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Gluten-free, Parmesan, Date and Walnut Soda Bread

  Soda Bread

We are so happy to introduce our newest blogger, Rosie. She will be our go-to gluten girl as she specializes in nutrition and gluten free recipes. For her first Baking Steel blog post, Rosie took on gluten free soda bread. Read more below!

Soda bread is a quick and simple answer to bread making. No yeast, proving or kneading time is required since sodium bicarbonate is used as the leavening agent. This reacts with the lactic acid in the buttermilk forming little bubbles of carbon dioxide. I like to mainly use wholegrain flours in my recipes as these are less refined and more nutritious. This is because most of the goodness in grains, is in the outer bran layer and germ of the seed. Wholegrains can therefore contain up to 75% more nutrients than refined cereals!

Don't worry if you have never heard of psyllium husks before. These are a natural alternative to xathan gum and are a staple ingredient in many gluten-free baking recipes. The husks absorb moisture, creating a gel-like consistency which acts to bind the bread together and mimic the elastic properties of gluten. You should be able to find these in your local health food store.

The fresh Parmesan, walnuts and dates help to create a winning savoury/sweet combination. Put this bread in the centre of a dining table, and invite people to tear off triangular chunks with their hands and enjoy alongside a seasonal salad, soup or stew. This bread can also be sliced lengthways, and toasted which works particularly well for gluten-free brunches with mashed avocado, organic poached eggs and garlic sautéed spinach. Since the shelf life of soda bread is not particularly long, I also like to slice up the loaf and store it in the freezer.

sliced with butter

sliced

soda bread

Dry Ingredients

2 cups brown rice flour 1 cup tapioca flour 2/3 cup of good quality Parmesan cheese, finely grated 3/4 cup walnuts, freshly chopped 1/2 cup dates, stones removed and chopped 1 tbs psyllium husks (or 1tsp xanthan gum) 1 tsp baking powder 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda 1 tsp freshly ground sea salt

Wet Ingredients 300ml buttermilk 1 x freerange egg

Method

Place your baking steel in the centre of your oven, preheated to its maximum temperature.

Add flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt and psyllium husks to a large mixing bowl. Sift well until all the ingredients are evenly combined.

Add the walnuts, cheese and dates to the bowl, distributing them within the flour mixture with you hands.

In a measuring jug, whisk the egg and buttermilk together. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, and pour in about half of the egg/buttermilk mixture, using your hand in a circular motion to incorporate everything together, working from the centre of the bowl outwards. Continue to add enough of the buttermilk mixture until the dough comes together with a soft consistency. You don't your dough to be too wet and sticky, so don't add all of the buttermilk unless you need to. The amount of buttermilk/egg mixture I end up adding depending on which brand of flour I am using as different flours have difference absorbance capacities.

Turn the dough out onto a floured square of parchment paper, and quickly pat it into a 4cm deep round. Using a large, sharp knife, cut a deep cross on the loaf and prick the four corners with a fork. Place the dough and parchment paper onto a pizza paddle, and launch it onto your baking steel. Bake in your oven at its maximum temperature for 5 minutes and then turn the oven down to 180  °C. You will know your bread is cooked if it sounds hollow when tapped on its underside.

Transfer the bread to a rack, and leave it to cool completely before enjoying.

Bio

My name is Rosie, and I'm a London based coeliac, training to be a Nutritionist and Dietitian. I started my food blog, glutenfreerosie.com after realising there is a common misconception that gluten-free automatically means healthy! Packaged gluten-free foods can often be highly processed making them energy dense, but not necessarily nutrient dense. My recipes largely focus on using whole, seasonal, plant-based ingredients to create nutritious food, bursting with flavour.

Cooking, or more specifically baking, without gluten can at times be tricky. This is particularly because gluten provides important baking properties such as elasticity. If you're new to gluten-free baking, the key is to throw out expectations that your bread or pizza will be exactly the same as regular bread and pizza. The process and results are often different, however it's possible to create food that tastes, and looks amazing. I hope I can inspire you to have fun, and embrace baking gluten-free, using your Baking Steel.

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