[Classic soda bread is vegan, sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, egg free, soy-free, nut-free and yeast-free. Suitable for Stage 2 and beyond on an anti-candida diet.]
When I was a kid, it wasn’t unusual for my sisters and me to come home after school to find three or four different homemade baked goods lined up on our counter. There might be the remains of yesterday’s Dutch apple cake sitting in a rectangular pan, juices oozing from the cinnamony apple slices layered with rich vanilla batter; a rustic “farmer’s cheesecake” with its burnished criss-cross topping, a thin sliver missing along the side where my mom tasted it; a half-empty tin of fragrant, chewy chocolate chip cookies; remnants of a log of “roly poly,” my mother’s favorite homemade pastry, stuffed with strawberry jam and bits of Turkish delight; or a quick-mix coffee cake adorned with chopped walnuts and a cinnamon-sugar sprinkle. At holiday time, there were even more goodies available, from frozen nut cookies to Mexican wedding cookies to “Surprise Crackles,” fudge, shortbreads and more.
Is it any wonder my sisters and I all grew up with weight issues?
Although she was a stellar baker, my studiously mom avoided entire categories of baked goods. Her personal cookbook would have omitted chapters on “Pies and Tarts” as well as “Yeasted Breads,” and those were two types of foodstuff that we never found on the counter. (Well, I lie. She did make a confection called Chocolate Surprise Pie, or something like that–a brownie baked into a regular pie crust. For that, she bought a prepared pie crust and poured the chocolate batter into it before baking).
Once I moved out on my own, I was determined to give yeast bread a try. And try I did. Unfortunately, when it came to my skills with yeast-based baked goods, I seemed doomed to repeat the failures of my mother.
I’ve had exactly one success with yeast bread, when I first met the HH and was keen to impress him with my baking prowess. I managed one loaf that, magically, turned out light and fluffy, with a perfect pillowy texture to showcase a thick smear of butter.
The HH arrived home from work one evening to a house brimming with the aroma of fresh-baked bread, and he demolished the loaf in less than 24 hours. I tried again the following week, to no avail; the yeast gods had abandoned me (or, at least, when it came to baked goods, they did; sadly, they found me again eventually, only this time in the mutated form of candida).
[Here slathered with my homemade “My Life in Balance Buttery Spread.” A perfect accompaniment for the bread!]
But non-yeast breads? I’ve never met a fruit loaf, a zucchini bread, a baking powder-based Cinnamon Bun, a beer bread or a soda bread that I couldn’t master. (And I’m sure I’ve got my mom to thank for that, too).
Since the holidays are (too) fast approaching, and since I’ve already shared a bread-free stuffing recipe last week, I thought it only fair to present this fabulous gluten-free soda bread for those of you who prefer your stuffing bread-based. Bake up a loaf, cut into chunks, and there’s your stuffing base. Or, if you’re like the HH and me, just eat this with a smear of (homemade, vegan) butter instead.
Classic Soda Bread made Vegan and Gluten-Free
Soda bread is a perfect quick-mix loaf that can be used for breakfast, sandwiches, or anywhere you need a hearty, rustic slice of bread. The combination of sorghum and sweet rice flours creates the perfect classic texture and taste. Try some for a holiday brunch–or stuffing!
1 cup (240 ml) sorghum flour, plus about 1/4 cup (60 ml) more for shaping the loaf
1/3 cup (80 ml) sweet rice flour
1-1/2 tsp (7.5 ml) xanthan gum (Bob’s Red Mill is corn-free)
2 Tbsp (10 ml) whole psyllium husks
1/8 tsp (.5 ml) pure stevia powder
1/4 tsp (1 ml) salt, or more, to your taste
2 tsp (10 ml) baking powder
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) baking soda
1 cup (240 ml) unsweetened nondairy milk of choice (I used almond)
1 Tbsp (15 ml) apple cider vinegar
3 Tbsp (45 ml) melted organic coconut oil, plus more for brushing the top of the loaf
Preheat oven to 375F (190C). Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, sift together the 1 cup (240 ml) sorghum flour, sweet rice flour, xanthan gum, psyllium, stevia, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Whisk well to distribute the ingredients evenly.
Add the milk, vinegar and 3 Tbsp (45 ml) coconut oil and stir just to mix; do not overmix or your loaf will be too dense. Sprinkle a bit of extra sorghum flour over the dough and gently shape it into a ball with your hands (it will be very moist and soft); place the ball on the prepared cookie sheet. Flatten slightly to form a round loaf 9-10″ (23-25 cm), then score the top by cutting an “X” shape about 1/4 inch (.5 cm) deep into the top of the loaf.
Bake for 20 minutes, then remove from oven and gently brush the top of the loaf with melted coconut oil, if desired (this will allow the crust to brown and firm up more). Rotate the pan and continue to bake the loaf for another 15-25 minutes until lightly browned on the bottom and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool before slicing. (Note: if you prefer warm bread, it’s better to cool the loaf, slice, then re-heat; the loaf is quite fragile when just taken out of the oven). Makes one loaf. May be frozen.
Suitable for: ACD Stage 2 and beyond, sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, egg free, soy-free, nut free, yeast-free, vegan.
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