Everyone seems to be anti-carb these days so most people wouldn't think a dietitian would be one to embrace bread in a diet, but our new Registered Dietitian Nutritionist claims to be "super pro-carb."
Amy's home baked bread
That's Amy Klassman's whole philosophy about food. "I am a firm believer that everything can fit within moderation into a diet," said Amy. She doesn't believe in elimination diets that restrict you from a specific food because no food is inherently bad. "Nutrition and food have been at odds for a while. Either nutrition is viewed as the enemy or food is the enemy when really, they should come together to bring enjoyment to eating. It's not just about counting calories," said Amy.
Amy hopes to spread that mindset to students of The Chopping Block in her first demonstration class, The Non-Diet Diet on Saturday, July 27 at 10am at Lincoln Square. After watching fad diets come and go over the years (remember the Cabbage Soup Diet?) and seeing that none are really sustainable, Amy says there is a better way to balance your diet so you can get the weight loss results you are looking for but still enjoy the foods you like within moderation.
Her approach is simple. For each meal, it’s about dividing your plate into various sections:
- Half of your plate should be non-starchy vegetables (so everything except potatoes, corn and green peas),
- One quarter of the plate should be 2-3 ounces of lean protein,
- and the final quarter of the plate should be carbohydrates that are essential for sugar and energy in the body. So carbs are allowed, but you don't overdo it. You're allowed to feel comforted by them rather than missing them.
But what about dessert? Amy prefers real food in her desserts, like the Summer Berry Fruit crisp she'll show you how to make in class. "Research has shown that people tend to overeat so-called 'diet desserts' because you aren’t necessarily satisfying your craving. I think that dessert can fit into your diet, but you have to portion it and put it away," said Amy.
Amy has been working with food her entire life. Trained in the kitchen at a young age by her grandmother, she later worked in kitchens from restaurants to bakeries to cooking schools throughout high school and college to support herself. She got her culinary certificate at the same time as her Bachelor of Science in Nutrition so while she was taking biochemistry and microbiology, she was also taking charcuterie and pastry classes.
She now works full-time as a menu and nutrition specialist so she does a lot of recipe development and product testing. She came to The Chopping Block to live her dream of teaching others that food can not only be nutritious but can also be tasty and fun to make.
Amy especially loves baking sourdough-based breads and has had a starter for the past six months that she affectionately calls "Wilma."
With Wilma, Amy is able to actively bake multiple loaves of bread on a weekly basis. Here's one of her bread recipes that happens to be her husband's favorite.
Cranberry Pumpkin Seed Sourdough Bread
352 g Bread Flour
148 g Wheat Flour
380 g Water (divided)
104 g Sourdough Starter, mature (i.e. at peak rise prior to next feeding)
55 g Pumpkin Seeds
65 g Dried Cranberries
10 g Salt
- Mix together the bread flour, wheat flour and 375 g water until the flour is fully hydrated. Cover and set somewhere warm for 1.5 hours.
- Add sourdough starter to the hydrated flour. Mix and knead until fully incorporated using preferred kneading technique. Cover and set aside for 45 minutes.
- Add salt and 5 g water to dough. Mix and knead again until fully incorporated. Set aside in a glass bowl. Cover and place in an area ~73-75'F.
- Perform a stretch and fold 45 minutes after incorporating the salt, pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries into the dough. Cover dough and let rest. Repeat 3 more times with 45 minutes of rest in between each stretch/fold.
- Let dough rest for the remaining 1-2 hrs, monitoring for signs of bubbles around the edges.
- After the final bulk fermentation, pre-shape the dough into your preferred shape. Let rest for 25 minutes.
- Shape dough into final shape and place into a banneton basket, loaf pan, or bowl lined with a clean (non-fuzzy) kitchen towel. Cover and place in fridge overnight.
- Following Morning: Preheat oven to 500'F. Place combi-cooker or dutch oven in 500'F for 1 hour prior to baking.
- After an hour of preheating, take combi-cooker or dutch oven out of oven and carefully place dough in bottom of baking vessel. Score dough. Cover baking vessel with lid and place into oven.
- Turn down oven to 475'F and bake with cover on for 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes, remove cover of baking vessel and lower oven temperature to 440'F. Bake for an additional 15-25 minutes until crust is golden brown.
- Following the conclusion of baking, cool bread on a cooling rack and resist the temptation to cut into it until it is fully cooled!
This recipe calls for generic types of flour, but Amy sources all of her flour from local grains/mills. Her go-to flour supplier is Lonesome Stone Mill in Wisconsin. She also really loves flours from The Mill at Janie's Farm and Meadowlark Organic Farms.
Meet Amy and see how carbs can be part of a healthy lifestyle in her class The Non-Diet Diet next month. You'll learn how to make:
- Arugula and Butter Lettuce Salad with Roasted Corn and Blueberry-Thyme Vinaigrette
- Paprika and Garlic-Spiced Roasted Chicken Thighs
- Farfalle Pasta with Roasted Red Peppers, Corn and Homemade Tomato Sauce
- Summer Berry Fruit Crisp