I realised this morning that I was out of bread and wanted some in time to enjoy with lunch. I have been meaning for some months to try making a gluten free soda bread, as I reasoned that the lack of proofing time and not having to reply on yeast for rising might produce a better gluten free loaf than I have so far managed. Being short of time I decided that today was the right time to give it a shot.
I used an assortment of different flours in my loaf, using up what I had on hand, but I’m sure using a flour blend or just one or two different flours would work just as well. A combination of different flours seem to produce the best gluten free results as they all have slightly different textures, flavours, thickness capabilities so combining them usually gives better results. Some are slightly coarse, other soft and powdery etc.
My mix came together in a matter of moments, almost too quick for the oven to heat up. As soon as I added the milk I could see the bicarbonate of soda starting to get to work and producing little air pockets in the soft spongy dough.
The dough was quite soft and sticky, but this is again preferable for a gluten free dough as the lighter texture allows it to rise more easily as there is no gluten to add elasticity.
I placed it in the oven and hoped for the best. The resulting loaf was fantastic! The best looking loaf of gluten free bread I have so far produced. It rose well and developed a lovely rustic crack along the top. The crust was wonderfully thick while the interior crumb had a close texture but was deliciously light and moist. It had a definite grainy, savoury note thanks to the buckwheat and chickpea flour, which I loved.
I think soda bread, like scones, is best enjoyed when still slightly warm from the oven. My favourite way to eat it is topped with some strong cheese which goes a little soft and melty on the still warm bread, or topped with some sour cherry jam for a sweet treat. Delicious!
I’m still going to continue my experiments with gluten free yeasted bread, but I might try adding a little bicarb in the mix too, just to give it a bit of head start.
GF Soda Bread
150g brown rice flour
100g buckwheat flour
100g gram/chickpea flour
50g brown teff flour
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp salt
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp honey
Preheat the oven to 220C. Grease a deep 11x20cm loaf tin and line the base and up two sides with a long strip of greaseproof paper. (I didn’t do this and my bread stuck to the base, so I will next time!)
Weigh out all the flours and place into a large bowl along with the xanthan gum, salt and bicarbonate of soda. Mix all the dry ingredients together until combined.
Drizzle over the honey and then pour in the milk. Use a round bladed butter knife to mix the milk into the flour. Fold it gently and don’t over mix. It doesn’t want to be smooth and a few little lumps here and there are fine. It should be quite soft and sticky.
Spread the bread mix into the loaf tin and bake for 5 minutes. Then reduce the oven temperature to 200C and bake for 30-35 minutes longer, until risen, crusty and golden.
Allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before running a knife around the edge and removing from the pan. Use the greaseproof strip to help you.
Allow to cool almost to room temperature before cutting in thick slices and serving. Great with a savoury assortment of cheese, pickles and soups or sweet with jam, cream cheese or nutella.
Makes 1 loaf.
Note: You can also bake this loaf free-form on a flat baking tray. Just shape it into a large round blob and bake!