My 100% Chia Firm Sandwich Bread (vegan, gluten-free, oil-free) is a full-bodied loaf for all of your favorite toppings and fillings (it makes stellar toast, too). Made with three ingredients (plus water and optional salt), it is an easy, hearty anytime bread that is vegan, keto, paleo, oil-free, grain-free, nut-free and sugar free (zero grams).
Several readers asked if I could create a larger, sandwich style loaf that was still as simple as my 2-Ingredient Chia Bread Recipe. I was less than sure, but after some contemplation, and many rounds of testing, I have a winner of a recipe to offer all of you.
I am naming it exactly what it is: 100% Chia Firm Sandwich Bread.
Made with chia flour (simply chia seeds that you grind extra fine), whole psyllium husks, baking powder (plus some tap water and optional salt), then baked in a hot oven, this bread is excellent sliced and spread with jams, marmalades, and vegan cheese spreads (hint: like my Vegan Boursin Cheese Spread).
And if you have never made homemade bread before now, you will be delighted to know that this particular recipe is a breeze to follow. Really.
- Vegan (egg-free, dairy-free)
- Yeast-free (no active yeast or instant yeast required)
- High fiber content (8 grams per slice)
- 4 grams protein per slice
- Easy to make
- 3 ingredients (plus water and optional salt)
Ingredients for this Great Bread
The exact amounts of each ingredient are indicated in the recipe card at the end of the post.
You will also need some regular tap water. I like to add some salt, but it is optional/adjustable according to your needs (i.e., omitting the salt will not affect the success of the bread).
No added fat is needed for the bread. Chia seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are equally great for your health and making soft, tender bread.
What are Whole Psyllium Husks?
I use psyllium husk in this bread to give it a more sturdy, sandwich-style texture. It also allows for the creation of a larger loaf (unlike my 2-ingredient chia bread recipe, where the loaves must be made smaller to “work”).
Psyllium is a plant product derived from the husks of the seeds from the Plantago ovata plant. When combined with liquid, the husks swell, creating a gelatin. The gel can be used in ways similar to eggs, and also stands in for gluten (creating structure) in gluten-free and grain-free breads.
I order whole psyllium husks online. You can search for them on any search engine and find multiple purveyors. You may also be able to find them in a well-stocked natural foods grocery store.
Store the psyllium husks in an airtight container and it will last for years, making it a frugal buy. Plus once you have it, you can make all kinds of amazing gluten-free vegan breads, such as my 100% Millet Sandwich Bread, Easy Multigrain Sandwich Bread, Coconut Flour Sandwich Bread, 100% Millet Banana Bread, Buckwheat Sandwich Bread, Oat Sandwich Bread, 4-Ingredient Power Bread, and much more!
Tip for Ready-to-Use Chia Flour
My recipe calls for grinding chia seeds into a fine flour. This is simple to do in a blender (high speed or regular) or a small coffee mill.
If you prefer, you can skip the grinding and use ready-made chia flour. You will need to use an equal weight of chia flour to replace the chia seeds.
Second, be sure that it is finely ground chia (flour consistency) as opposed to chia meal (coarsely ground chia seeds). In order for this recipe to work, the seeds must be finely ground into a flour.
If you have a package of chia meal, not flour, place it in a blender and pulse until it is a fine flour.
How to Make 100% Chia Firm Sandwich Bread
Note that the complete directions are also in the recipe card below.
Step One: Preheat the Oven and Prepare Baking Pan
Step Two: Grind the Chia Seeds into a Fine Flour
This is a very important step. Using a blender or a clean coffee mill, grind the chia seeds into a fine flour. A fine consistency is critical for the texture and rise of the bread.
Step Three: Combine the Dry Ingredients in a Bowl
Step Four: Add the Water
Next, stir in the warm water with a silicone or rubber spatula, scraping the sides of the bowl, until the ingredients are combined into a rough-looking dough. The dough will be very thick and sticky.
Step Five: Shape the Loaf
Use a some water to wet your hands (I place of small bowl of water in my work area for this purpose). Use your damp hands to gather and squeeze the dough into a cohesive ball.
Transfer the ball to the lined baking sheet and shape (again, with wet hands) into an 8×4-inch (20×10 cm) loaf.
Re-wet your hands again. Smooth the top and round off the ends of the dough into an even loaf, about 8-inches (20 cm) long.
Step Six: Bake
Bake the loaf in the preheated oven for 50 to 55 minutes, or until risen and the surface of the loaf appears dry. The loaf will be dark golden brown in color, and crust of the bread should be firm.
Step Seven: Cool the Bread
Transfer the loaf to a cooling rack. Let the bread cool completely before slicing.
A nutritious, delicious loaf–done!
How Should I Store the Bread?
Store the cooled bread in an airtight container at (cool) room temperature for 1 day, the refrigerator for 2 weeks, or the freezer for up to 6 months.
The chia bread should be stored in the refrigerator of freezer after one day because of the high fat content of the chia seeds. Together with the moisture in the bread, the bread can go bad more quickly than a traditional loaf of bread.
What is the Taste and Texture of the Bread?
The chia bread has a pleasant dark golden brown crust and firm texture. The nutty flavor reminds me of a 100% whole wheat bread recipe my mother used to make (and which I loved). The bread is also very filling: one small slice or piece provides a lot of satisfaction.
It is not an especially crusty bread (instead, it has a consistent texture throughout).
How Do I use this Healthy Bread for Sandwiches?
Since this is such a firm loaf, you can cut slices thick or thin for your desired sandwich filling or topping. I recommend cutting the loaf into thinner slices for closed sandwiches and thicker slices for open-face sandwiches.
My Bread is Gooey Inside. Why?
This gluten-free bread should not be gooey inside, at all. If your bread comes out gooey in the middle, it is most likely due to one or more of the following reasons:
- Oven temperature is not accurate. Use an oven thermometer (they are very inexpensive) to regularly check the accuracy of your oven’s temperature.
- The bread was not baked long enough. The bread may look done before 50 minutes have passed. That does not mean that it is cooked on the inside. Bake for the entire time.
- The bread was not cooled before slicing.
- Inaccurate measurement of ingredients. With minimal breads such as this one, accuracy of measurements is critical. I strongly suggest using a kitchen scale for measuring the chia seeds and whole psyllium husk.
Can I Use Different Flours in Place of the Ground Chia Seeds (Chia Flour)?
Can I Replace the Ground Chia Seeds with Flaxseed Meal?
Possibly. Use an equal weight of flaxseed meal (finely ground into a very fine flour, or an equal weight of whole flax seeds that have been ground into a fine flour). Keep the other ingredients and bake time the same. I have not tested the recipe with flaxseed meal, but it should work!
Can I Make the Bread in a Bread Maker (Bread Machine)?
I have not tried it so I cannot make recommendations one way or any-other.
Can I Bake this Homemade Sandwich Bread in a Loaf Pan?
Yes! Shape the loaf as directed and place into a parchment paper-lined (or greased) 8-inch loaf pan (8×4 inches/ 20×10 cm). The bread may need a few minutes less baking time, compared to baking on a baking sheet.
Can I Sprinkle Seeds on Top of the Bread Before Baking?
Can I Use Psyllium Powder in Place of the Whole Psyllium Husks?
Possibly. I have not tested the bread with psyllium powder, but theoretically it should work. Be sure to use an equal weight of psyllium powder to replace the whole psyllium husks (not volume).
What are Some Healthy Topping Ideas for This Homemade Bread?
- Peanut butter (or other nuut butters or seed butters)
- Sliced or mashed avocado
- Sliced or mashed bananas
- Vegan cream cheese (try my easy DIY recipe)
- Dairy-free Greek Yogurt and a drizzle of maple syrup