When I'm following the keto diet, the thing I miss most is sandwiches -- and more specifically, bread. So, what's a gal to do when the carb monster wields its tempting head? Turn to cloud bread.
I'm not promising that this is an even swap for a thick slice of sourdough. This is, for all intents and purposes, a bread substitute. But it's easy to make, uses only a handful of ingredients you probably already have laying around, and is ready in next to no time. Plus, it's the best version of cloud bread I've ever eaten. Here's how to do it.
What is cloud bread?
Cloud bread has been around since the '70s, when it was introduced to the world through the Atkins diet. Light and fluffy, the texture is closer to that of a thick omelet than a slice of bread. Made of eggs, cream cheese, baking powder and different flavorings, cloud bread can be used in a variety of bread-substituting ways that won't break the nutritional bank if you're watching your carbs or avoiding gluten. Since its flavor is mild on its own, you can dress it up to suit whatever your needs may be.
3 tips for the very best cloud bread
1. Start with a clean, dry bowl for whipping the egg whites. A clean bowl will ensure the egg whites whip up nicely into stiff peaks. Additionally, make sure no yolk gets into the whites -- the fat will inhibit the egg whites' fluff power.
2. Be gentle when folding the yolks into the whites. You'll want to fold just until the two mixtures are combined. If you fold too much or too aggressively, you'll lose air in the whites and they'll begin to flatten.
3. Let the baked loaves rest until almost completely cool. If you pull the cloud breads off the baking sheet too quickly, they may tear.
Fitting cloud bread into your diet
Cloud bread fits into most diets with low-carb or no-carb restrictions, as well as diets that have high-protein and high-fat guidelines. That includes keto, vegetarian, gluten-free, celiac and Atkins diets. Anyone following dairy-free diets such as paleo or Whole30 can replace the cream cheese for cold solidified coconut cream (from the top of the can). Keep in mind that this will change the flavor slightly.
Creative ways to enjoy cloud bread
Now for the fun part! We've included a variety of optional add-ins in the cloud bread recipe, and the suggestions below take it one step further by showing you how to transform your cloud bread (plain or flavored) into a meal.
--Cheesy BLTAs: Warm two loaves of the original cloud bread, slather on some mayo, top with cheddar, bacon, lettuce, tomato and avocado.
--Garlic Parmesan Pizza: Spread 2 tablespoons jarred sauce onto Garlic-Parmesan Cloud Bread and top with thin slices of fresh mozzarella. Toast until the cheese is melty and the cloud bread is crisp.
--Everything Bagel Cloud Bread: Spread softened cream cheese onto Everything Spice Cloud Bread and layer on lox and capers.
--Cloud Bread Tuna Melt: Scoop your favorite tuna salad on top of Scallion Cloud Bread, lay a slice of Swiss cheese over top, and broil until melted.
--Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake: Top a warm Pumpkin Spice Cloud Bread with ricotta cheese, candied pecans, and drizzle with maple syrup.
--Greek-Inspired Open-Faced Sandwich: Layer thinly sliced tomatoes on top of Feta Black Olive Cloud Bread. Top with plain Greek yogurt, cucumber slices, chopped fresh dill and a squeeze of lemon juice.
--Vermont Grilled Turkey Sandwich: Spread butter onto two Cinnamon Raisin cloud bread loaves. Top with shredded white cheddar, sliced turkey, and green apple slices. Close the sandwich and grill until the cheese has melted.
Makes 4 loaves; Serves 4
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons full-fat cream cheese (1 1/2 ounces)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
2 teaspoons white or black sesame seeds
1. Arrange a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 300 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Separate 3 large eggs, placing the whites in a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, and the yolks in a smaller bowl.
3. Add 1/2 teaspoon baking powder to the egg whites.
4. Beat with an electric hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes for a hand mixer or 2 minutes for a stand mixer.
5. Place 3 tablespoons cream cheese in a small microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 10-second bursts until very soft, about 30 seconds total. Stir until smooth and let cool slightly.
6. Add the cream cheese, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/8 teaspoon onion powder to the egg yolks and stir to combine.
7. Add the egg yolk mixture to the whipped egg whites and gently fold until there are no visible streaks and completely combined.
8. Dollop a quarter of the batter (about 3/4 cup) onto the prepared baking sheet and using a spoon, gently flatten into a round that's about 6-inches wide. Don't fuss too much, it doesn't have to be perfect. Repeat with the remaining batter.
9. Sprinkle each round with 1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds.
10. Bake until golden brown, 25 to 28 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheet for at least 20 minutes (the breads will firm up slightly as it cools). Gently lift from the parchment paper.
Recipe notes: Cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature up to three days.