Chia is one of the most simple, nutritious things you can add to any meal. And, with no discernable flavour of its own, you can do almost anything with it – sprinkle a raw teaspoon into your salad or smoothie, let it ‘gel’ into a chia pudding, add it to your soups, or even bake with it.
Many people are a little nervous to try baking with chia because they’re not quite sure how to do it, or whether it will ruin the recipe. Thankfully, it doesn’t take a master chef to include chia seeds in almost any baking recipe. Here are our top five tips:
As you like it
Chia is very versatile and durable during cooking. This means you needn’t worry that baking, blitzing or any other kitchen activities are going to impact the nutritional quality. You can use chia by adding it as an ingredient into your baking or by simply sprinkling seeds onto your bread or biscuits before or after the oven.
To grind, or not to grind
Chia has a soft outer shell which is easily digestible, and the seeds retain their full nutrition whether ground or whole, so it’s really up to you how you prefer to use them! Some recipes might work better with a smoother, ground chia – like cakes, brownies, and less textured baked goods. For a recipe with texture, like cookies, muffins or breads with nuts and seeds, whole seeds will work just fine.
With virtually no discernible taste of their own, chia seeds will not ruin your delicious cookies or cakes. In fact, most people will not even notice they are in there! Fussy little eaters? Never fear, adding chia is a simple way to give your baking a nutritional boost of fibre, omega-3 and protein while making sure your whole family will enjoy it.
Gluten-free and vegan-friendly
Chia is terrific for gluten-free and vegan baking because it can replace a number of other ingredients. Use a portion of chia flour mixed with gluten-free flour for a valuable nutritional boost. Chia gel can also be used to replace thickeners like gelatine and can be used as a binder in place of egg and breadcrumbs for burgers, meatloaf and meatballs.
Need to go totally egg free? We’ve got you covered. For each egg you need to replace, simply use one tablespoon of chia (ground or whole) mixed with three tablespoons of water. Allow the chia to form a gel in the water by leaving it to sit for 10mins.
Ready to give it a whirl? Try your new chia baking skills out with these delicious Jaffa Palmiers.