Glorious Gluten Free Bread
Diagnosed with Coeliac disease some 20 years ago, I've eaten and baked a lot of gluten free bread. Some good, some bad, some downright ugly. I've bought (and dumped) more gluten free grains than I care to count. And in the last year, I've finally learned to make two that tick all the boxes. My cupboards are stocked with the supplies for both of these and nothing else. At last, a solution to that panicky feeling we can all recognise which I like to call 'Gimme Toast. Now.' I thought I might share the recipes for these two delicious breads and hopefully save somebody the tiresome and guilt-laden task of throwing out long out of date flour, or the disappointment of labouring for an hour or more over something which turns out about as appealing as a piece of damp cardboard.
I was frightened of embarking on the sourdough bread for a long time. It seemed such a lengthy, unpredictable process. As it turns out, it's also a very flexible process. You mix some rice flour with some water and expose it to the air. The micro-organisms in the air cause it to ferment, giving it a bubbly quality and a beery scent and flavour. This happens very quickly, in a day or two a rice starter left at room temperature will ferment quickly. If you can tend to it, you can keep adding flour and water each day. But never fear, if you have to go away for a few days or you are too busy to engage, you can just put it in the fridge. Left at room temperature unattended to, the starter can become mouldy. In the fridge, though, it keeps indefinately. I haven't allowed mine to go over a week without feeding it. Which just involves adding a teaspoon of rice flour and some water. If I want to boost my quantity of sourdough, I will keep it on the kitchen counter and feed it maybe twice a day. In this way, I formed a base supply which is always available. I keep back some of this when I bake, and just feed it up to boost my supply. Once I forgot to do that and added the lot to a loaf. Oops. That's okay too, it just means starting from scratch again. This is the recipe I use. There are two alterations I make to this. No sorghum.....just because I've never managed to get any. If I do, I'll try it and update. The other thing is, a teaspoon of salt is loads. I don't know that the tbsp suggested here isn't a mistake. You may think that 2 tbsp of sugar seems excessive? It isn't. Sourdough is really, well, sour. This is not a bread for sugar free people. That's where the Porridge Bread comes in. I bake this in a large round pyrex dish with lid. I usually add chia seeds. It yields a fairly big loaf, which keeps well and freezes well in slices for toast emergencies.
This is as close as I've come to proper, home baked soda bread. It's really easy to make and is easily adapted to make it egg or dairy free. It's important to use organic oats, as they are not contaminated with other grains during processing....regular oats can be. To make it dairy free, use a can of coconut milk instead of the yoghurt listed in this recipe. This results in a more crumbly texture. For a firmer bread, milk kefir made with coconut or almond milk works well. The process of making this bread could not be simpler...... you don't even need to measure. Add a can of coconut milk to a bowl, and stir in thhe salt and bread soda. Then add organic oats or oatflakesuntil the mixture resembles a thick porridge. Don't leave it too wet as that makes it heavy. This tastes amazing served warm straight from the oven, and also makes great toast. It freezes nicely in slices too.
Baile an tSéipéil
Co. na Gaillimhe
Renmore Holistic Centre
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