For sharing: GF DF and vegan-ready

by David Whitehouse

My starting point for this recipe came from helping Dan at an Easter hot cross buns bakeday he ran for the Mumsnet website though it may surprise you to read that the recipe used there contained wheat flour, milk, butter and egg!

However, one of the enthusiastic and friendly posters who joined us on the day, known to us simply as MayOnnaise and based in Basel, Switzerland, gave a link to her recipe for a gluten free hot cross loaf, which she posted here and here

GF baking is often seen as a rather specialised niche, but our friend Alex is a coeliac and Dan and I both enjoy making things she can share. However, I also have a definite tendency towards tweaking and adapting recipes, and with Easter almost over for this year, my first thought was to make this into an “all year round” GF fruited bread. I also wanted to incorporate some of the baking ideas other Mumsnetters had suggested, firstly with chopped dried apricots and ground ginger, and then to increase the fragrance by soaking the fruit overnight in Earl Grey tea to introduce that citrus-bergamot aroma.

I also wanted to give the dough more structure by including psyllium husk, which Dan used so successfully in his GF white bread recipe so that you could, if you wanted, shape it into individual buns, rather than a single loaf; and finally, I thought that as I’d gone this far in making a “sharing” loaf suited to special diets, maybe I could also make it Dairy Free and even easily adapted for Vegan bakers. So MayOnnaise, if you’re reading this, my thanks for the inspiration and I trust you won’t be too disturbed by the liberties I’ve taken with your original recipe!

Gluten free, dairy free, vegan-ready fruited bread

150g dried fruit (I used 75g whole currants and 75g chopped dried apricots)
a pot of freshly-made Earl Grey tea
1 7g packet dried yeast
1 tsp soft brown sugar
75ml warm water
500g GF flour mix (see below)
¾ tsp salt
zest of ½ an orange
2 tsp cinnamon
3 tsp ground ginger
50g soft brown sugar
1 egg (or for vegan baking, use a vegan egg replacer)
25ml sunflower oil (and a little more for brushing)
15ml lemon juice
100ml soya milk (and a little more for brushing)
175ml warm water

Place the dried fruit in a bowl, pour the hot Earl Grey tea over the fruit and leave overnight, then drain thoroughly. Line a 26cm long loaf tin with baking parchment.

Mix the yeast, 1 tsp sugar and 75ml water in a bowl and leave for 10-15 minutes. In a larger bowl, mix the flour, salt, orange zest, spices and 50g sugar; whisk the egg, 25ml oil and lemon juice together, and add to the flour along with the drained fruit, yeast mixture and 100ml soya milk and combine, gradually adding the final 175ml water in stages, so that the starch has time to soak it up. Form the smooth sticky dough into a neat ball shape and leave for 30 minutes.

Then place the dough on the worktop, pat out into an 20cm square, and roll up tightly towards you, keeping the ends neatly tucked in.

Place the dough into the loaf tin, patting it down gently with the flat of your hand; carefully balance the tin across a bowl filled with boiling water, cover with a clean tea-towel, and leave to rise for an hour or until increased in size by 50%.

Preheat oven to 210ºC. With a very sharp blade, slash the dough lengthways then brush the surface sparingly with a little soya milk, put straight into the oven, and bake for 45-50 minutes. When the loaf is removed from the oven, brush the top with a little sunflower oil, cover with a tea-towel and leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.

Home made Gluten free flour mix:

Gluten free flours suitable for baking are quite widely available, but if you don’t have access to them, or would prefer to make your own from separate ingredients, this is the recipe I have been using:

Ingredient %age To make 500g Function
Psyllium husk 5% 25g Provides structure,holds moisture in

the crumb

Cornflour (cornstarch) 43% 215g Bulk starch, lowcost
Rice flour 30% 150g Gives a lighter,softer texture to

the crumb

Potato starch 12% 60g Makes dough cohesive,reduces cracking during

baking

Soya flour 10% 50g Adds colour andbackground

flavour

Total: 100% 500g