The key to following the low iodine diet for me was having a great bread recipe. If I had delicious homemade bread available, I could always find something to eat as a meal or snack. This whole wheat honey oat bread is delicious and healthy, a great combination.
Iodine in bread?
Bread and other bakery foods that you buy from the store contain iodine in a few forms.
- Baked goods almost always contain salt. Without it, bread would be extremely bland – just flour, yeast, water, and a little sugar. In sweet foods, the salt cuts the sweetness. You don’t want salt to be eliminated. But determining the kind of salt used is difficult. The only salt that is often specified on labels is sea salt, which you definitely want to avoid on the low iodine diet.
- Store bought bread and rolls often contain “dough conditioners”, ingredients added to improve the texture or flavor of the bread. Only some dough conditioners contain iodine. But ingredient labels generally show a long list of conditioners and say “includes one or more of the following”.
- Many breads and baked goods contain milk, nonfat dry milk, or eggs. The low iodine diet restricts these ingredients.
I did a quick scan of 4 bread products I had in my house – two different kinds of sandwich bread, hot dog buns, and Hawaiian rolls. All 4 contained at least 1 of these ingredients.
Opt for Homemade
Homemade bread can seem really overwhelming to people. Many people opt for bread machines – I did the first two times I followed the low iodine diet. Bread machines simplify the steps of making homemade bread. But I had fairly mixed results on quality of my bread. I also could only make one loaf at a time. The large square loaves made awkward sized slices for making into sandwiches – with it being so large, it was hard to slice thinly.
Tips for Homemade Bread Success
With a bit of practice and a few tricks, homemade bread isn’t really that complicated. Here a few tricks to improve your loaves:
- Use good yeast. I buy yeast in bulk and store it in the freezer. Then I have a small container I keep in the fridge for using regularly. Unopened packages of yeast can be stored in the freezer for up to 2 years, according to Red Star Yeast. Once opened, use within 4 or 6 months if stored in the refrigerator or freezer, respectively. I will admit that I have yeast much older than 2 years in my deep freezer. It still works just fine for me.
- If you are concerned about your yeast, you can test the freshness using warm water and sugar. Details can be found on Red Star Yeast.
- This whole wheat honey oat bread recipe calls for instant yeast. Instant yeast is often labeled “bread machine yeast”. I prefer this because you can just mix it into your liquid then start adding the flour and mixing the bread. You can use active dry yeast. However, you would want to “proof” it in warm water with a little sugar for 10-15 minutes first.
- Use a thermometer. You will kill the yeast if you use water that is too hot. However, I find that most people are so worried about the water being too hot that they don’t make it warm enough. I ALWAYS take the temperature of my liquid before adding the yeast. I aim for 115-120 degrees. It will work if the water is cooler, it will likely just take longer to rise.
- Don’t over-flour the dough. While you want a strong dough for a bread loaf, you don’t want it stodgy. Too much flour makes for a dense loaf.
- If using whole wheat flour (regular or white), add some extra kneading time. Just 2-3 minutes.
- Practice, practice, practice. As you make bread more often, you will get better at it.
Toast with some nut butter or jam is a quick, easy snack. By using whole wheat honey oat bread, you will get more fiber, which is helpful on a low iodine diet. Nut butter and jelly sandwiches were a go-to food for me when I followed the low iodine diet. I also liked to take a slice or two of bread with me if I went out to eat. Then I could order a salad with no dressing or cheese and supplement with the bread for a more filling meal.
Whole Wheat Honey Oat Bread
- 2 1/2 cups boiling water
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 tbsp honey
- 4 tbsp canola oil
- 1 tbsp salt iodine free
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon optional
- 1 tbsp instant yeast
- 5 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
- Combine water through cinnamon in large mixing bowl. Cool to lukewarm (no more than 120 degrees F).
- Add the yeast and flour, stirring to form a rough dough. Knead with a dough hook for 7 minutes or by hand for 10 minutes; knead until dough is smooth an satiny.
- Remove dough ball to counter. Lightly grease bowl. Place dough in bowl. Cover with a light towel or lightly greased plastic wrap. Let rise for about 1 hour, until double in bulk.
- Divide dough in half and shape into a loaf. Place in lightly greased 9×5 inch loaf pans. Cover pans with towel or plastic wrap as above. Allow loaves to rise until they crown 1 inch over the rim of the pan, about 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 350. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown. Immediately remove loaves to wire rack to completely cool.