Doesn’t this photo send you straight to the kitchen? It’s from my latest book, Gluten-Free Baking. If you are missing artisanal style breads, try your hand at this whole-grain soda bread. Soda breads translate well to gluten-free baking, and are easy to make. No yeast or kneading or rising time, just cut in some butter and then mix, shape and bake.
Let your creation cool to lukewarm or room temperature, then serve alongside steaming bowls of soup or stew. Enjoy it the next morning with butter and preserves or smoked salmon. It’s also great for open-faced sandwiches. Two of my favorites: mash avocado onto a slice of the bread, then sprinkle with salt and pepper (and chili powder, if you like); or top wedges with creamy burrata cheese and crisp radishes.
A healthful bread, it is made with gluten-free whole grains that also lend lots of flavor. Slightly sweet sorghum flour, oat flour, oat bran and flaxseed meal create a hearty texture too. I like to fold in some nuts or seeds; sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds, walnuts or toasted hazelnuts are all good. The nuts or seeds could be replaced with raisins or chopped dried fruit, or just left out. There are endless possibilities.
Why not bake a loaf over the weekend, scramble some eggs on Sunday morning, and enjoy a great brunch?
Whole Grain Gluten-Free Soda Bread
- 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
- 1 cup less 1 tablespoon whole milk or soy milk
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup gluten-free oat flour
- ½ cup sorghum flour
- ½ cup potato starch
- 2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons xanthan gum
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
- 3 tablespoons gluten-free oat bran
- 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
- ⅓ cup sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds
- 1½ teaspoons chia or poppy seeds, optional
- Preheat the oven to 375° F. Grease an 8 to 9-inch round cake pan and dust with sorghum flour.
- In a glass measuring cup, place the vinegar. Add enough milk to measure 1 cup. Let stand 5 minutes to thicken (this makes instant buttermilk, 1 cup buttermilk can replace the vinegar and milk mixture). Add the egg and whisk to blend.
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine the oat flour, sorghum flour, potato starch, brown sugar, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Process to blend. Add the butter and cut in until the mixture resembles a fine meal. Add the oat bran and flaxseed and blend in.
- Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl. Mix in the sunflower seeds. Add the liquid ingredients. Using a silicone or rubber spatula, mix until a sticky batter forms. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Dip the silicone spatula into water and use to form the dough into a smooth round loaf. Flatten slightly. Using a serrated knife, cut a ¼-inch deep cross into the top of the loaf, cutting to the edges. Sprinkle the loaf with chia seeds.
- Place the bread in the oven and bake until it browns slightly, sounds hollow when tapped, and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire rack 5 minutes Transfer the loaf to a wire rack and cool. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store airtight up to 2 days.
- Tips: An interesting note on sunflower seeds: They are rich in a healthful antioxidant, but it can occasionally turn the seeds green when baked. This is harmless, and makes this bread a good candidate to serve on St Patrick’s Day. Mine didn’t turn green until a day or two after baking. To avoid this, replace the sunflower seeds with pumpkin seeds, any nut you like, or raisins.
- If you don’t have both oat bran and flax seed meal, use 5 tablespoons total of whichever is in your cupboard
Photo by Annabelle Breakey