I think for most people living a gluten-free, dairy-free and egg-free life, bread is the most challenging of all its aspects. I know from personal experience that it’s taken me years to really get a feel for making free-from bread, especially as once you’ve excluded yeast from the mix it can become very tricky indeed. But actually, once you look, there are lots of ways around this problem. Unleavened breads – also known as ‘quick breads’ – have long been a staple part of our cuisine, they just don’t immediately spring to mind when we think of the bakers’ oven. But flatbreads, Socca, Farinata, Wraps, Chapatis, Parathas, soda breads and scones are all naturally unleavened breads and can, with a little attention, be redesigned to make them gluten-free and vegan, too. These are breads that don’t require a period of kneading or proving. They tend not to use yeast (though this isn’t always the case) and generally go straight from the bowl or board and into the oven. That’s actually the beauty of unleavened bread; once you know what you are doing you can have bread into the oven within 10-15 minutes, making them perfect for our busy, hectic and often demanding lives.
This rustic loaf began as a little experiment; I wanted to make a soda-like bread but using a combination of gluten-free plain flour and gram flour (also known as chickpea flour). It’s a combination I’ve favoured ever since first making this Chickpea Bread, which has become a staple in our house. Lunch was calling and a lovely jar of sundried tomatoes caught my eye – the perfect blend. This rustic and loosely shaped bread has a lovely golden crust and a rather nice crumb interior, it was so incredibly quick and simple to make and made the perfect off-the-cuff lunch teamed with some creamy hummus and cherry tomatoes. Feel free to play around with the added flavours; I think the addition of olives or thyme and rosemary would all work well, perhaps some pine nuts too. It’s a great example of a quick bread and a lovely thing to eat and enjoy whether for lunch or supper.
RUSTIC SUNDRIED TOMATO BREAD
Makes 1 loaf
130g gluten-free plain flour, plus extra for handling
100g gram flour
1 tbsp baking powder
5 sundried tomatoes, plus 2 tbsp of their oil
150ml almond milk – or your favourite dairy-free milk
1 tsp cider vinegar or 1 tbsp lemon juice if you’re avoiding vinegar too
Preheat the oven to 220c.
Place all of the dried ingredients into a large mixing bowl and stir together. Next, roughly chop the sundried tomatoes and toss together in the flours so that the pieces become coated – this will allow them to become evenly distributed.
Pour over the almond milk, oil and cider vinegar (or lemon juice) and then mix together until you have a large, tacky ball of dough. Coat your hands in extra flour and carefully lift the loose dough and place on to a large baking tray, shaping it into a round loaf approximately 6 inches in diameter.
Score the top of the loaf into 8 segments (you can be quite light with the knife as the dough is so soft). Bake the bread in the oven for 15-18 minutes or until golden and crusty. Remove from the oven, leave to cool for 10 minutes and then cut into segments and enjoy.