Cheese & Spring Onion Soda bread – Gluten Free version

This is a “What would happen if….” type of bake. I wondered what would happen if I used gluten free flour to make a soda bread. The answer is that it gave me wonderful tasty loaves with a great texture and flavour. To be honest, I didn’t expect it to work so well nor to taste so good. But it does!

Even though this bread is terrific, there’s probably still room for improvement, so this is a “Work in Progress” recipe. I’ll add my notes and thoughts along the way in the hope that you’ll have a go, making any changes you think will help, then let me know. Is that a deal?

Makes: Two medium loaves

Level: Easy

Time: Prep 20 – 25 mins; bake 25 – 30 mins

Equipment: No special items required – a bowl and wooden spoon will be OK

IngredientsComments
50ml milk, mixed with 10ml lemon juice  To use later, only if the mixture is very dry
350g GF plain flour + more for dustinge.g. Sainsbury’s “Freee” or Dove’s Farm “Free from”  
150g PolentaI don’t think this is totally necessary, but I like the gritty texture of polenta so I used some. Replace with more flour if you like.  (NB It does give the bread a great colour)
12g salt  Less if the cheese you use is salty
1 tsp xanthan gum powder  I’m still undecided about this. It’s probably superfluous, but I put it in “just in case”.  
25g Bicarbonate of Soda  I used 20g in my version, but the loaves didn’t rise as much as I wanted, so I think 25g might be better.  
50g caster sugar  Another doubtful ingredient. I used it for two reasons: 1. Lots of other soda bread recipes include sugar. 2. It probably balances any saltiness.
60g Melted butter   
300ml Carton of buttermilkI’ve never managed to get all 300ml from the carton into the mixture, hence the extra milk & lemon juice.  
50g finely chopped spring onionsOr use Chives (2 Tbsn?) or 50g chopped onions  
150g – 200g firm cheese, grated  e.g. Red Leicester, Cheddar, Double Gloucester  

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 220C / 200C fan / 425F / Gas 7. Line a large baking tray with baking paper.

2. Add the lemon juice to the milk and wait a few minutes then stir. Set aside to use later if necessary.

3. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flour, polenta, salt, xanthan gum powder, bicarb soda and sugar until thoroughly combined. Mix in the butter and buttermilk to make a dough.

4. Mix in most of the grated cheese and all the spring onions. (Save some cheese to sprinkle on the tops prior to baking)

5. Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface (Use GF flour). Bring together with hardly any kneading and divide into two halves. Shape each half into a ball and place onto the prepared baking tray. Gently flatten to about 5cm thick then cut a cross on top of each.

6. Brush the tops with beaten egg or milk then sprinkle over the reserved cheese.

7. Bake until golden brown on top and/or there’s a hollow sound when tapped, 25 – 30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack etcetera.

8.  And finally ….. cut a slice or two (or rip a chunk off), eat it and let me know what you think.