If you haven’t heard of psyllium husk for baking, you're missing out!
Psyllium husk is a magical ingredient that serves as the best binder for gluten-free baking. It adds the perfect texture, elasticity, and shape to your baked goods.
Trust me, your recipes will turn out so good you can't even tell what's in them!
In this post, we discuss everything you need to know about psyllium husk: what it is, what the benefits are, how to use it in baking, and even some recipe inspiration using psyllium husk.
Whether you are sensitive to gluten, have celiac disease, or are simply looking for new and unique ways to increase fiber and nutrients in your diet while still baking fun foods, this post is for you!
Want to learn more about increasing fiber in your diet? Check out our High Fiber Smoothie Blog to learn all about the benefits of fiber for your health!
What is Psyllium Husk?
You may be wondering… what in the world is psyllium husk?
So, let’s get right into it.
Psyllium husk is the outer coating of the psyllium seeds from the Plantago ovata plant (an herb grown mainly in India).
It is a great source of plant-derived fiber, making it full of health and digestive benefits. Psyllium husks' most frequent uses are as a dietary supplement for digestive support in products like Metamucil!
Psyllium husk is a hydrocolloid, meaning it binds and absorbs water easily. This makes it great as a food-thickening agent because it increases the viscosity of a liquid, allowing it to form a gel.
It can be used to thicken foods like ice cream, and that is also why it is such a magical ingredient when used in baking.
Want to learn more about how to heal your gut? Read our blog on How to Find Relief From Stubborn Gut Issues!
Psyllium Husk in Gluten-Free Baking
In traditional baking recipes using flour, the protein gluten acts as a binder to create elasticity and texture of the dough. When you remove gluten from the recipe, you probably have realized your baked goods do not turn out the same; they may be crumbly or flat.
In gluten-free baking, especially breads, you need something to replace gluten’s characteristics.
This is where psyllium husk comes into play!
Let’s dive into how psyllium husk portrays similar properties to gluten…
How Psyllium Husk for Baking Works
While many gluten-free recipes use flour containing xanthan gum, which is also a food-thickening agent, this alone does not always create the perfect product. Adding psyllium husk takes your recipes to the next level to achieve the perfect gluten-free high-fiber treat!
1. Psyllium husk makes the dough easier to knead, shape, and manipulate.
Most gluten-free recipes create thin, runny dough. This makes it harder to shape and work with and, when compensated with extra flour, can create a dense and dry product.
Adding psyllium husk solves this problem because of its water-absorbing properties. It makes the dough less liquid without having to add extra flour to compromise taste and texture!
Because of this, you can create rolls, baguettes, bagels, or whatever your heart desires, without worrying about stubborn dough.
2. Psyllium husk helps with rising and structure.
No one likes a flat, dense loaf of bread.
Without gluten and yeast, recipes lack the properties needed to allow the dough to rise. Psyllium husk combines with the starches in gluten-free flours, allowing gas to incorporate and rise during baking like it does when yeast is present.
Psyllium husk will allow you to create gluten-free bread that resembles gluten bread in taste and texture. No one will even be able to tell the difference!
What Type of Psyllium Husk Do I Need?
There are two main types of psyllium husk you can find at your local health food store or online: whole psyllium husk and psyllium husk powder.
The powder form is simply a finely grounded version of the whole psyllium husk, so you can use either form in your baking. Be aware, however, of what the recipe calls for and recognize there is a difference in weight between the two; the powder form weighs 85% lighter than the whole husks.
It is also important to note that psyllium husk comes in its natural state or blonde. The natural state can cause your baked goods to come out a purplish color. If you want to avoid purple bread, use the blonde form of psyllium husk!
How Can You Use Psyllium Husk for Baking?
Now that you know how great psyllium husk can be to increase fiber or avoid gluten, you may be wondering how to use it when baking.
In most recipes, you do not mix the psyllium husk directly in with the other ingredients. Instead, you whisk the psyllium husk with water to create a psyllium gel.
When making the psyllium gel, it is recommended to use at least a 10:1 water to psyllium husk ratio. This ratio will give you a gel that is of good consistency. Using less water can result in a stiff gel, and too much water can make a gel that's too runny.
The gel can then be incorporated in with the rest of the ingredients of your backed good.
If you do not make the gel, you would need to wait until the flour and the psyllium husk absorb the water until you can easily handle the dough. To prevent this waiting process, you make the gel.
Warning: The psyllium gel will look odd. When whisking the water and the psyllium husk, it will turn into a sticky slime-like blob!
How Much Psyllium Husk Do I Need?
The easiest way to know how much psyllium husk to use is by following a recipe that directly calls for it.
There are, however, ways to determine how much psyllium husk you should use for a recipe that does not originally call for it.
Using around 5-7 baker's percent (b%) of psyllium husk yields the best results. Baker's percentage expresses amounts as a percentage of how much flour is in the recipe. For example, if you used 100 grams of flour, 5-7 b% of psyllium husk would be 5-7 grams.
Can I Bake with Psyllium Husk if I am not Gluten Free?
Yes! Baking with psyllium husk is not limited to those avoiding gluten.
Adding psyllium husk to your baked goods is a great way to increase your fiber intake and add some nutrients to foods that can traditionally be less nutritious!
It is likely that many of you are deficient in dietary fiber, meaning you don't eat enough during the day. Adding an extra boost of fiber with psyllium husk can help you support your digestive system and heart health.
While gluten is not something that should be avoided unless you have an intolerance or sensitivity, switching up your baking style by adding new ingredients can be a fun way to spark your creativity while adding new nutrients to your diet.
3 Psyllium Husk Baking Recipes
I know you are excited to start baking! So, let me give you three of my favorite psyllium husk recipes!
1. Psyllium Husk and Oat Bran Muffins
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup oat bran
1/4 cup psyllium husk powder
1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup dried fruits and nuts (e.g., raisins, chopped almonds)
Combine all dry ingredients and all wet ingredients separately. Then, pour the wet with the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Bake for 18-20 minutes at 350°F.
2. Psyllium Husk and Flaxseed Bread
1 1/2 cups almond flour
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1/4 cup psyllium husk powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
4 large eggs
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup water
Optional toppings: sesame seeds, sunflower seeds
Combine all dry ingredients. Pour in the wet ingredients and combine. Transfer the dough to a loaf pan and bake at 350°F for 40-45 minutes.
3. Psyllium Husk and Coconut Flour Pancakes
1/4 cup coconut flour
2 tbsp psyllium husk powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (or any milk of your choice)
2 tbsp honey or maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
Coconut oil or cooking spray for greasing the pan
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until a smooth batter forms. Let the batter sit for a few minutes to allow the coconut flour and psyllium husk to absorb the moisture. Pour ¼ cup of batter for each pancake onto a hot greased skillet. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side. Top with fresh berries, greek yogurt, chopped nuts, extra honey or maple syrup!
The Takeaway: Why Use Psyllium Husk for Baking?
Psyllium husk can be a baking powerhouse, allowing you to add extra fiber and nutrients to any of your baked goods. It can help you support a healthy and happy gut microbiome.
For those who are gluten intolerant, psyllium husk allows you a way to enjoy the baked goods you love without guilt or stomach pain. Happy baking!
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