I have spent more time than I care to admit trying to produce a bread that is gluten-free, fat-free, sugar-free, and vegan, and passes muster. It’s exhausting. The problem lies in expecting a gluten-free, fat-free, sugar-free, vegan loaf of bread to taste like breads made with wheat. It is hardly a fair expectation. Why should bread made with completely different ingredients taste the same? I have the same expectation when making vegan cheese, and yet there is no logical reason that cheese made from plants, nuts or seeds should taste the same as cheese from made from animal milk. But that’s a post for another day.
In light of that, I am changing my gluten-free bread expectations. Gluten free bread doesn’t have to taste the same as bread made with wheat, or even be close – it just has to taste good. Period.
Now that that’s decided, I have come up with a recipe for flatbread that yields a bread with superior taste and texture to all others I’ve tried, meets the above criteria, and best of all, comes with a method or preparation that is straight forward and easy. And like most gluten free breads, this herbed flatbread is especially good toasted. Give it a go and let me know what you think!
The recipe is an adaptation of one for focaccia by glutenfreespinner (here). My revised recipe contains no oil or eggs, and replaces the agave with homemade date syrup. To avoid using oil to grease the pan, I lined the bottom of the baking sheet with parchment paper and this worked quite well. I did rub a little coconut oil on the bottom of the pan so that the parchment paper would stick, but there was no oil added to the recipe itself. (The next time I make this, I am going to try baking the bread without using parchment paper at all. I’ll let you know how that works out).
This herbed flatbread won’t brown as nicely as the focaccia bread appeared to in the photos on the glutenfreespinner website, which is likely due to the oil being removed, but the taste is nice and the texture is toothsome without being dense and heavy. I think it is a perfect bread for sopping up the juices in this lentil dish.
- 1 cup sorghum flour
- 1/2 cup tapioca starch
- 2 tsp. xanthan gum
- 1 tbsp. rapid-rise yeast
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1 cup water
- 2 tbsp. date syrup*
- 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp. ground chia seeds, mixed with 6 tbsp. water
- 2 tbsp white sesame seeds
- dried oregano
- dried thyme
- dried sage
Mix the dry ingredients together in the bowl of an standing mixer.
Mix the wet ingredients together separately in a small bowl and add to the dry ingredients. Pulse the mixture a few times with the paddle attachment in the standing mixer to avoid the flour from flying, and then mix the dough on medium-high speed for about 3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl if necessary to make sure the mixture is well combined.
Line the bottom of an 9 X 12-inch brownie pan or 10 X 15-inch baking sheet with parchment paper. You may grease the bottom of the pan to help the parchment adhere to the pan – this makes it easier to spread out the dough later.
Scrape the dough onto the prepared pan and spread evenly over the entire surface using an offset spatula. Sprinkle the top generously with sesame seeds, dried oregano, dried thyme, dried sage, salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Let the dough rest in a warm place for 35-40 minutes. (I placed the baking sheet with the dough in the oven with the light turned on).
Once the dough has risen to about double it’s original size, remove the baking sheet from the oven and heat the oven to 400 F. Bake the dough in the oven for 12-15 minutes. Leave the bread in the pan to cool for about 30 minutes before removing. Carefully peel away the parchment from the sides.
Slice and eat! The bread is soft and pliable and freezes well too, so it can be made ahead, sliced into individual portions or left whole before freezing.
*I make my own date syrup, which is considerably more mild and lighter in colour than commercial varieties. If you are using a store-bought date syrup, you may need to decrease the quantity stated in this recipe.