I’ve always been thankful that I grew up in a household where we read the Bible a lot. Some of my fondest memories are of my dad reading to my sister and me at bedtime. It’s no surprise, I suppose, that I took an interest in aspects of Biblical culture at a young age. I loved plants and gardening, so one of my first research papers in middle school was about the plants and herbs of the Bible.
When I discovered the website Cooking with the Bible (which sadly no longer exists), it sparked that old interest. Especially since learning about traditional food preparation methods, I loved the idea that I could create authentic meals eaten in Bible times! I was temporarily disappointed that the authentic food preparation methods had been left out, and some of the traditional ingredients substituted for processed, low-nutrient foods. AND, we have the added challenge of eating gluten free in our house. But, I’ve gotten lots of practice with gluten-free traditional food preparation recipe modifications. 🙂
This time, I chose Esau’s Pottage (a lentil stew) and Mouthwatering Date and Walnut Bread, to convert to a “real food” gluten-free lunch (could be dinner, too!).
Esau’s Pottage Makeover
I started soaking the lentils the night before we had the soap, soaking about 2 cups of them in twice the amount of water with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, according to the directions on the Fundamentals eCourse. Then I added the soaked and rinsed beans, along with fresh water, to the crockpot and cooked on low until they were soft.
About 30 minutes before we were ready to eat (the lentils were fully cooked), I sauteed onion, garlic, carrot, celery and bell pepper in olive oil until they softened a bit. Then I added some already cooked ground beef that we had seasoned with onion and garlic for tacos the night before. (You could also brown ground beef or lamb in the pan before adding the veggies, if you don’t have leftovers to use. This would also be delicious with game meat – venison, elk, etc. And it would definitely be more authentic! Another idea – add in some ground liver or heart for extra nutrients. No one will notice. 🙂 )
Then I added the lentils and the tomatoes. I added about a cup of water. You could also use broth or the cooking liquid from the lentils. Make sure to use enough salt and pepper, and let it come to a low simmer for at least 20 to 30 minutes so the flavors can mingle. This is one of those even-better-the-second-day kinds of things, and the longer you can let it cook slowly, the better it will be. Just add extra liquid as needed!
Date and Walnut Bread Makeover
The bread recipe was a bit daunting at first, since it was originally a wheat flour and yeast recipe. I also wanted a lighter, almost dessert bread, which I find difficult to achieve using gluten-free sourdough.
I should address the walnuts and tapioca in this recipe. Ideally, nuts should be soaked and dehydrated first to neutralize enzyme inhibitors (we learned that in Fundamentals, too). But, since I was using them in a sourdough recipe, I skipped that step. My understanding is that the sourdough process does this job as well. So, either soaked or unsoaked nuts work in this recipe.
Also, some people think tapioca flour is too highly processed to be a good “real food” choice. After trying this bread, I think it would work well even with heavier flours. I might try a bit of amaranth, white buckwheat, or quinoa flour, along with brown and sweet rice flours and arrowroot. We deal with many food restrictions right now, so sometimes I make minor food choices based on what works for us, rather than worrying about the nutrient value of every ingredient. Moderation is key when it comes to these kinds of choices.
Gluten-Free Sourdough Date and Walnut Bread
- 1 cup Gluten-Free Boosted Brown Rice Starter
- 1 cup brown rice flour
- 1 cup sweet rice flour
- 1 cup tapioca flour
- 1/2 cup arrowroot flour
- 1 teaspoon guar gum
- 1/2 cup water kefir plain or kombucha, or raw apple cider vinegar, or...
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup dates finely chopped
- 1 cup black walnuts finely chopped
- pure water as needed
Mix together all the ingredients and add water a bit at a time (I think I needed about 1/2 cuuntil you have a dough that will hold its shape, but is a bit sticky.
If you prepare gluten free dough too dry, it may crumble when you roll it out. If this happens, just return it to the bowl and knead in a tiny bit more water.
Cover a cookie sheet in parchment paper.
Divide the dough into 10 equal portions.
Taking one portion at a time, roll into a ball as best you can, pat down on the parchment paper, then cover with another small piece of parchment and using a rolling pin, roll each “cake” until it is round and about 1/4-inch thick.
Space the cakes about 1/2-inch apart.
My bread cakes were about 6 to 7 inches in diameter.
Cover with a dish towel and allow to rise overnight, or for at least 8 hours*.
Preheat oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit (after all, they cooked over a fire in Bible times, right?) and bake 5 to 6 minutes or until lightly browned.
I didn’t see much rise from my bread -- much less than I expected. When I make this again, I may try rolling a few a little thicker, more like 1/2-inch. I think all the dates and nuts might have kept the sourdough from rising like it normally would have. It still turned out great!
Verdict: Bible Lunch
I really enjoyed this lunch — a bowl of lentil stew with one of the cakes of bread on the side. Dipping the bread into the stew is heavenly (pun intended 🙂 )! The bread is sweet, crunchy and chewy. The soup is warm, hearty and salty. The textures and flavors compliment each other perfectly. This bread would also be delicious dipped in hummus, or maybe even with a chocolate fondue for a holiday treat? Enjoy!
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