Top tips for sustainable wellness with Modern Baker plus recipe!
The other week Rosie and I were invited to visit Modern Baker’s R&D Centre and development kitchen in Kidlington. A beacon of stylishness among van, plant and tool hire companies, Modern Baker’s unit echo’s their ethos – minimal, stripped back but nourishing at the same time. You can tell that both Co-founder Melissa and Marketing Manager Catherine enjoy working there, whether it’s a quiet Thursday or a bustling Monday when new ideas flow between the seven strong team.
While there we got talking about how January usually sees a spike in fad diets but that the media seems to be picking up (albeit slowly!) on lifestyle changes as opposed to skipping that meal or drinking that shake for the next four weeks. This is where Modern Baker’s heart is – they’re on a mission to change public eating habits for the better. They encourage people to focus on sustainable wellness.
They’re acutely aware that choice is taste led so when it came to setting up a genuinely ‘Healthy Baking’ brand, ‘delicious’ came top of the list. But it doesn’t stop there! Government funding has allowed them to prove that their combination of modern science and ancient technology is good for us. The method of slow-carb baking they use produces lower Glycaemic Index carbohydrates which benefit our digestion and gut health. The ability to eat bread and know it’s benefiting us is a win we say!
So what other tips for sustainable wellness did we discuss with Melissa and Catherine?
No, it’s not starting a game of Statues – we’re talking about freezing your bread. There are multiple benefits of freezing bread – firstly there’s less wastage. Secondly, you have bread on hand when you need it! But critically, it increases the nutritional value of bread. Modern Baker research indicates that helping yourself to bread from the freezer is positive in that, post-freezing, your body has a lower blood glucose response than it would from bread not previously frozen. Amazingly, if you then toast it, the blood glucose response is lowered again, and adding butter means a lower response once again! The freezing process makes it harder for your body to break down the bread (freezing makes the starch more resistant to digestion) which means there is more food for your gut. This all means that your morning toast (originating in your humble freezer) is keeping you fuller for longer and packing a greater nutritional punch.
2. Keep Your Ingredients Fresh
It sounds simple but eating fresh ingredients is better for you. Modern Baker keep their ingredients simple and stripped back and adopting a similar method when cooking at home is a way of changing your lifestyle. Our ancestors ate on average one hundred and fifty different ingredients a week: all whole foods, naturally rich in prebiotics and occasionally probiotics. This is a great target to have in your head as you plan your weekly meals – and can help your gut health by increasing the diversity of microbes within your gut, a great preventative measure for a range of illnesses.
3. It’s all about Fibre
The recommended daily fibre intake for adults is 30g per day. In the UK most people do not eat enough fibre – the average intake is 17.2/day for women and 20.1g/day for men*.A diet high in fibre has been shown to help reduce the risk of diabetes, protect against bowel cancer, and may help to reduce feelings of hunger as you feel fuller for longer.
Typically, a supermarket loaf may have a sorry 0.8g fibre content per slice**, whereas Modern Baker’s Seedy Seedy organic sourdough contains a startlingly healthy 4.5g fibre per slice! So when you make your next sandwich, if you make it with Modern Baker bread, don’t feel hesitant: know that you are making a considered, healthy and positive choice.
4. Half the Refined Sugar
Got a favourite cake recipe? Co-founder Melissa, who authored Modern Baker’s recipe book with their Head Baker Lindsay Stark, says cut that sugar measurement in half! Cutting the sugar shouldn’t change the consistency of the cake and won’t even dramatically change the flavour of the cake. But it will be better for your body. By taking this simple step your body will start to get used to less sugar and crave it less. Get your oven on and see below…check out the lower sugar carrot cake recipe from Modern Baker’s recipe book.
5. Enjoy your food!
Yes, food sustains us, and we need to eat, but food is also there to be enjoyed. Sitting down and eating with friends and family allows us to eat slower and really savour our food. Having cake or one of Modern Baker’s sourdough biscuits is also certainly OK and we should enjoy it rather than feel guilty… However, it’s about enjoying in moderation – the biscuits aren’t ‘bad’ for us, but they also shouldn’t form part of our staple everyday diet.
What are your tips for everyday sustainable wellness? Do you follow any of the tip above already? If so, how have you found they’ve actively changed your lifestyle?
Melissa’s Life-Changing Carrot And Olive Oil Cake
The complex play of the spices really brings this cake to life. Cloves, cardamom, and cinnamon combine to heighten the flavours and aromas to an almost intoxicating level. With 3/4 cups of grated carrot in this cake there’s no getting away from its presence, though it’s surprising how the cake doesn’t really taste of it. Its purpose is to bind in the flour- in this case spelt, which is higher in protein and fibre than wheat. The fruity olive oil unifies all the other flavours. This recipe is so forgiving. Even overcooked, it’s still moist and delicious!
- 215ml extra virgin olive oil
- 175g coconut sugar
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 250g spelt flour
- 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground cloves
- 1 tsp ground cardamom
- 1 tsp salt
- 125g pecans, coarsely chopped
- 500g carrots, grated
- roughly chopped walnuts, for topping
For the vanilla cashew nut icing
- 150g unsalted cashew nuts, soaked for at least 4 hours but preferably overnight
- 300g full-fat coconut milk
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 75g maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 100g coconut oil, melted
- Firstly, to make the icing, drain and rinse the soaked cashew nuts. Put them in a blender with all the other ingredients and blend until completely smooth and creamy. Pour into a container and chill in the fridge until firm. We usually leave the icing in the fridge overnight, but around 4 hours should do the trick.
- Preheat the oven to 190c/ fan 170c/ gas mark 5 and line a 23cm round, deep, loose-bottom cake tin with baking parchment
- In a bowl, mix together the olive oil, sugar and eggs until well combined
- In a second bowl combine the flour and the other dry ingredients and make a well in the center.
- Add the egg and oil mixture and stir thoroughly until it is all blended. Finally, add the pecans and carrots and mix again.
- Pour the mixture into the cake tin and bake for about 1 hour 20 mins, until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
- Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 10-15 minutes, then turn it out onto a cooling rack. Once it’s completely cool, top it with the vanilla cashew nut icing.
This recipe is on page 123 of Modern Baker’s book – Modern Baker: A New Way to Bake.
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