Is This Low-Carb, Low-Calorie Bread the Best Thing Ever?
You've heard about it before. Maybe you've even tried one of many iterations of recipes for low-carb or grain-free bread now exploding online, made with everything from cauliflower to bananas to gross grilled chicken breasts that are supposed to sub for pizza crust. So hey, we understand if you're a little skeptical of the latest one to break the Internet: cloud bread.
Cloud bread is low in carbs and calories, high in protein, and ridiculously easy to make with just three ingredients: eggs, cream cheese, and cream of tartar. The bread gets its creative name from its soft, puffy texture and golden, pillowy appearance—and the taste of this stuff doesn't deviate from its look. In short, cloud bread is pretty damn good. Think soft and chewy, with a mild eggy flavor. (Which you can make in a slow cooker, if you didn't know.)
While its origins are a little murky, the first recipe seems to have shown up in the Houston Press back in 2012, when a writer developed it after giving up real bread for Lent. From there, Paleo and gluten-free bloggers caught drift, started coming up with their own versions, and the bread has subsequently spread like, well, delicious cream cheese. (There's even a gluten-free wheat bread.) Most have stuck to the same egg/cream cheese/cream of tartar formula, sometimes with a spoonful of honey or a few drops of stevia for sweetness, although a few, like Christina at Body Rebooted, have boosted the savory flavor with fresh herbs.
MORE:How to Make Bread from Broccoli
So how do you make this magic stuff?Simply whip up a bunch of egg whites (amounts vary, but most recipes call for 3) mix with a ¼ tsp cream of tartar using an electric mixer until stiff peaks form, at least 5 minutes. Then, fold in 3 Tbsp cream cheese and mix until combined. Next, spoon dollops the size of burger buns onto a baking sheet, and bake for 25 minutes at 300°F or 325°F (it varies by recipe) until golden brown. Allow the cloud bread to cool completely before using like sandwich bread or burger buns. (Try these gluten-free flours if you're trying to stay gluten-free.)
Before you start eating cloud bread like it's going out of style (which it may not for a while, based on blogger reviews), know this: A bread free of carbs does not make it free of calories, which matter more if your goal is weight loss. "Carbohydrates are not fattening, it's overall calorie balance that matters," says Georgie Fear, RD, author ofLean Habits for Lifelong Weight Loss. That said, cloud bread is far lower in calories than regular sandwich bread, even if you're buying the whole wheat or gluten free stuff: Two pieces of cloud bread have around 70 calories, 5 g of fat, 4 g of protein, and less than 1 g of carbs. (Compare that with regular whole wheat bread, which has 140 calories, 2 g of fat, 8 g of protein, and 24 g of carbs per two slices.) And since it's made with fat and protein instead of starches, cloud bread is also more nutrient-dense and filling than most regular or gluten-free breads.
Just one word of warning: Watch what you slather on this heavenly bread. Load up your cloud concoction with butter, honey, nut butter, or more cream cheese—all energy dense options—and any calorie savings you made with your cloud bread will fall to Earth pretty quickly.
Video: 'Slow Carbs' and the Truth About Low-Carb Diets
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