Winter equates to many bowls of soup and many bowls of soup means many slices of bread. For some, a thick-cut piece of fresh sourdough from our local baker is all we need to meet satisfaction but for the many gluten-free-beings out there, you eat each bowl knowing you are never going to have quite the same experience and you've learnt to be okay with that.
There are two key features of gluten-free bread that make it fail as a sponge for your soup. Firstly, it tends to crumble. There is no way you are going to get the goopy, saturated bread sensation from a piece of that bread. Secondly, if it doesn't crumble it probably means it's loaded with gums and binding agents to keep it that way and that's not good for your health.
This bread is by no means an equivalent to a sourdough bread but it's also not trying to be one. This is a dense, crunchy and moist bread that offers gluten-free eaters something different because in the words of Ralph Emerson "imitation is suicide" and there is no way in hell you're going to get a gluten-free loaf as good as the real thing. It won't crumble into your soup and you don't need to do any crazy kitchen chemistry to get this thing to stay together.
The seeded version of this bread is impressive and it comes with optional raisins if you're into the sweet and savoury flavour combination. Once you've perfected the initial recipe, there is plenty of room to move in terms of what you choose to put in to it. Next on the list....herbs and olives.
This recipe does call for arrowroot powder which might be the one thing you don't have in your kitchen cupboard. It is typically found in either the baking section or gluten-free section of your supermarket and is fairly easy to come by. Arrowroot is a starch obtained from the rhizome of a number of tropical plants. It's starchy quality is what makes it so useful in gluten-free baking as it helps to keep things together, much like gluten does. There are no negative health effects of arrowroot however there are not a whole lot of benefits either (although it has shown glimmers of being a prebiotic food, bowel flora rejoice!) so, if you're not into it you do not need to add it and you can just go ahead and add an equivalent amount of flour.
(Adapted from Hemsley + Hemsley)
makes 1 loaf
prep time 10 minutes
cooking time 45 minutes + 45 minutes
A medium-sized sweet potato
110g buckwheat flour
4 tbspn arrowroot powder (or extra flour)
1 tbspn ground flaxseed
1/4 tspn bicarbonate soda
1 tspn sea salt
2 tbspn lemon juice
150g of your favourite seeds (pumpkin, sesame, sunflower, poppy)
60g raisins - optional
1. Heat your oven to 180 degrees. Cut the sweet potato in half lengthways and roast until tender (around 45 minutes).
2. Peel your potato and place 200g into a mixer and mix until smooth.
3. Add the flour, arrowroot powder, flaxseed, bicarbonate soda, sea salt and lemon into the mixer and mix until well combined.
4. Remove the mix and with floured hands, knead in the seeds and raisins (if using). You can also add the rest of the sweet potato in chunks if you like.
5. Shape into a log (20cm long or so) and score the top as shown. Sprinkle with some flakes of sea salt and cook on baking paper for 45 minutes.
6. Allow to cool slightly before slicing.