Essene bread is considered by many (including myself) to be the healthiest bread on the planet and yet it is little known about in the western world. Even within the field of raw foods it is possibly one of the least talked about raw foods even though it is super-delicious and versatile. This is one staple that I think should be in everyone's raw store cupboard.
What Is Essene Bread?
Essene bread (pronounced es-seen) is a flat loaf shaped mass made from sprouted wheat grains/berries, which may or may not have other ingredients added such as dried fruits, spices, herbs or other sweet or savoury ingredients. It is both delicious and nutritious and a wonderful addition to any raw food store cupboard owing to its versatility and the fact that it is filling and satiating without being high-fat.
It is widely believed that sprouted bread was first created by the Essenes (hence the name "Essene bread"), an ancient Judaic sect who flourished from the 2nd century BC to the 1st century AD and lived an ascetic lifestyle. The Essenes practiced raw/live vegetarianism, fasting, communal living, and the healing arts. They also embraced reincarnation, astrology, and other related disciplines now banned by the Christian Church. It is said that they formed for the particular purpose of birthing avatars or Christed individuals onto the Earth plane. It is taught within some circles that Jesus Christ himself was born into the Essene community and that Mary was raised as an Essene. Essene bread was one of their staple foods. They created a sprouted grain and water paste that was spread and dried to form wafers on sun-heated stones; this effectively dehydrated it and formed a delicious bread that could be used in multiple ways.
Essene Bread Facts
* Essene bread is the simplest and the most nutritious bread in the known world.
* An ancient recipe for this Essene bread appears in the first century Aramaic manuscript entitled "The Essene Gospel of Peace".
* Today Essene bread is also known as Manna bread, Ezekiel bread or sprouted wheat bread.
* Some manufacturers lightly cook the bread to preserve it while others are truly raw. It is worth checking out each brand that you can access to find out which ones are which, although it is also easy to make your own with the aid of a dehydrator or low-temperature oven.
* The sprouting of the wheat not only ensures optimum nutritional benefit but also breaks down the lectins and other substances that some people may be sensitive or allergic to.
* Those who are gluten or wheat intolerant often find that there is no allergic response to sprouted wheat and wheatgrass, but it is worth consulting a qualified practitioner before trying it, just in case.
To make your own Essene bread you simply need to sprout wheat berries/grains (they are the same thing) for 2-3 days and then process them with a little water, create a small flat loaf with your hands or a mould and dehydrate until dry. It really is this simple.
See this week's recipes for Raisin and Cinnamon bread which gives you the basic recipe and more.
The following is taken from the "Essene Gospel of John" as translated by Edward Szekely.
"Let the angels of God prepare your bread. Moisten your wheat, that the angels of water may enter it. Then set it in the air, that the angel of air may embrace it. And leave it from morning to evening beneath the sun, that the angel of sunshine may descend upon it. And the blessings of the three angels will soon make the germ of life to sprout in your wheat. Then crush your grain, and make thin wafers, as did your forefathers when they departed out of Egypt, the house of bondage. Put them back again beneath the sun from its appearing, and when it is risen to its highest in the heavens, turn them over on the other side that they may be embraced there also by the angel of sunshine, and leave them there until the sun sets. For the angels of water, and air and of sunshine fed and ripened the wheat in the field, and they likewise must prepare also your bread. And the same sun which, with the fire of life, made the wheat to grow and ripen, must cook your bread with the same fire. For the fire of the sun gives life to the wheat, to the bread, and to the body. But the fire of death kills the wheat, the bread, and the body. And the living angels of the living God serve only living men. For God is the God of the living, and not the God of the dead."
Just as some background, it is interesting and useful to know that during usual/modern bread making practices the milling of grain into white flour requires the removal of the bran and the germ. During this process, important natural fibre and bran are lost (including 21 vitamins and minerals). Five vitamins and minerals (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and folic acid) are then added back into the flour and then the bread is called "enriched". By contrast, sprouted breads are made from freshly sprouted grains which contain all of the fibre, bran, vitamins and minerals of the original grain plus an average of approximately 100% increase in those vitamins and minerals from the sprouting process.
1 cup of sprouted wheat (108g) yields:
* 214 calories
* 11 calories from fat (1g of fat)
* 17mg sodium
* 48g carbohydrate
* 1g dietary fibre
* 8g protein
* 5% of RDA for Vitamin C
* 13% of RDA for Iron
* 3% of RDA for Calcium
How To Eat Essene Bread
Essene bread can be enjoyed on its own, especially if it has extra ingredients added to the basic recipe.
It's great for spreading on or dipping into. Great combinations include:
* Olive paste
* Fresh tomatoes and avocado
* Avocado and onion
* Leafy green sprouts
* Nut cheese
* Nut cheese and tomato or onion
Essene bread can also be used to create pizza bases or sandwiches. It is just as versatile as a normal loaf of bread if you purchase or make larger sized loaves or slices. The denser breads can be popped in the food processor with other ingredients, homogenised and then used as a quick way to create a fresh pizza base that can then be dehydrated to the desired shape and size.
"Where Can I Buy it?"
You can find this in good health food stores, either on the shelves (usually cooked) or in the freezer (usually but not always raw). Mail order is also an option. It is sadly not yet something you can find in the average supermarket.
© 2011 Karen Knowler WOULD YOU LIKE TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR ON YOUR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Karen Knowler, The Raw Food Coach publishes "Successfully Raw" - a free weekly eZine for raw food lovers everywhere. If you're ready to look good, feel great and create a raw life you love get your FREE tips, tools and recipes now at www.TheRawFoodCoach.com.