Anyone who is gluten-free for whatever reason will know how difficult it is to find a commercial gluten-free loaf that doesn’t look and taste like cardboard and is, if you’re lucky, only ‘good’ for toasting. It lasts a day and then breaks up. It has no flavour other than of additives, and no texture – and if you look at the list of ingredients, you may as well be reading a chemistry experiment!
We have several family members who are gluten-free and have made many variations of gluten-free loaves over the years. We find the ones made in the breadmaker are best, but it’s a bit hit and miss. One day it will come out perfect, the next the paddle will refuse to come out and you have a big hole in the middle or the bottom inch of the loaf isn’t cooked properly.
So, I am ever on the hunt for new recipes to try. This is our latest attempt based on a recipe I found by Dan Lepard on BBC Food. The first one we made, we used all tiger nut flour as we didn’t have cornflour and it gave a lovely brown colour and lots of texture, but I think there was too much liquid: it spread too much and was very crusty.
So this is our second attempt (see Vegan Gluten-Free Tiger Nut Loaf/Bread Mk III for our next attempt) and we kept a little closer to the original, although we didn’t have enough cornflour or enough tiger nut flour for the whole loaf, so we included some organic chickpea flour and a smaller amount of tiger nut flour this time.
Chickpea flour – also known as garbanzo bean flour and besan flour – is high in protein and has lots of vitamins and minerals including calcium – as does Tiger Nut flour, which is naturally sweet and high in dietary fibre.
We were very pleased with it. You can’t really make traditional large sandwiches – it doesn’t rise a lot – but I had open sandwiches with tahini, lettuce, spring onion and olives and they were very moreish!
We used plain coconut yogurt in place of dairy to make it vegan, and we also reduced the amount of liquid a little.
All measurements are approximate, you may need a couple of attempts to find the right combinations for you.
25g – 50g (10z – 1 3/4 oz) Organic Golden Linseeds
450 mls (16 fl oz) Warm Water
2 1/2 Tsps Quick-acting Yeast
80 mls (3 fl oz) Plain Coconut Yogurt
11 oz (312g) Organic Cornflour/ Fine Maize Flour
4 oz (114 g) Organic Chickpea Flour
1 oz (30g) Tiger Nut Flour
1 Tsp Pink Himalayan Salt
1 1/2 Tsps Organic Coconut Palm Sugar
50g (1 3/4oz) Organic Psyllium Husk Powder
50 mls (1 3/4 Fl oz) Organic Raw Virgin Olive Oil
A little extra olive oil and flour
Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4
Warm the linseeds on a tray for about 10-12 minutes, until they darken slightly (the toasted seeds will release a sticky gluten-like substance when mixed with the wet ingredients, and they give the loaf a wheatgerm-like flavour).
Switch off the oven.
Mix together the water and yeast, then stir in the yogurt and seeds. Set aside.
Sift and mix together the flour, salt, sugar and psyllium husk powder in a large bowl.
Pour in the yeast mixture and olive oil and mix well. Don’t worry if it looks like there’s too much liquid. It will turn into a sticky dough within a few minutes as the linseed, flour and psyllium husk powder become gel-like.
Once the mixture is firm enough, knead it for 10 seconds on the worktop to mix everything again, then place the dough back in the bowl, cover and leave in a warm but not hot place for 30 minutes.
Line a tray with non-stick baking paper.
Shape the dough into a ‘bloomer’ shape, ie long and thick, then brush with the extra olive oil, cover and leave it to rise for about 30 minutes.
Heat the oven to 240C/465F/Gas 9 (we have a fan oven and adjusted to 200C).
Make some diagonal cuts across the dough with a sharp knife, sprinkle with a little cornflour and bake for about 40 minutes, or until rich golden-brown in colour.
Cool on a wire rack before slicing.
Serving suggestions: Peanut butter and banana
Sliced avocado sprinkled with lemon juice and black pepper on bread with rocket, watercress and cucumber salad.
Copyright: Chris McGowan