Years ago Colleen came home from Relief Society with a cool new recipe for making Bible Bread. Well, if it comes out of the Bible we thought, it must be really good for you. So for about six months we faithfully made this bread, but there was this little problem with it. When you mix bean flour with wheat flour using modern leavening methods the beans contribute a sugar into the bread that we cannot digest. We produce no digestive enzyme that can digest the sugar. Therefore, when you eat beans, this particular sugar goes through the stomach and the small intestine without ever being digested or absorbed into the bloodstream. 

However, once it arrives into the colon, friendly bacteria (lactobacilli) enjoy a feeding frenzy consuming this undigested sugar. A natural by-product of consumption for these friendly bacteria is gas. Yep! this is why you become odiferous and musical when eating beans. Well, I like beans but I don't like this side effect and the other day I was thinking of various ways to prepare beans to overcome this effect.

It occurred to me that I've never eaten Ezekiel Bread since I swore off of it over a decade ago, but that if I were to follow the basic recipe and use naturally leavened starter as the leavener in the bread, the friendly lactobacilli would completely digest the undigestible sugar during the leavening process. Then when you eat the bread everything would be digestible. Well, we tried it out and are happy to report that if you want to use bean flour along with whole-wheat flour to make naturally leavened bread it works great with no unwanted side effects. Yea!

The bread is a bit denser, as you would expect, but our children love it and eat it as fast as we make it for them. When making four two-pound loaves Colleen uses about three cups of bean flour to nine or 10 cups of whole-wheat flour, or enough until the dough pulls away from the side of the mixer cleanly, just as the directions give for our naturally leavened bread (Click here for written instructions or click here for video instructions).

Have fun enjoying your beans in your bread!

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The answer to this may be obvious, but why do I want beans in my bread? I know beans can be used in quick breads to replace oil and reduce fat and calories, but why in a yeast bread?

Beans (legumes) and grains compliment each other well to provide a sound nutrient profile. Legumes are also know to digest very slowly and to lead to very stable blood sugar levels. Both beans and grains contain phytates, which tend to block absorption of minerals within the bloodstream and render them useless to the body. The possibility of being able to neutralize phytates and to predigest an offending bean sugar through the naturally leavening led me to this bread-making experiment. This article was written as I was flying out the door with my wife for our first get-away without children in a couple years. Allow me to add more detail now. Let's begin by asking a question about beans (legumes).

Why do beans cause gas? 
Beans (legumes) cause gas because they contain a sugar, oligosaccharide, that the human body can not break down and absorb into the bloodstream as the body breaks down other sugars. This is because the human body does not produce the enzyme that breaks down oligosaccharides. Therefore, instead of entering the bloodstream while moving through the small intestine, as other sugars do, oligosaccharides make it all the way through the GI tract to the large intestine still intact.
The bacteria that live in the large intestine break down the oligosaccharides. As they feed on sugar they produce gas as a byproduct of the metabolism of oligosaccharides. Similarly, stress can cause any food to move through the GI tract without properly being digested. As the foods enter the large intestine undigested, a similar feeding frenzy occurs that results in a similar outcome -- gas.

Preventing gas 

To prevent gas that is caused by eating beans, the oligosaccharides must be broken down before they reach the large intestine and become food for the resident bacteria. This story is about a test we did specifically to see if we could overcome the oligosaccharide factor during the bread-making process. It works, but takes longer to leaven the bread and requires warm conditions. We've made the bread twice now. The first time it rose very well -- although it took perhaps eight hours longer than usual to rise. The second time, it was colder and draftier and we could not get nearly as good a rise. We may have complicated it because we took the rising bread with us on our get-away together and had to complete the rise next to a fireplace.

Phytates and Hydrolysis
One of the known benefits of the naturally leavening of grains is that during the leavening process phytates are neutralized and no longer will interfere with the proper digestion of minerals. This is a significant factor that points to the wisdom of Old-World leavening techniques. It stands to reason that bean flour that is mixed with the wheat flour to make this bread, which also contains offending phytates that would otherwise render many minerals useless to the body, is also benefited during the leavening process. The naturally leavening process transforms the bean flour to a food that has a better nutrient profile for man because neutralized phytates from beans will no longer bind minerals and render them useless to the body.

So all in all, it was a fun experiment and the bread turned out to be very tasty; our children gobbled it up, which I wasn't sure they would because it is a bit denser than straight wheat bread. It appears that when leavened properly with the sourdough or naturally leavened starter the oligosaccharides, which lead to offending gases are pre-digested during the leavening process. Hence, when the bread is eaten, the pre-digested sugar enters he bloodstream and does not go on to the large intestine to feed intestinal bacteria, who produce gas from all foods that do not fully digest before arriving into the large intestines. 
Gas is primarily composed of hydrogen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide—which are odorless. Methane, which is produced in many people, is not odorless. Sulfur also causes gas to have odor; high sulfur-containing foods such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, garlic, leaks, and onions often lead to foul-smelling gas.

The links you have for the recipe and video don't seem to take me to the right places. Am I missing something?

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