Á la boulangerie…
I have been dreaming about this bread for quite a while. For several months, I have been thinking about making a gluten free dark rye-style bread, but one way or another, I never got around to it. This morning I woke up and decided that today was the day. I’ve been sick for the past week and a half, but as of today I am finally starting to feel like myself. When I woke up this morning, the sunlight was pouring through the curtains (after months of dreary rainy weather), my head felt so much clearer, and I got out of bed with the solemn resolve that today would be a better day. A bread day.
This is a real country-style loaf. It’s the kind of bread I can imagine snacking on after spending the afternoon working in the garden. It would be delicious in a sandwich, or ploughman-style with chutney and a good, strong cheddar. It’s also splendid on its own; I left the warm loaf sitting on a chopping board in the kitchen and let people cut slices for themselves as they moved through the house. The anise flavour of the caraway is quite moorish, and everyone just kept coming back for slice after slice. I spread some apricot jam on one of my slices (as you can see in the picture below), which I would highly recommend trying.
Because this is a soda bread, there’s no yeast, and no arduous rising process. While technically the dough does not require kneading, I would recommend giving it a bit of a mix with your hands when the dough is still in the bowl, in order to make sure that the molasses is evenly distributed through the dough. Otherwise you’ll end up with a marbled colouring through the bread which, although somewhat artistic, is probably less than ideal. You don’t have to be very technical about this step: just fold the dough over on top of itself, scraping up all the extra dough from the bottom of the bowl. See? That’s not so hard. And it’s good exercise for your arms. Now we’re workout buddies! Isn’t this nice?
I’ve got a few different recipes in store for you over the coming weeks. You’ll have to bear with me; the blog is taking a bit of a backseat while I get myself settled into uni and work through some assessments. But don’t worry, I’ll be back.
makes 1 small loaf
300g gluten-free plain flour
1tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
2tsp caraway seeds
1/2 tsp ground fennel
1tsp xanthan gum
1tsp brown sugar
2 tbsp molasses
- Preheat oven to 200ºC. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- Sift together flour, baking powder, bicarb, xanthan gum and ground fennel. Stir through caraway seeds and brown sugar. Pour in half the milk, and stir until it starts to come together as a dough. Add the molasses and the rest of the milk, and mix with your hands until the dough is uniform in colour and all the flour has been incorporated.
- Transfer the dough to the baking tray. Using wet hands, shape dough into a circle. Slice a cross into the top of the dough using a serrated knife. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes (the bottom of the bread should sound hollow when tapped).
- Serve warm or cold, with jam or cheese, or use in sandwiches.
Keeping time: best eaten on the day it is made.