Sunday, March 18, 2012

Experiment #1: Gluten Free Irish Soda Bread

I've been dating my boyfriend Colin for a little over a year now, and ever since we met, I've been promising to master the art and science of gluten free baking. He loves sweets as much as I do, but the learning curve of turning my favorite baked goodies into something that wouldn't poison him always seemed too large to overcome.

But something changed last week. St. Patrick's Day was upon us, and I couldn't bear thinking that Colin would have to sit at the dinner table with me and my family, watching us partake in the wonder that is Irish Soda Bread without a version of his own. So I decided that - for good or for bad - my first foray into the world of gluten free baking would be with this quickbread I love so much.

After consulting a fellow blogger, whom I consider an expert on the subject, I ventured out to Whole Foods, with a list of foreign ingredients and a healthy dose of skepticism. An hour and $65 later, I was back in my kitchen, ready to embark on this culinary-favorite-gone-science-experiment.

To my surprise and delight, it went together quickly and without much trouble. At dinner we did a taste test, and although the textures were very different, the flavors of the breads were very similar - one guest even said he preferred the gluten free version over the 'regular' (thanks, Joe!). And most importantly, Colin loved it so much, he ate half last night and finished the rest this morning. I think I may have gotten over my fear of the strange ingredients with high price tags - and now I'm excited to tackle the next challenge.

Here's the recipe I used, adapted from Karina over at Gluten Free Goddess.

Gluten-Free Irish Soda Bread 

Dry Ingredients:
1 cup white rice flour
1/2 cup sweet sorghum flour
1/2 cup potato starch
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup light brown sugar
2 teaspoons xanthan gum

Wet Ingredients:
3/4 cup buttermilk 
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons light olive oil
1 tablespoon honey

Stir In:
2/3 cup raisins - soak in boiling water for a couple minutes to plump them

Preheat oven to 375ºF. Lightly oil an 8-inch round cake pan and dust it with cornmeal. Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Whisk the wet ingredients together in a separate bowl- start with 3/4 cup liquid at first.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Start with 3/4 cup rice milk and slowly pour the wet into the dry ingredients, gently mixing as you go [I use a soft silicone or rubber spatula to do this]. If you need a little more buttermilk to moisten the dough, add a tablespoon at a time and stir in.

When the dough is evenly moist, add the caraway and raisins. Stir only briefly to mix them in. 

Scrape and spoon out the dough into the prepared cake pan; and using moist or rice-floured palms, flatten and shape the dough into a rounded loaf. Sprinkle with a very light dusting of cornmeal or rice flour.

Using a dry sharp knife, slice a criss-cross into the dough (not too deep!) to discourage the mischievous fairies from messing with your humble loaf of bread.

Place the pan into the center of a preheated oven. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the loaf is golden and crusty and sounds hollow when thumped. Insert a wooden toothpick into the center to test for doneness.

Cool on a wire rack for ten minutes; and turn the loaf out of the pan to cool to room temperature - although it's best warm and tender from the oven, I think, even if it tends to crumble a bit. Serves 8.

Yields one loaf of bread.

No comments:

Post a Comment