If you think sprouted bread feels and tastes like cardboard, Manna Bread will change your mind — though not at first sight. Read the package and you’re likely to think Manna’s tasteless — since the bread’s free of so much stuff. The loaves actually sound rather like the antithesis of bread, with no flour or yeast — and no fats, oils, salts, or sweeteners either.
Yet these simple, sprouted organic breads really are delicious — chewy, moist, and surprisingly sweet. Apparently, the germinating grains produce natural complex sugars. And the versions baked with fruit and sweet veggies are even sweeter and moister!
In fact, if you, like me, often start finding cakes and pastries far too sweet after a few bites, then you’ll likely find Manna Bread a healthy, not-cloyingly-oversweetened baked goodie. Love carrot cake but wish it was less greasy and didn’t come with the cream cheese frosting that gives your lactose-intolerant self a tummy ache? Try the Carrot Raisin — a decadent fruity morsel that’ll satisfy a sweet-tooth craving with none of the fat or processed sugar. Trying to wean yourself off Cinnamon Toast Crunch? Start your morning with a slice of Cinnamon Date — toasted to make it slightly crunchy-chewy on the outside and moist like a cinnamon roll on the inside. Then look at the ingredient list and be amazed — because the bread’s made with just four ingredients: sprouted organic whole wheat kernels, filtered water, organic dates, organic cinnamon.
My favorite Manna Breads are the fruity ones. Fruit & Nut, prettily studded on top with a mix of seeds, makes for a nice showy loaf if you’re having people over for tea. Banana Walnut Hemp packs an extra Omega-3 punch with its hemp and flax seeds. And the Fig Fennel Flax combines unexpected ingredients for a complex, rich taste.
Manna also makes less sweet but still slightly sweet loaves like Whole Rye and Millet Rice. Each loaf has between 6 – 7 servings — though I like to slice each loaf into eight pieces to make for roughly 100-calorie snacks. Let the loaf thaw before putting slices in the toaster; frozen pieces tend to get sticky in the toaster for some reason.
I usually eat the toasted slices plain, but they’re also good with nut butters, jelly, and/or honey. I tried using Manna Bread to make a savory sprout sandwich once — which I don’t recommend, because the sweet taste of the bread can clash with the mustard and other condiments.
I actually discovered yeast-free loaves when I grabbed a loaf of EarthSeed Multiseed bread (above) on a whim from my co-op’s freezer section. EarthSeed bread’s made in Canada though, so I felt bad about the food miles — and was happy to discover Manna, who serendipitously sent me samples of their breads to celebrate the launch of their new sourdough breads
Look for those in stores soon. Manna Breads are available at Whole Foods and many health food stores across the U.S., as well as in bulk on Manna Organics’ online store