C’est simple comme bonjour.
There’s nothing quite like coming home to the smell of freshly baked bread. Bread is such a staple part of our diet, and although the supermarkets are replete with different types of sliced sandwich bread, it’s the freshly baked, rustic-looking loaves that really get our stomachs rumbling.
This is exactly the kind of bread that I missed most when I first switched to a gluten-free diet. A lot of the gluten-free bread available at the supermarket is average at best, and often resembles a cake more than a bread. Finding one that you like is an ongoing process of trial and error, and you can end up forking out $10+ a good-quality loaf. So, all things considered, making your own bread on occasion isn’t such a bad idea.
I think a lot of people (myself included) are put off the idea of home-made bread by the sheer amount of time that it takes to make. There’s all that rising and kneading…and rising and kneading…and rising (again!), and it all just seems like too much effort (it’s no wonder bakers start their day so early!). This needn’t be the case. You can, in fact, make your own bread without yeast, proofing, or kneading, and I’m going to show you how.
Irish Soda Bread is a quick-mix bread that relies on bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) as its leavening agent. Typically made with flour, bicarb, salt and milk, it takes minutes to put together and can be made from start to finish in under an hour. It’s the perfect thing to whip up for breakfast or lunch. To this recipe, I’ve added some dried fruit and spices, which makes the bread a little sweeter. It can be sliced, or torn off in chunks, and pairs well with butter, jam, or honey.
Gluten Free Spiced Fruit Soda Bread
makes one small loaf
300g gluten-free plain flour (plus a little extra for dusting)
50g certified gluten-free oat bran
55g dried currants
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp salt
1tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- Preheat oven to 200ºC. Line a baking sheet with baking paper and set aside.
- Combine flour, bicarb, currants and spices in a large mixing bowl, and whisk thoroughly to combine.
- Pour milk into dry ingredients, and stir gently until the mix comes together as a dough. With wet hands, shape the dough into a round, slightly flattened loaf, and place on the prepared baking sheet. Dust the top of the loaf with the extra plain flour, smoothing it into the surface of the dough.
- With a serrated knife, cut a shallow cross in the top of the loaf (see image above). Bake for 30 minutes (the bottom of the loaf should sound hollow when tapped, and the dough should no longer be visibly wet in any place).
- Serve warm with jam, butter, or honey.
Keeping time: 1 day.
*I used lactose-free milk, but I wouldn’t recommend using a non-dairy milk. Buttermilk would give the best result because its acidic properties combine with the bicarbonate of soda to act as a raising agent.