Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, it is said. To be honest, I was never a huge fan of breakfast. I was more of a brunch person, until I began my iffy relationship with eggs. Now that I am eating gluten-free, I am starting to like breakfast again, little by little. We don’t always have a huge breakfast, but this Sunday, for example, we did. (My husband said, this picture looks kind of as if we are having sushi. But we were obviously not. From right to left: grilled cheese, quark with fresh strawberries, nut corners – at the request of my husband, even though he didn’t eat them until later in the day; my husband’s coffee with cow’s milk. From right to left: fresh strawberries, fresh kiwi, my latte macchiato with vanilla soy milk)
One of the things people who eat gluten-free may miss the most in the mornings is freshly baked bread. During the three months after I received my celiac disease diagnosis, I ate mostly packaged bread. It was all right. Really, it was fine. But, eventually, I caved and tried myself at baking bread, because I missed holding a piece of bread in my hands that was still warm from the oven and there is not a single store in Cologne where I could have gone in order to satisfy that craving. And what can I say? I was amazed that I was doing such a great job. I immediately understood that baking bread at home for someone who eats gluten-free is absolutely worth the effort. It’s a huge difference in taste, texture and nutritional value. So I began baking my own bread on a regular basis and freezing the results. Eventually, that led to buying a grain mill, so I now make a lot of my own flour.
My repertoire of bread recipes has grown slowly since last summer and very steadily. I have a few favorites now and the recipe for ‘no knead’-bread ranks high among them. Never heard of ‘no-knead’-bread? Well, it became popular on the internet several years ago, because it’s a recipe that caters to the lazy and to those who enjoy a steady crust. If you’ve baked gluten-free breads before, you know it can be hard to get a nice and crunchy crust. But with this recipe, it’s not a problem. But don’t be fooled by the name, you will be doing a bit of kneading anyway and it will take you a little over 24 hours between activating your yeast and pulling the tin with your fresh buns out of the oven. But I promise: other than that, this is a no-fuss kind of recipe and you will absolutely adore the results! You may as well make a double recipe right from the start, as this bread will leaving you craving for more the minute you eat them up! I also suggest that you try this recipe with the flours that I suggest, because I have found that they are very delicious in combination.
Now, I have always been more of a bun rather than a slice of bread kind of girl, so I usually just bake buns instead of loaves. I absolutely recommend that you do the same (at least with a small portion of your dough). These breads are crunchy on the outside and full of doughy goodness on the inside, and I think it’s rather spectacular. Also, like any proper bread, this bread is vegan!
Roll on, breakfast!
No-Knead Bread and Buns
100g sorghum flour
75g buckwheat flour
75g teff flour
50g corn starch
200g gluten-free flour mix (I used one half bread flour from Ad Pan and one half Farine from Dr. Schaer)
1 tsp gluten-free agents (I use a mix of xanthan and guar gums, carob and arrowroot flour)
1 package active dry yeast (the original recipe calls for just half that amount, but I like the yeasty taste)
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp fleur de sel (or regular salt)
500 ml soda water (just above room temperature)
sun flower seeds or other seeds for garnishing (optional)
You also need one baking tin and a large casserole dish or a second baking tin.
(If you don’t have that many flours at home, you can simply combine 350g gluten-free flour mix of your choice with 150g of a darker flour of your choice, e.g. buckwheat, quinoa, teff, chestnut)
Pour your yeast into a large bowl, add the sugar. Pour the water over the yeast and sugar and begin stirring well with a whisk until the yeast has dissolved completely.
In another bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and mix well. Set aside about one very large heaped tablespoon worth of flour in another, smaller bowl. You will need it tomorrow to shape your buns or loaf of bread.
Now, pour the remainder of the flour on top of the water-sugar-yeast concoction and start to knead the ingredients into a dough. Yes, it will be very wet and very sticky, but keep kneading for about five minutes, ensuring your dough gets lots of air in the process. (If you have a kitchen machine, then this is a great moment to set it to work)
Then, wash and scrub your hands and let your dough rise in a warm and humid place for about 24 hours. Yes, that is correct. Your dough will be sitting around for an entire day! I usually let my dough rise beneath a kitchen towel that I have soaked in warm water. If I remember, then I will soak the kitchen towel in water once it has dried out, after about twelve hours. Ensure you are using a large enough bowl. You don’t want the dough to rise above the size of the bowl. Take it from someone who knows: it’s messy!
By now, 24 hours should have passed. Heat your oven to 275° C. Line a baking tin with baking parchment. Sift about half of the flour, the one you saved yesterday, onto your dough. With clean, dry hands and using the help of the layer of flour you created, take out a handful of dough and let it fall onto your baking parchment. Try to distribute the dough from the bottom up, creating a somewhat thicker/higher bun. Repeat with the rest of the dough until it has been used up and sift the remaining flour of the remainder of the dough, if you need. This recipe usually fills one oven tin for me. You can of course also just form a loaf of bread, but please remember that it will require a longer baking time. Now is also the time to add your sunflower seeds or other garnishing for the bread. Place your casserole dish or second baking tine over the buns or loaf of bread (upside down, of course) and put all of it into your oven.
Allow the buns to bake for about 20 minutes, the loaf of bread for about half an hour. Then take off either the casserole dish or the second baking tin and bake for another ten to fifteen minutes until the buns or loaves of bread are golden brown.Let cool the no-knead buns cool, and then transfer into a bread basked. If you want to freeze them, let them cool off completely before transferring them to a freezer bag. I enjoy eating these particularly with butter or a nice slice of cheese.