Flaxseed contains all sorts of healthy components; Omega-3 essential fatty acids, each tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains about 1.8 grams of plant omega-3s; Lignans, which have both plant estrogen and antioxidant qualities. Flaxseed contains 75 to 800 times more lignans than other plant foods; Fiber, flaxseed contains both the soluble and insoluble types.
Flaxseed has been used in gluten free baking as a 'egg replacer' by combining 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed with 2-3 tablespoon of boiling hot water then whisked into a thick slurry. As a gluten substitute, flaxseed provides reasonable strength, flexibility and texture to doughs. It will give the dough some extra structure so it can rise well. Flaxseed is effective enough to be used alone in breads baked in a pan, though best results are obtained when combined with other binders such as chia seed or psyllium husk.
For 450 grams of flour, use about 12 grams of flaxseed additional to the 20 grams of psyllium used. Either whisk it into the liquids or mix it with the flour.
Tips for buying and storing flaxseed:
Buy it whole and grind it yourself. Flaxseed, when eaten whole, is more likely to pass through the intestinal tract undigested, which means your body doesn't get all the healthful components. But whole flaxseed keeps longer. The outside shell in whole flaxseed appears to keep the fatty acids inside well protected. It’s a good idea to keep your whole flaxseed in a dark, cool place like the fridge until you grind it. Grind flaxseed with an electric coffee grinders work best.
The best place to store ground flaxseed is the freezer. Freeze pre-ground flaxseed in the bag you bought it in or in a plastic sealable bag if you ground it yourself. The freezer will keep the ground flax from oxidizing and losing its nutritional potency.
Buy either brown or golden flaxseed. Golden flaxseed is preferred to be used in baking as the brown flaxseed can turn your baked goods green, but brown flaxseed is easier to find in most supermarkets. There is little difference nutritionally between the two and both impart the same qualities to your baking, so the choice is up to you.
Chia is very rich in omega-3 fatty acids, even more so than flax seeds. Chia has another advantage over flax being it is so rich in antioxidants that the seeds don't deteriorate and can be stored for long periods without becoming rancid. And, unlike flax, they do not have to be ground to make their nutrients available to the body. Chia seeds also provide fiber (25 grams give you 6.9 grams of fiber) as well as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, molybdenum, niacin, and zinc.
Chia seed is stronger than flaxseed but not psyllium. It is the medium between the two. Ground chia seed gives gluten-free dough a great deal of flexibility and when combined with other binders can add softness to your final bread. But by itself it doesn't lend the raw dough enough strength to hold up the bread as it rises. As well as flexibility, chia seed helps gluten-free bread retain moisture and stay fresh longer.
|Whole and ground Chia Seed|
For 450 grams of flour, use about 8 grams of chia seed additional to the other binders used. Finely ground chia and either whisk it into the liquids or mix it with the flour.
As the same as flaxseed, chia seed has also been known to be used as an 'egg replacer' in baking. They are high in soluble fiber so when mixed with water, form a thick gel. Place 1 tablespoon of chia seeds in a cup and add 3 tablespoons of water. Allow the mixture to sit for about 15 minutes. 1/4 cup of hydrated chia seeds equals approximately 1 egg.