Gluten-Free Gypsy Soda Bread

Gluten free soda bread recipe
Gluten-free soda bread, gypsy style.

By the time I attended art school and launched into life on my own I had moved ten times and attended nine different schools in four different states. Not all that unusual, I imagine, for many Americans. And for those of us with nomadic ancestry it simply feels natural to do so, to gather up and move in sync with the wheel of the seasons, aligned with winged migrations and turning stars.

I have always kept a gypsy heart, even when it wasn't easy. Even when I let her out only in my deepest dreams, inside a brushstroke, or as I stirred a makeshift dough with one of my young sons, improvising ingredients on a budget so small every dollar bill mattered.


I am Scott-Irish, Polish, and Lithuanian. Or so I'd been told. New genealogical evidence suggests my maternal grandmother may have hid our true heritage all her life. What I have uncovered: her mother Josefa left Krakow for Philadelphia at the tender age of twenty, traveling alone in steerage with nothing but a suitcase, speaking only Yiddish and Polish. It was the turn of a new century. Imagine what she must have felt embarking on such a journey, solo. I wish I had known her.

And I wish I had more than just imaginings and intuition about this crazy gypsy heritage of mine. This stew of Ashkenazic Jewish and Scott-Irish. People used to packing up. Starting over. Making bread from a few scratch ingredients.

Today I made a version of my favorite pre-celiac soda bread, incorporating two grains of the native New World, corn and sorghum, and savoring yet another eclectic improvisation that was grainy, tender and without pretense.

So I named it after my gypsy heart.


An open road and the urge for goin'.

Gypsy Soda Bread Recipe


This simple rustic bread uses one of my favorite gluten-free baking mixes- Pamela's Ultimate Baking and Pancake Mix. If you have a different favorite gluten-free baking and pancake mix with leavening, feel free to use it instead.

Dry ingredients:

2/3 cup Pamela's Ultimate Baking Mix - or other self-rising GF baking mix
1/2 cup Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Cornmeal- or almond meal if you avoid corn
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon xanthan gum

Wet Ingredients:

3/4 cup buttermilk or plain non-dairy milk with 1 teaspoon lemon juice added
2 large free-range organic eggs- room temperature- or Ener-G Egg Replacer 
4 tablespoons light olive oil

Stir In:

1 rounded teaspoon caraway or anise seeds, to taste
1/2 cup golden raisins, dried cherries, dates, or currants

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Lightly oil a 7 or 8-inch cake pan and dust it with cornmeal (or almond meal).

Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.

Whisk the wet ingredients together in a separate bowl.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and slowly pour the wet into the dry ingredients, gently mixing as you go [I use a soft silicone or rubber spatula]. When the dough is evenly moist, add the caraway and raisins. Stir only briefly to mix them in.

Scrape and spoon out the dough into the prepared cake pan; and using moist palms, flatten and shape the dough into a round loaf. Sprinkle with a very light dusting of cornmeal or gluten-free flour.

Place the pan into the center of a preheated oven. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the loaf is golden and crusty. Insert a wooden toothpick into the center if you like, to test for doneness. It should feel firm and "thump" as if it is hollow when you tap it.

Cool on a wire rack for ten minutes; and turn the loaf out of the pan to cool to room temperature - although it's best warm and tender from the oven, I think, even if it crumbles a bit.

Serves 8.

Recipe Source: glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com

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Gypsy Notes:

Soda breads are definitely best eaten the day they are baked. Slice and freeze leftovers for grilling in butter or use leftovers to make a bread pudding.
For a more traditional Irish Soda Bread try this dairy-free soda bread recipe.
Using egg replacer will usually create a denser loaf.