Gluten-free buckwheat & linseed bread recipe

 

 

I personally get on well with gluten, a natural protein found in wheat and other grains. I am, however, painfully aware that not everyone is as lucky. Gluten-free bread recipes don’t have a particularly good reputation; but I found a great recipe that uses a variety of gluten-free flours and tastes delicious!

Gluten-free buckwheat & linseed bread
Gluten-free buckwheat & linseed bread

The role of gluten in breads

When preparing wheat dough, a stretchy web is formed. This elastic gluten network expands with the gases formed in the fermentation process, holds moisture and prevents bread from crumbling.

In gluten-free bread baking, ingredients such as linseed and psyllium husks help to hold the bread’s shape. Golden linseed, when toasted and added to the liquid ingredients of bread dough, releases a sticky gluten-like gum which softens the crumb. Psyllium seed husks, a source of fibre, bind moisture and make gluten-free breads less crumbly.

Psyllium seed husks
Psyllium seed husks

How gluten-free bread is different

The absence of gluten has a number of implications on the bread and baking process:

  1. Kneading is not required as gluten (the stretchy network) can’t be developed.
  2. The dough needs to be quite wet as gluten-free flours soak up much more water than wheat.
  3. Although gluten-free bread doesn’t keep too well and gets stale quickly, freezing parts of your freshly-baked loaf solves this problem.

Gluten-free flours

There is a good variety of alternative flours which can be used in gluten-free baking. Gluten-free flours can be made of corn, tapioca, buckwheat, rice, chickpeas, beans, soya, millet, potatoes, teff, chestnuts, almonds and peas.

Health food stores and more and more supermarkets stock gluten-free flours. Real Foods stocks a great range of flours and ships worldwide.

Gluten-free sourdough

Gluten-free bread baking does not mean sourdough-free baking. Teff flour sourdough for example is usually used to prepare the Ethiopian bread injera.

On this note, there are some very interesting findings in terms of making wheat sourdough bread safe for people with coeliac disease. More on this with some encouraging results on Celiac.com.

The gluten-free buckwheat & linseed bread recipe (by Dan Lepard)

I used a Dan Lepard recipe for this gluten-free buckwheat and linseed bread, substituting half of the cornflour with buckwheat flour. Cornflour is a useful base flour with good binding properties, however its nutritional value is limited. Buckwheat adds flavour and nutritional quality into the mix.

Gluten-free bread dough, no kneading required
Gluten-free bread dough, no kneading required

The verdict

I don’t have to opt for gluten-free breads, but I think this buckwheat, cornflour and linseed loaf tastes great and takes very little effort. It’s spongy and doesn’t break up or crumble although it’s a little cake-like in consistency. As I used half corn and half buckwheat flour, the bread has a strong buckwheat taste. This isn’t a bad thing at all if you like the distinct buckwheat flavour, like me.

Eat with…

I personally like combining this bread with very salty flavours. It works well with smoked fish, gherkins and cottage cheese but I have also tried more Mediterranean-style toppings such as black olive pâté or a tomato, olive and basil salad with pecorino shavings.

Khobz Recipe – Authentic Moroccan Bread

 

Watching the first episode of Ottolenghi’s Mediterranean Feast set in Morocco, I was (of course) inspired by the industriousness in the Moroccan bread bakery. It brought back memories of my first authentic Moroccan meal, sitting on a balcony overlooking the bustling Jemaa el-Fnaa in Marrakesh.

If you love Middle Eastern & Mediterranean food as much as I do, Yotam Ottolenghi’s cookbooks are an unbelievably wonderful resource:

Now For The Khobz Recipe…

This authentic Moroccan bread, called khobz, is a round, flattish bread with plenty of crust making it an ideal bread for dipping and scooping up tagines and salads.

Khobz 2014
Khobz – Moroccan Bread with Sesame Seeds

I found a wonderful recipe for Moroccan bread on the Culinary Anthropologist blog and have adjusted it slightly by using wholegrain spelt instead of wholemeal wheat flour. The bread is usually flavoured with anise seeds; however, I used fennel seeds instead which worked well.

Ingredients for 2 khobz loaves (enough for 6 people)

  • 325g strong white bread flour
  • 50g wholegrain spelt flour (use wholemeal wheat flour as an alternative)
  • 125g maize flour or fine polenta
  • 9g salt
  • 5g dried yeast
  • 350g tepid water (add slightly more if needed)
  • 2 tsps sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • Sesame seeds for the topping
  • Olive oil to grease the bowl and brush the bread

How to make khobz bread

  1. Combine the flours, salt, yeast and water in a large bowl.
  2. Knead for 10 minutes.
  3. Knead in the sesame and fennel seeds.
  4. Lightly grease the bowl with olive oil.
  5. Shape the dough into a ball, place in the bowl (moving it around to cover the dough with olive oil), then cover the bowl.
  6. Prove the dough for approx. 2 hours (depending on the temperature in the room; it should rise significantly).
  7. Divide the dough into 2 halves with a dough scraper and shape each part into a ball.
  8. Prepare a baking tray and line with baking paper.
  9. Place the dough balls onto the baking tray and flatten them with your hands to about 4 cm in height.
  10. Sprinkle the loaves with the sesame seeds and use your flat hand to carefully press them into the dough.
  11. Cover the loaves with a tea towel and leave for their second prove. This should take about an hour.
  12. 1/2 hour before baking, preheat the oven to 240°C.
  13. Just before baking, brush the loaves with olive oil and make a few incisions.
  14. Bake for approx. 30 mins.
  15. Cool on a wire rack.
Khobz close up 2014
Moroccan bread with maize flour and fennel seeds

Khobz is best eaten on the day of baking. We had it with this super-tasty lamb tagine, a recipe by Antony Worrall Thompson.

If you have any leftover khobz, try this spicy Moroccan bread salad recipe.

Enjoy!