Added Fiber Bread

Posted on 02/02/2013 by lalaquen
Hello all. I'm afraid this may be a bit of a strange question, but I figure if anyone would know it would be you guys. My husband and I are about to embark on a diet/lifestyle change for weight loss and overall health reasons. It's one of those semi flexible programs with moderately strict rules about what types of things are acceptable to eat, but no restrictions (other than quantity) on what you eat as long as it fits the basic guidelines. One of the core concepts of the program is to eat lots of fiber, both for digestive health and as a way to minimize the excess fat that builds up in the body. So while we can have bread, it has to have a certain amount of fiber (1g per 10 calories, 100 or fewer calories per serving) in order to be acceptable, and at the moment the only thing I know of that works is one particular kind of store bought bread. But I don't particularly like store bought bread for a number of reasons, one being all the preservatives and additives, the consistency/texture of the crust, and also because I just enjoy baking and would prefer to do it myself.

So I was wondering - would it be possible to make extra fiber rich bread myself at home? Perhaps by adding one of those liquid-soluble fiber supplements to the water/milk when I mix it together and using whole wheat bread flour (if I can find it)? Or would that throw off the taste/texture too much? Would I need to alter the amounts of the other ingredients any? And if it would be possible, any ideas on how best to determine the amount of fiber in the end product?

Again, I know this is a weird question. But I appreciate any thoughts/insight you might have.
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bastets_place 3rd-Feb-2013 10:04 am (UTC)
I didn't find any recipies that met those exact criteria - I have to confess to having no idea how easily I could cut a slice off a loaf of bread that came in at a certain caloric load, but of the recipies that I did find that are higher in fiber, they seem to add things like:

Flax seeds (specifically)
Oat bran
wheat bran
other seeds (more generally)
prune puree (as the "sugar")
all-bran cereal (which has the problem of preservatives)
bean sprouts
mashed, cooked beans

whole wheat bread flour exists - one of the important things about using it is remembering that you need more water in there, and also that you want to set it aside (after mixing flour and water) for a couple of hours, to make what my sleep deprived brain calls a sponge.

I tinker with bread recipes a lot, and I have found that, generally, if you are really patient about the rise and you are prepared to babysit the loaf as it cooks, you can put quite a lot of "other things" in there. has a widget that will let you type in ingredients and it will add up all the nutritional information for you. Also, generally, they are a website that will provide a lot of additional support to any health-improvement effort, regardless of program used.
moi_blues 3rd-Feb-2013 11:55 am (UTC)
I am not sure if this will help, anyway - I make my bread with bran, whole wheat and rye flour. The bread is good made on yeast or either on sourdough, both are tasty, both have very nice crumb.
The proportion is around 50/50 white bread flour and "healthy" ingredients (whole wheat, rye, bran, dark flour).
I do not use milk, nor sugar, nor butter in this kind of bread. Only flour, salt, water, yeast/sourdough.
Here is the bread made on yeast using "no-knead" method with ~ 50%/ whole wheat and rye:
If you are interested, i could supply the recipe (the composition) for this one, or the one made with bran.
lalaquen 3rd-Feb-2013 06:16 pm (UTC)
That bread looks amazing, and I would like to avoid sugar where possible, so if you could provide the recipe that would be great. Thanks so much.
artkouros 3rd-Feb-2013 12:40 pm (UTC)
Try ground flax seed, we put it in everything. I would also suggest using sprouted grain flour if you can find it. This is what goes into Ezekial bread, which is recommended as it's low on the glycemic scale.
rbeck 4th-Feb-2013 11:33 am (UTC)
tmtaly 3rd-Feb-2013 12:59 pm (UTC)
mashed, cooked beans
mercy_rain 3rd-Feb-2013 03:15 pm (UTC)
1g per 10 cal? That is a LOT of fiber! When I was taking nutrition for nursing school, we were taught the minimum is at least 1g per 100 cal.

You could experiment with the disappearing Benefiber powder - no idea if it would do anything weird to dough, though!
inna68 3rd-Feb-2013 06:02 pm (UTC)
You can add any seeds to your bread to add fiber, you can also add grains (barley, brown rice, wheat berries, rye berries, whole oats), but you want to cook them for half an hour before mixing them in the bred dough. You can also add bran. If you add anything in a grind form - use smaller amount and use it as a substitute for part of flour. Also in this case you want to add some gluten to help the yeast to develop the correct texture, but you would get better (and healthier) result if you use sour dough starter. I would not recommend just adding water, because even the consistency of your dough could look correct the proportion yeast vs gluten will be all wrong. This is a wonderful wholegrain/rye bread recipe I use for more than 5 years now. It is in German, but you can use bing translator. Some ingredients of it are hard to find in USA, but you can substitute rye malt for barley malt (available in King Arthur store) and use molasses for beet syrup. Also you can substitute any grains to your liking, just use the same measurements. last thing, i found that for grains sold in usa just soaking in hot water is not enough, so i cook mine for 30 min the night before and let them sit in the kitchen for a night. Good luck!
lalaquen 3rd-Feb-2013 06:13 pm (UTC)
Thanks for all the comments, you guys. It is a lot of fiber, I know. Which is probably why there's only one (very heavily processed) store brand currently listed as acceptable. I'll probably play around with some of the recipes and ingredients you guys have suggested and see if I can come up with something close. I doubt I'll get anything exact, but I really don't like the idea of all those chemicals and "non-food" ingredients lurking around the label, so that may just be a trade-off I have to accept. If the point is to get healthy and improve my intake of fiber/whole grains, then making a dedicated effort in that direction should still count for something.
querulouspeg 3rd-Feb-2013 06:25 pm (UTC)
Adding a few scoops of rye flour mix to bread adds heaps of fibre and gives a nice nutty taste. In general tho, if you want to add more fibre to your diet the best way is just to up your intake of fruit and veg. Leafy greens are great. I am also on a health kick and to be honest the best success I've had is to swear off bread altogether and eat 100% rye (pumpernickel, black bread) and whole grain Rye crackers (if I need a packed lunch). I've swapped rice and pasta and potatoes for their wholegrain counterparts. Brown rice, wholemeal spaghetti (I find wholemeal pasta shapes to be a bit hard work, very dense but spaghetti is nom) and as for potatoes I use sweet potatoes instead because they are full of good things and low GI to boot. Also eat oatmeal for breakfast, that stuff is MAGIC! Another really great trick is to eat an apple a day. The natural pectin in apples does wonders for your digestive system!
doc__holliday 3rd-Feb-2013 08:45 pm (UTC)
ditch the bread and focus on whole grains, beans, and fruit for your fibre.

Unfortunately, if you rely on it for your fibre, bread will hinder your weightloss goals. I try to limit my bread consumption to MAYBE once or twice a week, and load up on things like avocado, beans, apples and quinoa for my fibre needs. You can get really creative and make things like black bean brownies (stupid amounts of fibre in those!).

What kind of program are you on? It's a bit of shady science to suggest that eating fibre removes excess fat... weight-loss is all a numbers game: calories in ≠ calories out. And unfortunately most high fibre bread tends to also be calorically more expensive.
lalaquen 4th-Feb-2013 06:32 pm (UTC)
I plan to eat as little bread as I can, because I know that even the best bread is never going to be ideal, but my husband works as a retail manager at the moment and more or less has to rely on sandwiches or meal bars for the meal he has to eat on shift, because he never knows when what should've been a thirty minute break will turn into two minutes, or he won't officially get one at all. So for him it pretty much has to be portable, and stable at room temperature. I realize there are good/decent meal bars out there, but it didn't seem like the sort of thing you should once or twice a day, every day, for 5-6 days out of the week, which is what his normal work schedule would require. So I was hoping to be able to find/make a good bread that he could make into sandwiches a couple of times a week for the sake of variety if nothing else, while still improving his overall health/diet.

With regards to the plan, it's called Travis Martin's Thrive! and it probably is a little bit shady on some of the science. If what I've heard about it is true, a lot of it comes from trial and error on the founder's part - figuring out what worked for him and what didn't, etc. We are mostly doing this plan because my father also needs to loose weight rather badly for his health, and he and my mother had done this together once before, so it's something he's familiar with. He isn't very good with calorie counting, doesn't like to try dramatically new foods, and only sort of knows how to cook, so know that mum's gone it has to be something simple enough for him to follow on his own when the best support I can offer him is doing it with him so he doesn't feel so alone in his efforts, advice over the phone, and occasional shipped care packages. And it worked for him when he did it before (it is at least meant to be a lifestyle change, not just a diet), he just gave up on it when my mum died, so right now that's helping to motivate him. In his mind, it was either this or go back to Atkins, which I am personally against for a number of reasons, not the least of which being that I was concerned about a man nearing 60 with a heart condition and blood pressure tablets consuming that much fat on a regular basis.

I probably added to the confusion with my quick, oblique references to the program's rules. I wasn't trying to give too much of an info dump about the program itself, since I know that isn't what this community is for - just the relevant part. It isn't so much that the program suggests that eating more fiber directly removes fat. It's more, the less digestible carbohydrates you eat, the less sugar available to the system, and thus the less likely you are to experience insulin spikes, which are bad from both a blood sugar perspective and because (at least according to the program) the release of insulin is one of the things which triggers the body to store nutrients (especially fat) rather than burn it. The program is designed to encourage your body to burn fat for energy rather than carbohydrates without cutting them out completely, because that can be very difficult for some people, and because your body needs certain nutrients that are most readily found in those foods. So it emphasizes eating lots of vegetables and lean proteins, complex carbohydrates only occasionally and in small quantities, minimal fats, and no/very little sugar.
deceptivemirror 3rd-Feb-2013 09:56 pm (UTC)
Add dried fruit to your bread. In addition to the whole wheat you already plan on using, dried fruit contains a great deal of fiber and will make it sweet, which should help you have a healthier alternative to things containing more sugar.
sayga 3rd-Feb-2013 10:03 pm (UTC)
I didn't read the comments so apologies if you have the exact same answer. I'm big into fiber and went gluten free about 9 months ago. Any time I have bread-substitutes, I usually make them at home because it's so expensive to buy that stuff. I add ground flax seed to breads and pancakes that I make to increase the fiber. It should be pretty easy to make a bread and add flax (and a bit of extra moisture, cause flax sucks up a lot of liquid...I guess that's where it might get tricky is to get just the right mix). Also, because gluten free breads are expensive and usually tough, we have made pancakes with flax and used them as bread for sandwiches. YUM!
winifred_ish 3rd-Feb-2013 10:46 pm (UTC)
I'm really bad at baking by recipes but I have been wheat free and to some extend glutenfree for a few years and whenever I have to bake bread I use ground psyllium husks - which has been awesome for baking when you're using flour and grains that doesn't have the same sticking togetherness - as high fiber breads tend to not have - also it should be good for the digestion.
kamaliitaru 4th-Feb-2013 02:31 am (UTC)
I like adding oatmeal to my bread. It does give a different texture, which I like, and just tastes better to me. Although I don't have a perfected recipe, I've successfully used a combination of whole oats soaked in water and whole wheat flour in bread - I just add a few tablespoons of vital wheat gluten, and that helps a lot with the texture.

I've also found that when cooking with whole grains, it helps to add a bit more water to the dough for the first rise - that helps hydrate the grains a bit more. This method only really works if you have a stand mixer to knead the bread in. If you don't, you can add about 2/3 of the water to your flours and let them sit for a few hours before you make your bread.

You may also be able to bump up the fiber content of bread by using coconut flour.

And, since I've suggested a few things that can set the pocket book back, if you want to try them, go to a good bulk foods section of the supermarket and get a little at a time. I go to WinCo, but I don't know where you are, and if you have any of those around you.
joanwilder 4th-Feb-2013 03:20 am (UTC)
Someone else has mentioned flaxseed meal. I add that to any bread I make (about 1/2 c per loaf) without adding any additional liquid.
doubletake 4th-Feb-2013 03:49 am (UTC)
You might have better luck looking into flatbread/lavash/tortilla/naan type products than 'sandwich' breads. Rather than try to increase the fiber load, look at decreasing calories from other sources (fats, refined flours, nuts, sugars, etc.) to make up the other half of your ratio.

The way to calculate the fiber and calorie count of your product is...well, to calculate it:

Buy a GOOD food scale. I like the OXO one with the pull out front.

Weigh your ingredients, and research/calculate how many calories/grams of fiber you are using. The Nutrition Facts can help; I recommend using an Excel (or OpenOffice) spreadsheet to start a table of ingredients that you can use for reference. It is much easier to use grams, and then have everything calculated out how much is in 100 grams.

Here's the columns I would use:
Nutrition Facts "Serving Size" in GRAMS (you may have to convert from ounces)
Nutrition Facts "Calories" PER SERVING
Nutrition Facts "Fiber" PER SERVING
Calculated Calories PER 100 GRAMS
Calculated Fiber PER 100 GRAMS

Then you can use this reference sheet to calculate how many calories and grams of fiber are in your WHOLE RECIPE. I again use Excel.
Amount of Calories in Whole Recipe (calculated using your reference table value)
Amount of Fiber in Whole Recipe (calculated using your reference table value)
When you have put in all of your ingredients, you can check to see if the formula meets your 1g/10cal ratio.

When you find a recipe that 'works' nutritionally, make a test batch, baking by weight.

Weigh your final loaf/loaves, and from there you can figure out what weight you can have to keep your serving under 100 calories. You may have to get your bread fix with some pretty small slices of toast. :/

If you need help with the Excel portion of this, let me know and I can try to get you set up with some of my templates. If you're not ready to get this in-depth, you can try to rough-calculate the nutritional value of your recipes by plugging them into a website like or allrecipes--but it will only work if the websites know your ingredients (prune puree might be out.) You'll have to fiddle. A lot.

As for fiber-increasing ingredients: psyllium, inulin, any of the brans, pectin...try some of the lesser-known flours, such as teff, montina, or quinoa.
doubletake 4th-Feb-2013 07:14 am (UTC)
This is the sort of thing (recipe formulation) that makes me geek out (I'm currently working with a chef mentor on commercial recipe formulation, which includes a LOT of "we need X to be less than 10g, but Z should be as high as possible without the production cost being over Z")... but I know it can be rough on a lot of other folks (I spent a good deal of my study time in pastry school tutoring other people in how to use Excel).

Couldn't get your question out of my head so I cobbled up a couple of quick examples from stuff I've worked on before. SHOULD (I have not publicly shared a Google Doc before) show you a table comparing calorie & fiber contents for various flours/meals/powders. I tried to only include things that are easy(ish) to find (online at least). I added a column that helps visualize the ratio of fiber to calories. The value of 1 denotes 1 gram of fiber per 10 calories. More than 1 is more fiber/cal, less than 1 is less fiber/cal. It definitely illustrates how crazy difficult 1g fiber per 10 calories is!
NOTE: Psyllium Husk powder technically has 34 calories, but your body cannot digest/absorb them since it's basically solid cellulose. The way they calculate calories (setting stuff on fire) doesn't reflect this feature of digestion. :)

On the top row, I included the formulas that I used to automate the calculations. is a basic recipe nutritional calculator. I used the formula that moi_blues gave above.

I hope this helps.
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