Last week on the Great British Bake Off was bread week, which means that this week as part of the bake-along I need to something that remotely resembles bread.
I have been dreaded bread week, because, as any gluten-free person will tell you, gluten-free bread is a bit of a mine-field.
It is impossible to produce gluten-free bread that exactly mimics wheat based bread without the aid of a chemistry set and a whole load of chemicals that you don’t want to eat. There has to be a few compromises along the way and I am happy to make them in the name of nutrition.
Still . . .
Bread week sent me into a mini panic. What was I going to make?!
I decided I wouldn’t panic properly until the program had ended, because you never know, inspiration may strike in the 60 minutes spent watching people wrestling with slimy dough and managing whilst in a fluster to remember to use an oven cloth to remove the scalding hot things from the oven (which is something I have failed to do in the past. But we’ve all done it, right? Attempted to grab the hot tray out of the oven with our bare hands whilst in a hurry and promptly melted our finger prints off. No? Just me? Moving on . . .)
The contestants had to produce rye rolls (uh-uh), a ciabatta (another uh-uh) and a show-stopping bread centre piece (???!).
It was during this last challenge that I had my epiphany.
I had been mulling over the idea of corn bread and then I thought “why not add some things into it?”
So that is what I have done.
It’s hardly a show-stopping centre piece, but it will elicit approving sounds from those that eat it and is sure to win you brownie points if produced from a tupperware on a late summer picnic.
I’ve borrowed Kate’s flavour combination and added olives, a shed load of coriander and some feta cubes to the cornbread – the saltiness of the olives and feta works well with the natural sweetness of the corn and the coriander fades into the background and provides a subtle underlying flavour.
In addition I soaked the flours for 18 hours before hand. Soaking them allows them to ferment slightly which gives a much lighter bake and also breaks down the anti-nutrients in the flours, therefore making them more easily digestible (which is perfect for those of us with sensitive tummies). I could go on about the benefits of soaking flours (I almost always soak everything overnight now, ever since day two at River Cottage), but I won’t. It is entirely up to you whether you decide to soak or not. One of the other benefits of soaking is that half the work is done the day before so it doesn’t feel like such a mammoth task when it comes to the final assembly and baking. But as I said, up to you. I’ve provided instructions for both.
Feta, Olive & Coriander Corn Bread
- 3/4 cup fine cornmeal
- 3/4 cup masa harina
- 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
- 1 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk, or other milk of your choice
- 30ml honey
- 45ml butter, melted
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 120g feta, cut into small cubes
- 70g olives, sliced
- 28g fresh coriander, chopped
If you are soaking the flours then you will also need another 1/2 cup of milk and the juice of a lemon.
- If soaking: place the cornmeal, masa harina and buckwheat flours in a bowl. Add the milk (including the extra 1/2 cup) and the lemon juice. Stir until completely mixed then cover the bowl with cling-film. Leave at room temperature for a minimum of 12 hours and a maximum of 24 hours (but don’t worry if you are slightly under or over).
- Pre-heat the oven to 200 Celsius / 180 Fan / 400 Fahrenheit. Grease a 8″ x 8″ non-stick pan with butter.
- If you haven’t soaked the flours, mix them with the milk in a medium-sized bowl.
- Combine the honey and melted butter in a small bowl.
- Add the salt, baking powder and egg to the flour mixture and stir until just combined.
- Add the honey and butter and stir in.
- Add the feta, olives and coriander (keep some of the olives and feta to scatter on the top), mix to distribute and then pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Scatter over the reserved olives and feta.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown around the edges and a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre.
- Leave to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool further.
- Can be eaten warm or cold. Store in an airtight container.
© The Pink Rose Bakery 2014