Showing posts with label keto diet. Show all posts
Showing posts with label keto diet. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

The Good Chocolate 100% Organic No Sugar Dark Chocolate Review

The Good Chocolate bars - Bean-to-Bar, Zero Sugar, 100% Delicious

The Good Chocolate: Great-Tasting, Healthy Chocolate Bars With No Sugar

I love chocolate! When I was younger, milk chocolate was my favorite. As the health benefits of dark chocolate became more widely known, however, I gradually retrained my taste buds to appreciate bars with a higher cacao or cocoa content. Now, my preference for dark chocolate has been reinforced by my keto diet lifestyle, since milk contains 2–8% lactose (a sugar naturally present in dairy milk).

Several months ago, I discovered The Good Chocolate, a brand of top quality, bean-to-bar chocolate made with 100% organic, ethically sourced ingredients and no sugar. It has since become one of my favorite brands of sugar free chocolate.

I'm pleased to be sharing my in-depth product review to introduce you to this terrific, principled company and its wonderful chocolate bars and mini-bars.

Can a Premium Quality, Bean-to-Bar Chocolate Be Delicious and Also Healthy? 

The Good Chocolate is the brainchild of two lifelong friends and partners in a branding and design agency, who in 2014 began to cut out all forms of sugar (including honey and agave) from their diets and replace them with organic, low- or no-calorie sweeteners with a low glycemic index. Six months later, they were thrilled with the results. They had each lost 10 pounds, were feeling great, had more energy, and were able to maintain their focus throughout the work day, without the mid-day crashes that frequently result from consuming sugar (in beverages, desserts, or snacks) in the late morning or early afternoon. (I experienced the same benefits (with a much bigger weight loss) a few months after I switched to a ketogenic weight loss diet, which included eliminating sugar in any form.) 

During this process, they learned about how most food companies are well aware that adding sugar (or salt) to their products makes us eat, crave, and buy more of them—a cycle that is very profitable for the manufacturers...and very unhealthy, and expensive, for consumers. 

The partners were inspired to help others break free from their sugar addiction and experience the improved health, wellbeing, energy and productivity they themselves were enjoying. So, they challenged themselves to create a bean-to-bar chocolate that would live up to their own high standards.

Within a few months, they had come up with a "sweet-blend" of three organic, low-glycemic-index sweeteners that met their exacting requirements for taste, health, and sustainability. They also immersed themselves in all things chocolate making, developing the required expertise in every step from sourcing organic cacao beans in Central and South America to perfectly tempering the roasted, winnowed, and ground chocolate. 

They describe the result as "an exquisite, 100% organic bean-to-bar chocolate that’s as delicious as it is healthy." Source

It also has up to 45% fewer calories than similar dark chocolate!

What Is "Bean-to-Bar" Chocolate Making? 

"Bean to Bar" production means that chocolate maker controls every step of the process, from sourcing the cacao beans to roasting, winnowing, and grinding them, and then tempering the chocolate before it is molded and packaged for sale. 

The bean-to-bar method gives artisan or craft chocolate makers better quality control and produces a healthier product (since craft chocolate makers, unlike many big brands, do not try to accelerate the manufacturing process with chemicals or other additives). Source

It also gives the producers more control over the supply chain, so they can promote ethical and humane business practices.  (More about this important topic later.) 

The Good Chocolate controls the entire production process for its 100% organic chocolate bars at its factory in San Francisco.

Most Sugar Free Chocolate Isn’t Great “Eating Chocolate”

Since many chocolate bars with a higher cacao content, especially those with no sugar, lack the intense, rich flavor and luscious mouthfeel of bars with a lower cacao content, I have become extremely picky about sugar free chocolate.

In the past two years, I have tried many brands of low sugar and sugar free chocolate. There are plenty of low carb chocolate options. Unfortunately, many are sweetened primarily or exclusively with stevia or erythritol. Like many people, I find that anything sweetened only with stevia has a pronounced aftertaste that I dislike intensely, and that erythritol, when used as the only sweetener in a food, creates a cooling, almost mint-like sensation on the tongue. 

Apart from BochaSweet sweetener (made from a pentose-type rare sugar extract from the kabocha squash), blends of two or more keto-friendly sweeteners, such as allulose, monk fruit, erythritol and stevia, taste more like sugar and don’t have the unpleasant aftertaste or cooling effect that stevia or erythritol can have when used alone. 

Chocolate sweetened this way can be quite tasty. For example, I often sprinkle ChocZero chocolate chips over sugar free desserts such as my Low Carb Keto Chocolate Yogurt Granola Chip Pudding Recipe, and they're fine for baking keto chocolate chip cookies, for example. ChocZero's dark chocolate keto bark is quite good, and their seasonal dark chocolate peppermint truffles are pretty yummy, for sugar-free chocolate. 

On the other hand, their dark chocolate contains only 55% cacao. The ingredients aren't organic. And the taste and mouthfeel are not in the same ballpark as the very high quality, sugar-sweetened dark chocolate I loved and enjoyed for many years, before I decided to cut sugar out of my life. 

So, I have been on the lookout for a great "eating chocolate" (i.e., chocolate meant to be enjoyed as is, rather than with a filling, as a garnish, or in baked goods) with a higher cacao content, a more intense flavor, and a superior mouthfeel.  

The Good Chocolate Bars Are Worth Savoring!

The Good Chocolate has the decadent taste and smooth, luscious mouthfeel of the artisan dark chocolate I used to indulge in before I chose a very low carb lifestyle. Like those, these bars are made from top quality cacao beans and cacao butter, roasted, winnowed, ground, tempered, and molded with the same care and expertise. 

Unlike those, however, they don't contain sugar in any form. This means they won't cause your blood sugar levels to spike. It also means they won't cause you to crave more chocolate than is good for you. One of the biggest benefits of cutting out sugar from my diet is that I can I still enjoy and indulge in sweets without being at the mercy of my former cravings!

Having been a foodie for as long as I can remember, one of the keys to setting myself up for success on a keto diet was finding yummy healthier, keto-friending alternatives to my favorite foods so that I wouldn't feel deprived or be tempted to stray from my new eating plan. I was lucky that, unlike some people, I was able to conquer my sugar addiction without having to give up desserts, beverages, candy, and other foods that were sweetened with healthier alternatives to any form of sugar. 

That's why I was so delighted when I tasted The Good Chocolate bars. They are luxurious enough to savor slowly and should please even gourmet chocolate aficionados. 


A Unique Blend of Organic Healthy Sweeteners 

In addition to using the highest quality, organic raw ingredients and a bean-to-bar process that gives the company full control over every aspect of production, another key thing that sets this brand's sugar free dark chocolate bars apart from most others is its organic "sweet-blend" of erythritol, stevia leaf extract, and mesquite powder. 

Erythritol is a very popular zero-calorie sweetener that is naturally found in pears, mushrooms, and other plants and has a 0 glycemic index. It's easy for most people to digest (unlike many other keto-friendly sweeteners), and has the added benefit of preventing tooth decay.

Stevia leaf extract also has a 0 glycemic index. As I mentioned, combining stevia with the right blend of other keto-friendly sweeteners can mask its bitter aftertaste, which is what The Good Chocolate has done.

Mesquite powder is a traditional Native American product made from the ripened and ground seeds from the seed pods of the mesquite tree. Although traditionally used as an alternative to flour in sweet baked goods and breads, it has gained wider popularity as a "super food." In addition to adding a natural, subtle sweetness to foods, mesquite powder (sometimes called mesquite pod meal) also is high in fiber and protein, and has a very low glycemic index (25).

Even a Single Square Is a Deliciously Satisfying Indulgence

Each bar of The Good Chocolate is scored into six generously sized, squarish sections (approximately 1½ inches by 1 11/16 inches). If I wanted to, I could eat an entire bar in one sitting and still stay within my daily net carbs and calories for maintaining my nearly 60-pound weight loss (currently 59 pounds). However, I almost never do, because this brand is so rich and delicious, has such an intense chocolate flavor, and doesn't trigger my former addictive sugar cravings.

Unwrapped bar of The Good Chocolate dark chocolate

So, when I am in the mood for a piece, I break off one of the six sections, then fold over the elegant silver-lined gold foil wrapper and slide the rest of The Good Chocolate bar back into its heavy paper envelope-style pouch, with its distinctive cover art and graphic design. 

I savor the section I broke off, nibbling off small pieces and letting each one rest on my tongue for a few seconds to warm a bit before I consume it. By the time I have slowly worked my way to the last little bite, I'm usually satisfied. 

Occasionally, however, I may decide to indulge in a second piece, if I want one. It always feels like a guilty pleasure, even though there is nothing to feel guilty about!

Sophisticated Flavor Choices to Please Any Palate

Most of The Good Chocolate bars are 65% cacao dark chocolate. My favorites include Himalayan Salt, Mint, Ginger, and Salted Caramel, although they also made their plain 65% cacao Signature Dark Chocolate bars.

Currently, there is also a limited-edition  Coconut & Turmeric Detox Bar, a 65% cacao dark chocolate bar with developed in collaboration with model and actress Charlotte McKinney and filled with delicious, nutrition-packed superfoods.

The brand also makes a 54% cacao "Dark Milk Chocolate. At the moment, there is also a limited-edition 58% Double Crunch Vegan Milk Bar (which they also refer to as "mylk" chocolate).

I believe that, other than the "Dark Milk Chocolate" bars, all the other bars are vegan. 

Lower in Calories and Net Carbs Than Similar Dark Chocolate Bars

Here's a high-level nutrition data comparison between The Good Chocolate's 65% Signature Dark Chocolate and two other popular brands of dark chocolate, Lindt 64% Dark Chocolate, and Lily's 70% Dark Chocolate (nutrition data pulled from TGC's website).

The Good Chocolate
65% Cacao
Lindt
64% Cacao
Lily's
70% Cacao
Sugar (%) 0 37 1
Sugar (Teaspoons) 0 6 0
Net Carbs
(Total Carbs
minus Fiber & Erythritol)
2 26 6
Calories 227 397 289

Buying Ethically Sourced Chocolate Protects Impoverished Farmers, Children, and Refugees

Against Dangerous Work, Slave Labor, and Human Trafficking

Nearly two-thirds of the world's cocoa beans are produced in West Africa's Côte D'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) and Ghana. Indonesia has become another top cocoa producer.

Tragically, cacao production has long been notorious for the worst forms of forced labor, child labor, and hazardous child labor, sometimes a result of human trafficking. Unfortunately, many cacao bean farmers are paid less than $1 a day for this dangerous, backbreaking work, and can't afford to hire additional laborers to help. Instead, of allowing their children to go to school, they use them as unpaid, forced labor so their family can survive.

The customers for most of this production are large, global chocolate corporations, including Mars, Nestlé, The Hershey Company, and Mondelez International (formerly Kraft foods), and others. Although most have policies prohibiting forced labor practices in their supply chain, those policies are hard to enforce because, for the most part, they don't purchase directly from the cacao bean farmers.

Currently, seven of the world's biggest chocolate companies have been named in a landmark class-action lawsuit in which they are accused of "aiding and abetting the illegal enslavement of 'thousands' of children on cocoa farms in their supply chains" by eight children who claim to have been forced to work as slave labor on Côte D'Ivoire cocoa plantations. 

The Good Chocolate Is Ethically and Sustainably Sourced and Packaged

The best way to help break this terrible, systemic cycle of inhumane practices is for consumers to buy their chocolate from smaller, bean-to-bar producers who have more control over their supply chain than these huge corporations, so they are better able to promote ethical, humane, and not only socially but also environmentally responsible business practices. 

One of the easiest way to find these smaller, craft chocolate makers who are committed to ethical sourcing is to look for brands that are organic, fair trade, direct trade, and/or Rainforest Alliance certified

  • Whenever possible, The Good Chocolate purchases Fair Trade or Rain Forest Alliance certified cacao beans.
  • The company uses only 100% certified organic cacao beans and cacao butter in its bars.
  • It is also committed to sustainable farming practices and is working with its cacao suppliers to reach 100% sustainability as the company grows.

The company also worked with some forward-thinking companies develop cost-effective, renewable packaging solutions that can be recycled or composted.

The Good Chocolate takes its name and mission to heart, "to create delicious chocolate that is [not only] good for you, but also good for the planet." As the website states, "We may spend a little more time, effort and money on renewable packaging, but we hope that our effort, care and responsibility will inspire others and leave the planet a little better off along our way." Source

More Expensive, But Worth It

The Good Chocolate makes premium, small-batch, chocolate bars made with 100% certified organic cacao beans and cacao butter, as well as the blend of erythritol, stevia leaf extract, and mesquite powder, sweeteners that all cost significantly more than cane sugar. 

The company also is committed to following ethical, humane business practices in an industry known for terrible physical, moral, and financial abuses of vulnerable populations, paying a fair price for the cacao beans and cacao butter it purchases, and practicing social and environmental responsibility to protect our future as well as our present.

As a result, these extremely high quality, no sugar dark chocolate bars cost more than some of the high-quality, 100% organic dark chocolate bars sold in Whole Foods Market and similar stores. When I first read about The Good Chocolate and looked into the company and its products, I thought charging $7.50 for a bar of dark chocolate was outrageous (unless the gold foil wrapper was made of real gold!). So, the only reason I decided to buy a 6-bar assortment was that, at the time, there was a promotion that offered a significant discount on your first order. 

I never thought I would even consider ordering more at full price after I finished the six bars from that introductory offer. However, as soon as I taste this new-to-me brand, it immediately became apparent that this premium, sophisticated candy was head-and-shoulders above any other healthy, sugar-free chocolate I had tried. Also, because it was so rich, dark, and delicious, I found that just one section of a bar of The Good Chocolate was enough to satisfy me. That meant that I could indulge in a generously sized square from time to time for $1.25 per serving which, while still pricy, cost less than the 1/3 to 1/2 bar serving of one of the high quality, organic, fair trade chocolate bars I used to buy before I eliminated sugar from my diet. 

Now Available on Amazon With Prime FREE Delivery!

The Good Chocolate just launched on Amazon. So, in addition to Amazone Prime Free Delivery, if you try The Good Chocolate and love it as much as I do, you can save up to 5% with Subscribe & Save (or 10% on your first Subscribe & Save subscription). You can also choose your auto-delivery frequency, as often as every two weeks to as seldom as every six months. 

I highly recommend ordering The Good Chocolate Bar Variety Pack first, which includes six 2.5-ounce (70g) chocolate bars, including all five flavors of 65% Dark Chocolate (Signature Dark, Himalayan Salt, Mint, Ginger, Salted Almonds) and a 54% Dark Milk Chocolate. It's the perfect way to sample their core flavors and pick your favorites before placing another order. 



Product Review: The Good Chocolate 100% Organic No Sugar Dark Chocolate by Margaret Schindel


Posts In This Series About My Keto Diet Journey

The Good Chocolate 100% Organic No Sugar Dark Chocolate Review

Wholesome Yum Easy Keto Bread Mix and Yeast Bread Recipe

The Best Low Carb Keto Gift Ideas: Keto Gift Guide

The Ultimate Keto Hot Chocolate Recipe

Keto Cheddar Cheese Biscuits With Chives Recipe

Good Dee’s Keto Cookie Low Carb Baking Mix Review

Low Carb Keto Chocolate Yogurt Granola Chip Pudding Recipe

Low Carb Muffins & Cupcakes: Treats to Enjoy on a Keto Diet

Preparing to Succeed on the Keto Diet, Part Two

Preparing to Succeed on the Keto Diet, Part One

My First Year on The Keto Diet


Reviews of the Keto Diet by Barbara C. (aka Brite-Ideas)

My Personal Keto Testimonial

How I Stayed Committed to the Ketogenic Way of Eating


Read More Product Reviews by Our Review This Reviews Contributors

Read More Reviews About Health and Wellness by Our Review This Reviews Contributors




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Wholesome Yum Keto Bread Mix and Yeast Bread Recipe

loaf of bread with text "Keto Yeast Bread made with Wholesome Yum Easy Keto Bread Mix"
Delicious keto bread that isn't heavy, dense, or crumbly!

When I began my successful keto diet journey in 2019, Maya Krampf's popular Wholesome Yum website and The Wholesome Yum Easy Keto Cookbook (which I have recommended in my Keto Gift Guide and other posts here on Review This Reviews) quickly became two of my go-to resources for quick and easy, healthy keto recipes and reliable information about the ketogenic approach to eating. Maya also has developed a line of high quality, low carb, gluten free, keto food products made with clean ingredients (including her excellent Besti keto-friendly sweeteners), and new products continue to be added to her Wholesome Yum Foods online shop. 

The Wholesome Yum Keto Bread Mix that launched on December 21, 2020 is one of Maya's newest products. I think it's also one of her best!

A few days ago, she also published a new Keto Yeast Bread Recipe for this bread mix that delivers even more impressive and delicious results. I’m excited to share my in-depth product review of this excellent Wholesome Yum mix and compare the differences in between the loaves I've made with original recipe and the new keto yeast bread recipe. 

Photo of Wholesome Yum Easy Keto Bread Mix package
This keto bread mix has all the pre-measured dry ingredients for a delicious, fresh-baked loaf

Wholesome Yum Keto Bread Mix, Original Recipe (No Yeast)

The directions currently printed on the bag require just three ingredients in addition to the packaged mix: 6 tablespoons of butter, 4 large eggs, and 3/4 cup (6 ounces) of unsweetened almond milk. 

You can replace the almond milk with a different keto-friendly milk, if you wish.

Line the Loaf Pan With Baking Parchment Paper

The recipe calls for the prepared bread mix to be baked in an 8" x 4" loaf pan lined with baking parchment paper, with the parchment paper overhanging at least the two long sides of the pan. 

However, the 8.5" x 4.5" OXO Good Grips Non-Stick Pro Loaf Pan I have been using (see my product review) has worked fine.

Photo of parchment paper lined loaf pan with box of baking parchment and scissors
Make sure the parchment paper overhangs the long sides of the pan

I have been lining the pan with unbleached If You Care Parchment Baking Paper, which is chlorine-free and compostable. It's also silicone coated, and nothing sticks to it! 

For environmental reasons, the box doesn't have a serrated metal cutting strip. Since the larger, softer cardboard "teeth" don't cut as cleanly as the metal ones, I just use scissors to trim the a sheet of the desired length.

Allow Time to Bring the Ingredients to Room Temperature

All the ingredients should be at room temperature when make the keto bread dough/batter.

Note: Although there is an asterisked line to this effect in the printed directions on the bag, it's easy to miss, not only because the very small type is hard to read, but also because there are no corresponding asterisks attached to the individual ingredients. (A single asterisk with no corresponding reference is meaningless.) It would be helpful if this were fixed during the next packaging print run. 

When a recipe calls for room temperature ingredients, they should be at approximately 70 °F (21 °C), with the exception of butter. Room temperature butter should be a bit cooler, roughly 65 °F (18 °C). It has reached the correct temperature when it is still a bit cool to the touch and retains its shape, but has softened enough to leave an indentation when pressed with a fingertip.

Photo of ingredients to make Wholesome Yum Easy Keto Bread Mix: bag of mix, 6 tablespoons of butter, 4 eggs, and 3/4 cup almond milk
One bag of mix + butter, eggs, and almond milk = quick and easy keto bread!

Why Using Room Temperature Ingredients Matters When Making The Keto Bread Mix Batter

Using room temperature butter, eggs, and almond milk allows the butter to cream properly and the eggs and butter to be fully incorporated into the creamed butter, so there are no remaining clumps of butter after the dry ingredients in the Wholesome Yum Keto Bread Mix are added. 

Conversely, using ingredients that are too warm or too cold will likely produce less-than-optimal results.

When I tried the Wholesome Yum Keto Bread Mix for the first time this January, the New England winter meant that our north-facing kitchen (with its large expanse of windows) was quite chilly. As a result, even after sitting out on the counter for a couple of hours, my "room temperature" eggs, and almond milk were much cooler than 70 °F (21 °C), and even my butter was colder than 65 °F (18 °C) and had very little "give" when pressed with a fingertip. 

As a result, even after being creamed at high speed with my trusty KitchenAid mixer for for nearly 15 minutes, the butter never softened fully, and when I added the eggs and almond milk to it, they wouldn't incorporate smoothly, no matter how long I beat the mixture. 

You can see in following photo that the first batch of keto bread dough/batter didn't come together as smoothly as it should and would have if my kitchen hadn't been so chilly.

Photo of bread dough in parchment paper lined loaf pan
A cold kitchen made my butter a bit uncooperative!

In retrospect, I could have put the unshelled, room temperature eggs in a bowl of warm water for 5–10 minutes and warmed the almond milk gently on the stovetop or in the microwave. However, the butter still would have been a problem, since using any form of added heat to soften butter without melting it is a tricky proposition.

The Wholesome Yum Keto Bread Mix Recipe Is Pretty Forgiving

Despite my inability to bring the ingredients to "recipe" room temperature, and the fact that we currently have only a tabletop oven (our built-in double oven died a few years ago), the loaf baked quite nicely.
Photo of baked easy keto bread mix loaf in pan on rack
The first loaf I made with this keto bread mix turned out well, even with the too-cool ingredients

Making low carb, gluten-free bread with Wholesome Yum Keto Bread Mix was easy. The hard part was waiting until the next day, as the package directions recommend, before slicing into the loaf so I could taste it!

Photo of baked keto bread loaf cut in half on cutting board with bread knife
A lighter, less dense texture than most keto bread

Although it is possible to find low carb bread recipes that don't contain almond flour, most of them do. Ground almonds are heavier than grain flours, lack gluten for structure, and interact differently with leavening agents. As a result, most loaves made from a keto bread recipe are pretty dense, and tend to crumble easily.

So, when I cut into the loaf I made with the Wholesome Yum Keto Bread Mix, I was very pleased to see small air pockets, indicating a somewhat lighter, less dense texture than most low carb bread made with almond flour. (You can see the air pockets better in the close-up photo of my half-sandwich.)

Not only did it make great toast, it also was less crumbly than most other keto-friendly almond flour breads, which allowed me to make a sandwich that didn't fall apart as soon as I bit into it!

Photo of half sandwich made with keto bread, keto jam, and keto chocolate hazelnut spread
My sweet half-sandwich on keto bread made with the Wholesome Yum mix
(Note: For scale, this is a salad plate.)

After making a great slice of toast, the next thing I tried was a sandwich. I had just received my order of keto-friendly Good Good sweet raspberry jam (which is currently out of stock, but other flavors are available, including Good Good Sweet Blueberry Jam) and ChocZero Chocolate Hazelnut Spread (a keto diet friendly alternative to Nutella), so I decided to cut a slice in half and make myself a raspberry-chocolate hazelnut half-sandwich. (Hey, don't knock it until you try it! I like to think of it as a 21st-century update to the Fluffernutter, a lunchbox favorite back in the 1960s, when I was a kid, that I can't imagine eating today.) 

I was able to eat my half-sandwich without the bread crumbling or breaking, which was a major improvement over most other keto bread recipes or mixes I had tried. 

The New Keto Yeast Bread Recipe Makes an Even Better Low Carb Loaf 

Even though I was pleased with the results I was getting from Maya's new keto bread mix and had already begun to write a product review of it for Review This Reviews, I was extremely excited by her revelation last month in one of the Wholesome Yum Facebook groups I belong to that she had been working on a keto yeast bread recipe for the new mix and thought she was close to perfecting it. 

I knew that adding yeast to the batter/dough would result in a taller loaf with a lighter, airier, more sponge-like texture and might also give the bread some of the flavor characteristics of conventional yeast breads. 

I decided to hold off on my product review of the bread mix until the new recipe had been published, so I could compare it to the original and confirm or correct my assumptions about the effects of adding yeast to the batter. 

Photo of Wholesome Yum Easy Keto Bread Mix and other ingredients for the keto yeast bread recipe
Feeding the yeast with inulin allows this keto yeast bread recipe to be 100% sugar free 

The Yeast Bread Version of the Recipe Adds Two Ingredients

Active Dry Yeast

You can use any brand of active dry yeast, such as Fleischmann's or Red Star. I decided to order my favorite from my BK (before keto) baking, SAF-Instant Premium Yeast - Red, which is widely used by professional bakers and consistently produces superior results with any type of bread, pizza, croissant, or other unsweetened doughs. 

I discovered the red SAF-Instant Premium Yeast many years ago on the King Arthur Baking website (a reliable source of baking expertise and a go-to resource for baking enthusiasts). The fact that it's the yeast they use most often in their test kitchens was a good enough endorsement for me! 

In addition to improving bread dough baking results, a 1-pound vacuum-sealed bag/brick of SAF-instant yeast ends up costing much, much less per use than the 4-ounce jars or strips of three individual packets of active dry yeast sold in supermarkets. 

I keep mine in the freezer in an airtight container, where it remains good for years, and unopened packages have a two-year shelf life. 

Tip: If you're not following a low carb or keto diet, use SAF-Instant Premium Yeast - Gold, rather than the one in the red package, for making conventional sweet dough recipes. 

Inulin Powder

In this recipe, the active dry yeast is fed with powdered inulin, a soluble fiber and prebiotic, instead of the sugar or other high glycemic index sweeteners that recipes typically used for that purpose. 

I was in such a rush to order inulin powder for this recipe that I inadvertently ordered a huge 2.2-pound bag of it on Amazon (with free Amazon Prime delivery)! However, since it you need only one teaspoon of it per 2¼ teaspoons (or one packet) of active dry yeast, I recommend buying a smaller package, such as this 8-ounce bag of 100% pure inulin powder that is made in the USA (in Utah) from non-GMO Jerusalem artichokes, sometimes called sunchokes. 

Wholesome Yum Keto Yeast Bread Recipe 

To make the keto yeast bread recipe, you start by mixing the batter according to the original recipe, then fold in active dry yeast bloomed in lukewarm water mixed with inulin powder, and set the covered yeast batter aside in a warm spot to proof. After the yeast bread batter/dough has been allowed to rise for an hour, it is transferred to the parchment-line loaf pan and baked at the same temperature, and for the same length of time, as the original recipe. And, like the original recipe, the baked loaf should be removed to a cooling rack and left until it has cooled completely (overnight, if possible) before you slice into it. 

Here are the ingredients, tools, supplies, and equipment you will need to make Maya's new keto yeast bread recipe. 

Ingredients:

  • 2¼ teaspoons (or 1 packet) active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup (59 ml) lukewarm water, 105–115 °F (41–46 °C)
  • 1 teaspoon of inulin powder *
  • 1 bag Wholesome Yum Keto Bread Mix
  • 6 tablespoons butter **
  • 4 large eggs ** (not medium, extra-large, or jumbo size)
  • 3/4 cup (6 fl. oz.) unsweetened almond milk ** ***

Tools, Supplies, and Equipment:

  • A hand mixer or stand mixer 
  • A large mixing bowl
  • A rubber scraper (to scrape the bowl and beaters)
  • Plastic wrap (to cover the bowl of prepared yeast dough before setting it aside to proof/rise) ****
  • An 8" x 4" loaf pan
  • Baking parchment paper to line the pan (I highly recommend using unbleached baking parchment)
  • A cooling rack

* The inulin powder is a prebiotic fiber that is used in this recipe to feed the yeast. It is a keto-friendly alternative to feeding the yeast with sugar, honey, or other high-glycemic sweeteners that can elevate your blood glucose and insulin levels. If you follow a strict sugar-free or keto diet and want to ensure that your keto bread is absolutely sugar free, the inulin in this recipe is an essential ingredient that cannot be substituted. However, for people whose dietary requirements and preferences are less strict, the recipe also offers the option to replace the teaspoon of inulin powder with a teaspoon of coconut sugar. 

** At room temperature

*** Use plain, unsweetened almond milk for this recipe. Unless the package specifically says "unsweetened almond milk," assume it contains added sugar, and is not suitable for a low carb, sugar-free, or keto diet.

**** I recommend biodegradable, reusable beeswax food wrap as a more sustainable and environmentally friendly alternative to disposable plastic wrap (aka cling film). It's available either precut or in rolled sheets that you can cut to size, as needed. Although I own and use both types, I'd suggest buying an uncut roll to ensure that you'll have a large enough piece to cover your large mixing bowl while the keto bread batter is proofing.

Directions:

Follow Maya's full Keto Yeast Bread Recipe on Wholesome Yum, which provides not only step-by-step directions with photos, but also helpful tips, refrigerator and freezer storage instructions, and an FAQ that answers questions such as as whether yeast and inulin are keto-friendly ingredients.

This Keto Yeast Bread Recipe Turned Out Even Better The Second Time!

Update 4/8/21: Last weekend, we finally had a warm-ish spring day here in New England (a "balmy" 58 degrees Fahrenheit, lol!). I had just finished the last slice from my first loaf, and hoped that my room temperature eggs, butter and nut milk would be warmer and more cooperative this time. Indeed, they were! I was able to get the butter to cream properly, so it was nicely pale and fluffy. And the eggs and nut milk (I used macadamia nut milk this time) were fully incorporated into the creamed butter, so there were no large lumps of butter in my yeast bread batter, which made it much easier to smooth the top after transferring it to the parchment paper-lined loaf pan.

Second loaf of keto yeast bread on cutting board
My second keto yeast bread loaf 

Comparing Wholesome Yum Keto Bread Mix Original and Keto Yeast Bread Recipes 

Height

When I followed the original Wholesome Yum Keto Bread Mix recipe printed on the bag, the top of the baked loaf remained lower than the rim of the baking pan.

Photo of baked keto bread loaf in pan, made with recipe on bag of mix
The basic recipe without yeast produces a shorter loaf

However, when I followed the new keto yeast bread recipe, the batter's volume increased considerably as it proofed, which produced a baked loaf that was taller than baking pan.

Taller loaf in pan, made with keto yeast bread recipe
Adding yeast to the original batter recipe produces a larger, taller loaf that rises above the pan rim

Size and Texture

The recipe printed on the bag produced slices that were slightly larger, and had more air pockets and a lighter texture, than typical keto breads.

Sliced Wholesome Yum Keto Bread

As you can see, the slices of this loaf, which was made with the Wholesome Yum Keto Yeast Bread Recipe, were significantly larger and had many more air pockets and and an even lighter texture vs. those cut from previous loaf made with the original Wholesome Yum Keto Bread Mix recipe.

Sliced Wholesome Yum Keto Yeast Bread loaf

Time and Effort

The time it takes to bloom the yeast and fold it into the prepared batter is minimal. 

However, the yeasted dough also needs to be covered and set aside to proof before it is transferred to the parchment paper-lined pan, which add 60 minutes to the total time, start-to-finish . 

On the other hand, since the batter doesn't need to be monitored while it's proofing, that time can be spent elsewhere, on other activities.

Bottom Line

Unless I'm pressed for time or can't start baking until later in the day, I consider the superior loaf produced with Maya's new Wholesome Yum Keto Yeast Bread Recipe well worth the minimal additional effort and the one-hour delay while the batter is proofing.

However, even without the addition of yeast, the Wholesome Yum Keto Bread Mix is a convenient, time-saving, and delicious option for making freshly baked, keto-friendly bread.


Wholesome Yum Easy Keto Bread Mix and Yeast Bread Recipe by Margaret Schindel


Posts In This Series About My Keto Diet Journey

Wholesome Yum Keto Bread Mix and Yeast Bread Recipe

The Best Low Carb Keto Gift Ideas: Keto Gift Guide

The Ultimate Keto Hot Chocolate Recipe

Keto Cheddar Cheese Biscuits With Chives Recipe

Good Dee’s Keto Cookie Low Carb Baking Mix Review

Low Carb Keto Chocolate Yogurt Granola Chip Pudding Recipe

Low Carb Muffins & Cupcakes: Treats to Enjoy on a Keto Diet

Preparing to Succeed on the Keto Diet, Part Two

Preparing to Succeed on the Keto Diet, Part One

My First Year on The Keto Diet


Reviews of the Keto Diet by Barbara C. (aka Brite-Ideas)

My Personal Keto Testimonial

How I Stayed Committed to the Ketogenic Way of Eating


Read More Reviews About Health and Wellness by Our Review This Reviews Contributors


Read More Product Reviews by Our Review This Reviews Contributors





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Sunday, March 7, 2021

Hey Keto Warriors, Have You Seen the Ad for Magic Spoon Cereal?

A Personal Review of Magic Spoon Cereal

The advertisement for Keto Magic Spoon Cereal lands on my Facebook feed almost daily. Here's my review.

It looked and sounded delicious, but I didn't jump in to buy it. Honestly, I rarely buy from Ads on my Facebook feed (unless endorsed by someone I know) because I've been disappointed several times in the past.

A Delivery to Our Door, and a Surprise From My Son

One of my sons also saw the Ad, but I believe it was on his Instagram. He said, "I thought of you, mom, and had to buy it for you." So thoughtful!

How Does It Taste?

I have to admit, it's delicious.

Being on Keto, I miss cereal and am never hungry enough to make special Keto recipes. 

I eat basic Keto foods; meat, some veggies, good fats, and low healthy carbs. Reaching for treats while on Keto can be tricky when you rarely purchase or make any keto-dessert-related. Sometimes I'll end up munching on a piece of dark chocolate or peanut butter to satisfy those rare cravings.

This cereal fills my snack and dessert void.

The Magic Spoon Cereal Flavors

The four flavors are cocoa, frosted, fruity, and peanut butter.

Here's a photo of the boxes.


This cereal is high in protein, keto-friendly, gluten-free, grain-free, soy-free, wheat-free, with nothing artificial. It really is a childlike cereal for grown-ups.

Here's another photo from the Magic Spoon Cereal Box:



I devour Magic Spoon cereal with Almond Milk or Coconut Milk. I sometimes add a couple or three tablespoons of table cream as well. All I can say is, "double yum."

Another way to eat this cereal; straight out of the box as a snack.

Which Flavor is My Favorite

Here's my personal opinion on the best to the least favorite flavor according to my taste buds. Your tastes could be entirely different.

In this order, from best to least best (according to me):
  1. Frosted (yum! - has a vanilla taste)
  2. Fruity (Tastes like fruit loops)
  3. Cocoa (Not as chocolatey as it should be, but still good)
  4. Peanut Butter (Not my fave)

Here's the Nutritional Information

How Good is It, What's the Downside, and Where Can I Get This Cereal?

My son, a weight-lifter/workout maniac, loves the cereal and devoured most of it! Next time I'm hiding a box. Oh, and he's certainly not on Keto! The kid is fit.

The only two negatives are; it's a bit pricey, and the cereal may cling to your teeth a bit after eaten.

I've checked Amazon and don't see Magic Spoon Cereal available there yet. 

However, Magic Spoon has its own website where you can order directly. The link to order Magic Spoon Cereal is here. By the way, I'm not an affiliate and do not receive anything for this endorsement. 

In summary, five stars from me.

Note:
A Bonus Recipe for Fellow Keto Warriors - Chocolate Yogurt Granola Chip Pudding by Margaret Schindel

If you're interested, here's more on my personal Keto journey. I've lost over 60 pounds and have been following the Keto way of eating since May 4th, 2019. Still going strong.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Keto Cheddar Cheese Biscuits Recipe With Chives


Today, I'm pleased to share my review of my quick and easy low carb cheddar cheese and chive biscuits recipe, whose not-so-secret ingredient is HighKey Keto Buttermilk Biscuit Mix.

I've enjoyed putting my own spin on my baked goods ever since I was a kid, whether I'm making them from scratch or using a high quality packaged mix as a shortcut. So, when HighKey Snacks, one of my favorite keto food brands, came out with a delicious keto-friendly buttermilk biscuit baking mix, I couldn’t wait to start playing around with my own ingredient add-ins. One of my favorite variations so far is this quick and easy, 5-ingredient recipe for keto cheddar cheese buttermilk biscuits with chives. They're so buttery and delicious, everyone in your family will ask for more, and they'll never guess these treats are keto-friendly. This is now one of my go-to low carb recipes, and I usually bake a dozen every two or three weeks, depending on whether my omnivorous husband is in the mood for some. 

Main image - photo collage with text "Keto & Low Carb Cheddar-Chive Buttermilk Biscuits"
Tender, flavorful, cheddar cheese keto biscuits with chives, ready in 30 minutes or less

Enjoy Big, Buttery Drop Biscuits, Even on a Keto or Low Carb Diet

I have tried—and loved—every baking mix in HighKey’s keto-friendly, low carb product line. So, I was really excited when the company announced it was coming out with a new keto buttermilk biscuit mix. I was confident that it, too, would be a winner, and I wasn’t disappointed! 

Since making a traditional flaky biscuit requires using wheat flour or other another grain, the texture of those made with HighKey’s buttermilk biscuit baking mix makes them more similar to traditional drop biscuits. Just add eggs, They’re extremely versatile and taste great, whether you eat them plain, toasted and buttered, or in sweet or savory dishes, from keto strawberry shortcake (with fresh berries and whipped cream) to sweet or savory low carb sandwiches.

Even though this biscuit mix has great buttermilk flavor, I was surprised to learn that it contains no buttermilk. In fact, it’s dairy free and soy free, and has no added sugar or artificial ingredients, so it’s a great option for people with those dietary restrictions, regardless of whether they’re following a ketogenic or low carb diet.

Photo of two baking pans of freshly baked keto cheddar-chive biscuits
Tender, low carb, keto-friendly cheddar cheese biscuits with chives, just out of the oven

My Quick and Easy Keto Cheddar Cheese and Chive Biscuits Variation

Using HighKey Buttermilk Biscuit Baking Mix

Variety is the spice of life, especially when your food choices aren’t free of limitations. Both my husband and I are huge fans of cheddar cheese bread. These days, however, the yummy, carbohydrate-laden cheese bread we used to buy from our local bakery is now off-limits (for me, at least). My husband also loves chives. So, one of the first ideas I had for varying the original HighKey buttermilk biscuit mix recipe was to add sharp cheddar cheese and chives. 

I had to experiment with the proportions bit to get the prominent cheddar flavor I was looking for. Increasing the amount of cheese also made the biscuits somewhat less crumbly, which means I can also use them as hamburger buns. And, while I love having a slice of hot, gooey, melted cheese on my burgers, using these cheddar-chive keto biscuits as a bun gives me that great cheeseburger flavor even if I don’t add any additional cheese. 

I usually prefer to use fresh chives in my dishes. For this recipe, however, I decided to go with freeze-dried chives, since I would need only a small quantity, and I no longer eat mashed potatoes (which I always make with plenty of fresh chives) now that I follow a ketogenic diet. Fortunately, freeze-dried chives work fine for these cheddar cheese biscuits.

One of My Favorite Keto Bread Options

With or without chives, these cheddar cheese biscuits are not only delicious but also versatile. Even though they are moist, rich, and yummy just as is, I also I love using them to add extra flavor to a sandwich or burger, as a filling side dish to turn a soup or salad into a satisfying, high-protein, low carb meal, or just sliced, toasted, and buttered for breakfast (or a hearty snack).  

Just be aware that you may want your burger with a knife and fork if you serve it in one of these tender biscuits.

Photo of hamburger on a biscuit, served on a plate
Last night's dinner: this juicy burger on a keto cheddar-chive biscuit,
served with a big, colorful, pretty and nutritious salad

Low Carb Keto Cheddar Cheese and Chive Buttermilk Biscuits Recipe 

These quick and easy keto biscuits are sure to become one of your favorite low carb recipes.

Photo of keto cheddar-chive biscuit on a small plate
Prep Time:

15 minutes

Cook Time:

15 minutes

Total Time:

30 minutes

Recipe Yield:

12 large biscuits

Calories:

257 kcal


Ingredients


Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 ℉. Line one or two baking sheets with parchment paper. 
  2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the baking mix, shredded cheese, and chives.
  3. Stir in the chilled butter cubes, then cut in the butter with a pastry blender until it resembles coarse crumbs. 
  4. Stir in the eggs to form a soft, sticky dough.
  5. Scoop the dough onto the parchment-lined baking sheet(s) in 12 equal mounds, spacing them well apart to allow for spreading.
  6. Bake for 14–15 minutes, until the tops and edges of the biscuits are a light golden brown.
  7. Let them cool for a minute or two, then remove them to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Screenshot of recipe nutrition information in Carb Manager app on iPhone screen
Nutrition Facts

If you're on a keto diet and counting your macros, here's what the Carb Manager app calculated. Although it's based on the specific brand of extra-sharp aged cheddar cheese (and eggs and butter) I used, the calories and macros should be very similar, regardless of the brands of ingredients you use.

These big, delicious cheese biscuits are extremely filling. Each contains 2.6 net carbs, 257 calories, and just over 23 grams of fat, 9 grams of protein, and 6 grams of dietary fiber. 


Helpful Baking Tips for Making Keto Cheddar and Chive Buttermilk Biscuits


Make the Entire Package of HighKey Buttermilk Biscuit Mix at a Time (and Freeze What You Don't Need For Later)

The first time I prepared a bag of HighKey Buttermilk Biscuit Mix, I measured out 1-1/3 cups of the dry mix and combined it with 1/4 cup of butter and two eggs to make 6 biscuits as directed on the package. Unfortunately, when I started making my next batch, I discovered that there was only about a cup of leftover dry mix in the package! Subsequently, I have seen comments on Facebook and Amazon from people who had the same experience after following the package directions. Now, I always make a dozen buttermilk biscuits at a time, using the entire bag of mix. Fortunately, like most baked goods, these biscuits freeze beautifully, and thaw quickly at room temperature.

Use a Pastry Blender to Cut in the Butter

When I was a girl, my grandmother taught me to cut fat into dry ingredients by scissoring it into the flour mixture with two sharp knives. That experience definitely has made me appreciate the ease and efficiency of using a pastry blender instead. In addition, this handy tool, also called a pastry cutter or dough blender, creates more uniform bits of butter for more even distribution throughout the dough. It's also possible to use a fork, but that tends to mash the butter into the flour, rather than chopping it into nice little individual flour-coated bits. So, although the HighKey Buttermilk Biscuit Mix package directions give you the choice of using a pastry cutter or a fork, I strongly recommend using the former.
Spring Chef Dough Blender on Amazon

I recently replaced my dull, 40-year-old pastry blender with a Spring Chef Dough Blender, and it turned out to be a major upgrade! It has sturdier and much sharper stainless steel blades, as well as a wide, comfortable, soft-grip handle. Both these features make it a pleasure to use, especially since this high quality, heavy-duty cutter doesn't feel heavy in my hand. In addition to cutting butter or other fat into dry ingredients, I also love using it for other cooking and baking tasks that my previous pastry blender would not have been up to, such as chopping nuts and making salsa and guacamole.

Use a #14 Scoop to Portion the Dough Evenly

Dividing any dough or batter evenly into equal-size portions is always desirable, since it enables all the biscuits, cookies, etc., to finish baking at the same time with the same degree of doneness. If you are baking for yourself or others who are monitoring their food intake, whether tracking macros on a low carb or keto diet or counting calories, protein, fat, carbohydrates, fiber, cholesterol, sodium, potassium, or other nutrients for a medical, health, or weight loss reason, portioning equal servings of a recipe becomes even more important. Over time, I have assembled a collection of high quality Norpro stainless steel scoops in several different sizes, the largest of which is the 4-tablespoon (#16) Norpro scoop with a comfortable, soft-grip handle, none had the right capacity to measure out 1/12 portions of this keto buttermilk biscuit dough, with or without added cheese. Guesstimating how much to overfill  the #16 size always left me with too much or two little dough for the last few portions, and I was spending more time weighing each mound and shuffling around bits of dough to equalize the portion sizes than I did preparing it in the first place.

Eventually, I managed to find a #14 stainless steel scoop with a capacity of 4-3/4 tablespoons, which turned out to be the perfect size for portioning this keto biscuit dough into twelfths. It's a huge time-saver, makes nice, rounded mounds, and has a sturdy spring-action mechanism for the scraper blade.

Don't Skip the Baking Parchment Paper

These drop biscuits will likely stick, and stick badly, to the baking pan if you try to grease it instead of using baking parchment. I prefer using unbleached, precut sheets of parchment paper, which are less toxic than bleached baking parchment and don't curl like paper sold in rolls. If you are trying to cut down on single-use disposable products, a reusable silicone nonstick baking mat is a great alternative.

Consider Making Them With Extra-Sharp Cheddar 

The first time I made these, I used regular sharp cheddar, and only half an ounce. (I also left out the chives.) They tasted good, but weren't as cheesy or tangy as I had hoped. So, for the next batch, I not only doubled the amount of cheese, and used aged, extra-sharp cheddar. It made a huge difference! So, if you enjoy the taste of extra-sharp cheddar, I encourage you to try using it in these biscuits.

My Favorite Brands of High Quality, Low Carb and Keto Baking Mix Products

One of the keys to my successful keto diet journey, which helped me lose nearly 60 pounds and, more importantly, has enabled me to maintain that weight loss, has been finding keto-friendly versions of my favorite baked goods. Although I’ve always loved to bake (and still do), I also wanted to spend less time thinking about food, which meant spending less time cooking and baking, especially during the first six months of my new, healthy eating lifestyle after switching to a ketogenic diet. So, while I absolutely love using the recipes in Carolyn Ketchum’s The Ultimate Guide to Keto Baking (my keto baking bible) and my go-to low carb and keto blogs and websites, more often than not I’ve been using the excellent baking mixes from HighKey Snacks, Good Dee’s, and Keto and Co, which not only taste great but are also made with wholesome (and, for the most part, minimally processed) ingredients. You can learn more about these brands’ high-quality baking mixes in my review of homemade low carb keto cupcakes and muffins.


More Reviews of Low Carb and Keto Baking Mixes and Recipes


Keto Cheddar Cheese Buttermilk Biscuits Recipe With Chives by Margaret Schindel







Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Wednesday, October 21, 2020

My Favorite Hamama Microgreens Seed Quilt Accessories

Recently, I wrote about my successful experience with growing microgreens, using Hamama Seed Quilts. I thought it would be helpful to also review both the decorative accessories and most helpful extras I use and love for growing these delicious and extremely nutritious microgreens indoors, in the comfort of my living room.

Although the Hamama's bamboo grow tray frame, seed quilt label holder, and other decorative accessories are designed specifically for the company's innovative, patent-pending growing system, the other recommended products I'm reviewing here would be both useful and beneficial to anyone who enjoys gardening, cooking, or both!

Photo of bamboo accessories and other supplies for Hamama micgrogreens growing system, overlaid with title text, "Hamama Seed Quilt Microgreens Growing Accessories"
My favorite accessories and useful supplies for growing microgreens with Hamama's seed quilt growing system
Microgreens are a delicious, nutritious way to add essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to salads, sandwiches, and other dishes for those of us who try to live a healthy lifestyle. Since health was my primary motivation for losing nearly 60 pounds on a keto diet, my new healthier lifestyle focuses quite a bit on healthy eating, and especially on getting more nutrition from food and relying less on supplements, something that is especially important when following a ketogenic approach to eating.

My Favorite Hamama Microgreens Growing System Accessories and Helpful Supplies

As I shared in my previous post, the Hamama microgreens seed quilt growing system is so easy, even this “brown thumb” gardening amateur is successfully growing delicious, healthy, nutrient-dense microgreens throughout the year, even here in New England. Now that my husband and I are no longer are at the mercy of the unpredictable and often scant selection of packaged microgreens at our local stores, we use our fresh, home-grown microgreens for more than just garnishes. In fact, they make up half the dark, leafy greens in our large, nightly dinner salads!

Along with Hamama's seed quilts and grow trays, the core of their unique container gardening system, I've also purchased a few accessories and supplies that have made the process of growing my own fresh, nutritious kale, broccoli, clover, daikon radish, zesty salad mix, and other varieties of microgreens more enjoyable and convenient. 

Hamama's Custom Growing System Accessories

Bamboo Grow Tray Frames and Seed Quilt Label Holders

Photo of two side-by-side Hamama seed quilts with decorative bamboo grow tray frames and seed quilt label holders
I love the way the bamboo grow tray frames and seed quilt label holders dress up my microgreens growing setup by our living room windows
Since counter space in our small kitchen is at a premium, I grow my microgreens in our living room, which has a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows (although Hamama microgreens seed quilts don’t require a lot of light). So, I successfully harvested a few different varieties of microgreens using this unique growing system, I decided to spring for Hamama’s proprietary bamboo frames and seed quilt label holders. The bamboo frames fit either style of the company's grow tray. I started with Hamama's white ceramic tray. See how nice the bamboo frame looks with it?
Photo of microgreens growing in white ceramic Hamama grow tray with bamboo frame
The white ceramic grow tray is thicker (and heavier) than the black plastic tray.
Not long after, I decided to switch to the black plastic grow trays, which weigh very little and are much easier to carry back and forth to the kitchen (on the other end of our house) for cleaning. Although I try to avoid buying plastic for disposable items, these trays are reusable, and I plan to be using them for the foreseeable future. The walls are much thinner, allowing a narrow margin around the seed quilt, so it's much easier to check the water level in relation to the coconut coir mat (and to add a bit more water, if it's evaporating faster than expected). The marked fill line is also thinner than on the white ceramic tray, so it's easier to gauge how much water to add for soaking the seed quilt.

Whether you prefer the black plastic or white ceramic grow tray, the simple, sleek and stylish bamboo frames make them much more attractive and blend well with any style of home décor. There is a Hamama logo in the lower left corner of one side of the frame. Usually, I'm not a fan of displaying brand names, especially on decorative items. But in this case, I think the logo has been done quite tastefully and doesn't detract from the look. However, it can easily be hidden by facing that side of the frame toward the window, if you prefer.

Photo of Hamama microgreens germinated seed quilt in tray with decorative bamboo grow tray frame and seed quilt label holder
The Hamama bamboo grow tray frames and matching seed quilt label holders give my microgreens growing setup a more attractive, "finished" look.
The matching bamboo label holders are great for displaying the coated cardstock labels that come with each seed quilt at an easy-to-read angle. These labels provide a useful reminder of which type of microgreens I’m currently growing, as well as the approximate number of days until the paper cover should be peeled, and the total number of days until harvest. Before I got these label holders, I used to tape the cardstock labels to the grow trays. The tape left a sticky residue and wasn’t very attractive. Now, my bamboo seed quilt label holders coordinate perfectly with my grow tray frames.

Each holder is a nicely finished, rectangular block of bamboo the exact length of a Hamama seed quilt label, with a thin slot for the label. Whenever you start a new seed quilt, simply slide the label that comes with it into the slot, which holds it upright and angled slightly back for easy reading. When you finish harvesting your microgreens crop, just remove and discard the label from the holder, so it’s ready for the label from your next seed quilt.

More Matching Bamboo Accessories

Hamama makes a matching seed quilt holder for storing your extra seed quilts, but since I don’t store mine out where people can see them, I didn’t need one. The company has just announced its brand new bamboo "grow shelf," a gorgeous self-standing, five-shelf, open shelving unit to current customers, who can preorder one now. I expect it to be added to the Shop section of the website soon, so everyone who wants will be able to order one.

Extra Hamama Grow Trays

Once I knew I was going to be using this unique microgreens growing system regularly, I ordered two additional grow trays. As of this writing, the price of two black grow trays is only four dollars more than the price of just one. And, since it’s essential to clean each grow tray thoroughly after harvesting one seed quilt and before starting another, it’s nice to have an extra tray so there’s a clean one standing by to start my next microgreens seed quilt as soon as I harvest the previous one. I can soak, scrub, and disinfect the used tray at my leisure (it’s also safe to clean in the top rack of the dishwasher).

Hamama Microgreens Harvesting Kit

The company offers a convenient set of three tools for harvesting the microgreens grown with their proprietary seed quilts and grow trays. The kit contains:

  • 1 reusable Stasher silicone bag (sandwich size)
  • 1 pair of scissors (with the Hamama logo)
  • 1 bamboo scrub brush with natural fiber bristles (for thoroughly scrubbing your grow tray)

It's a very useful kit, particularly if you prefer to harvest your microgreens by trimming them just above the top of the seed quilt, rather than pulling them out, roots and all. Alternatively, you can purchase a Stasher silicone food storage bag, a pair of sharp, stainless steel scissors, and a bamboo scrub brush with natural fiber bristles (or use equivalent items you may already own) to create your own customized microgreens harvesting kit.

Save Money on Your First Hamama Grow Kit, Seed Quilt, or Accessories Order

Helpful tip: Don't miss my Hamama shopping link and discount code at the end of this article to save 10%!

My Favorite, Practical Products for Growing, Harvesting and Storing Fresh Microgreens

Stasher Silicone Food Storage Bags

You don't have to grow microgreens to fall in love with these fabulous food storage and cooking bags

In August 2019, I wrote a review of my favorite silicone kitchen tools and accessories, including silicone food storage bag. But, after trying the Stasher silicone bag in my Hamama Harvesting Kit, I fell in love with it. I purchased three more in larger sizes, and I definitely plan to add more over time. Although they cost more than other silicone bags, they're totally worth the price!

These Stasher silicone bags are a cinch to open and close, unlike any other brand of silicone food storage bags I've tried. Yet, they're also airtight and watertight. Many people use them for sous-vide cooking, placing the sealed bag of raw food in a pot of boiling water. And since these bags are leakproof, They're also perfect for marinating meats, poultry, seafood, fish, or vegetables to infuse them with extra flavor.

Photo of four Stasher silicone food storage bags
The Stasher silicone food storage bags I have purchased to date

The Stasher bag that came with the Hamama Harvesting Kit is the sandwich size (7.5" x 7.5" x 1"), which has a 15 oz. capacity. (It's the smallest one in the photo of my current Stasher bag collection.) However, since I wrap my harvested microgreens loosely in a paper towel before placing them in the bag to store in my refrigerator, I find that I need a larger size if I want to harvest all (or most) of a seed quilt at one time.

The sizes I use to comfortably contain an entire crop of paper towel-wrapped microgreens from a Hamama seed quilt are the tall Stasher Silicone Reusable 1/2 Gallon Food Storage Bag (10.25” x 8.25” x 1.5” with a 64.2 oz. capacity), and the Stasher Silicone Reusable Stand-Up Food Storage Bag (7.75" x 7" x 3" with a 56 oz. capacity) that, true to its name, stands up on its own for easy filling and removal of the contents.

Dedicated Scissors

If you prefer to harvest your microgreens with scissors, it's a bad idea to use your general-use utility scissors that are also used to cut paper, crafting materials, etc. I highly recommend dedicating a pair of scissors exclusively to harvesting microgreens and herbs, and cleaning the blades scrupulously before each use. They don't need to be fancy kitchen shears, but they should be sharp and comfortable and have stainless steel blades. (Who wants specks of rust in their microgreens or herbs?) 

If I were putting together my own harvesting kit, it would include the Fiskars 01-004761J Softgrip Scissors with 8-inch stainless steel blades (or something similar), which are backed by a lifetime warranty. 

Bamboo and Natural Fiber Bristle Scrub Brush

It's important to clean Hamama grow trays very thoroughly before starting each seed quilt. Although the trays are top-rack dishwasher safe, the top rack or our modestly sized dishwasher is usually filled to capacity with glasses, cups, bowls, long-handled spatulas, cooking tongs, etc. So, I prefer to scrub my grow trays by hand.

It can be challenging to clean between the ridges inside the black grow trays, particularly at the corners and around the perimeter. That's why the Hamama Harvesting Kit includes the small, round, bamboo handled scrub brush with natural fiber bristles, which I find invaluable for this purpose.

When I looked for a similar brush, most of them had either synthetic bristles or components made of plastic or other non-biodegradable components. After considerable searching, I finally found a palm-sized, mildew-resistant round bamboo scrub brush with organic, natural fiber bristles, very similar to the one in the Hamama Harvesting Kit. As a bonus, it comes with soap dish that can also be used to store the scrub brush out on the counter, if desired (just make sure both the brush and the dish are completely dry first). 

This versatile brush has medium-hard bristles that can also be used to clean even non-stick pots and pans, dishes, vegetables, and more.

3% Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide and Fine Mist Spray Bottle

Only one of my Hamama seed quilts has ever developed mold, back when I was still a seed quilt "newbie." It was hot and humid in our living room, since we don't have central air conditioning and only turn on each room's A/C unit when we are actively using the room. I made the common rookie mistake of over-watering that one seed quilt, so that the paper covering was wet. When, unsurprisingly, about a third of the sections failed to germinate. I then compounded the problem by covering those water-logged sections with strips of newspaper for two days, after reading a troubleshooting tip for a different problem. (I did say I had a brown thumb!) Of course, when I pulled off the newspaper strips at the end of two days, there were signs of mold, and unfortunately, the seed quilt was unsalvageable at that point.

Before throwing away the moldy seed quilt, I took a couple of photos and shared them in the Hamama Friends group on Facebook and asked how I could prevent a recurrence. The answers were very instructive. One of the best recommendations I got was from a woman who recommended that spraying the surface of the water in the grow tray with food-grade 3% hydrogen peroxide before soaking future seed quilts. She also said she mists the leaves with it after peeling off the paper cover, and hasn't had any mold issues since she started doing that.

I immediately ordered a bottle of food grade 3% hydrogen peroxide. A while ago, I had purchased a dozen small, cobalt blue glass mister bottles. I filled one of them with the 3% hydrogen peroxide and labeled it (since the rest of my cobalt glass misters are also filled with clear liquids), and it now lives next to my Hamama grow trays to remind me to spritz the water before soaking each new seed quilt. And, like the helpful person who suggested I use the 3% hydrogen peroxide for this purpose, I haven't seen a speck of mold since I started following her excellent advice!

I find these pretty and practical cobalt blue glass spritzer bottles useful for many different purposes. They spray a very fine mist, which makes them ideal for evenly and lightly moistening metal clay with distilled water, since this material dries out very quickly when exposed to air while working with it. I keep another filled with isopropyl alcohol for sanitizing makeup brushes, tweezers, manicure implements, etc. in between full soap-and-water cleanings. I also find that they don't leak, so I'm considering keeping another bottle filled with a CDC-approved alcohol-based disinfectant in my purse for when I leave the house. The cobalt glass isn't just pretty; it also helps protect the contents against UV rays.

Save 10% on Your First Hamama Order!

If you haven't ordered directly from the Hamama website before, you can use my Hamama shopping link (or click on the image below), add the products you want to the shopping cart, then use the discount code SUPERGREENS during checkout to get 10% off your product total. And if you're lucky enough to have receive a Hamama grow kit as a gift, you can use this link and discount code to save 10% on the beautiful bamboo accessories made exclusively for the Hamama seed quilt and grow tray system.

My Favorite Hamama Microgreens Seed Quilt Accessories by Margaret Schindel

Posts In This Series About My Keto Diet Journey

My Favorite Hamama Microgreens Seed Quilt Accessories

Hamama Microgreens Growing Kit Review & Success Tips

Good Dee’s Keto Cookie Low Carb Baking Mix Review

Low Carb Keto Chocolate Yogurt Granola Chip Pudding Recipe

Low Carb Muffins & Cupcakes: Treats to Enjoy on a Keto Diet

Preparing to Succeed on the Keto Diet, Part Two

Preparing to Succeed on the Keto Diet, Part One

My First Year on The Keto Diet


Reviews of the Keto Diet by Barbara C. (aka Brite-Ideas)

My Personal Keto Testimonial

How I Stayed Committed to the Ketogenic Way of Eating


Read More Reviews About Health and Wellness by Our Review This Reviews Contributors

Read More Gardening Reviews by Our Review This Reviews Contributors






Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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