of gets to the consistency of a matzoh ball.

Low Carb Bread - Shape and brush with butter/ghee

Shape into balls. Make sure your hands are wet for that. Brush with melted butter (or ghee).

Low Carb Bread - Baked

This is how it looks like when it’s done baking. Anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour, depending on your oven.

Low Carb Bread - End Result

The finished product, from another angle.

Low Carb Bread - Cut open

Here you can see what the inside looks like – bread!


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