Fantastic foccacia

breadI’ve never been a great maker of gluten free bread. My efforts are usually doughy, lumpen affairs. But this recipe from Phil Vickery, which kept me busy in the kitchen and away from the snow yesterday, is amazingly easy. The result was probably the best bread I’ve ever made. It was even eminently edible the following day. The combination of soft roasted garlic, pungent rosemary and crunchy salt lifts this into something special. If you’re looking after your health, I’d go easy on the salt.

Taken from, ‘Seriously Good! Gluten-free Baking’ by Phil Vickery.  Published by Kyle Cathie Ltd in association with Coeliac UK, priced £19.99. Photography: Tara Fisher

This recipe took seven attempts to get right – I wanted to achieve a light and spongy texture and good flavour. As you will see, there is no salt in the mix, I find this tends to weaken the protein structure, giving you less of a risen bread. I tend to stick to adding granular rock or sea salt to the top of the bread along with olive oil, rosemary and garlic cloves. I like to include vitamin C powder in this recipe, as I’ve found it really helps improve the structure of the bread. It is widely available from chemists

Storing

In the cupboard: The bread will keep for 1 day in an airtight container.

In the freezer: Yes, once cooled and wrapped well.

Ingredients
  • 1 Drop of vegetable oil – for greasing
  • 2 sachets (7g) easy-blend dried yeast
  • 500 ml (17.6fl oz) Warm water
  • 2 tsp Caster sugar
  • 500 g (17.6oz) Gluten-Free bread mix (Phil has is own blend for bread but I just used Dove’s Farm white bread mix )
  • 1 tsp Xanthan gum
  • 2 tsp Baking powder
  • 1 tsp Vitamin C powder
  • 2 Egg whites
  • 10 Garlic cloves, halved
  • 4 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Sea salt
  • 4 Sprigs fresh rosemary

Instructions

  1. Oil a 3.5cm deep 30cm non-stick pizza pan. Whisk the yeast, water and sugar together well, then cover and leave in a warm place for 15 minutes to activate. Meanwhile, place the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder and vitamin C powder into a bowl and mix well.
  2. When the yeast is frothy, whisk the egg whites until foamy. Pour the yeast mixture over the flour and add the whisked egg white and bring together. Mix well, but do not over-mix. Spoon into the oiled pizza tray, cover lightly with clingfilm and press down lightly with your hands. Remove the clingfilm. Press the halved garlic cloves into the dough and re-cover with a fresh piece of clingfilm. Leave to prove in a warm place for 15-20 minutes, or until just doubled in height.
  3. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 220°C/gas mark 7.
  4. Once the dough has risen, carefully remove the clingfilm, spoon over the oil and sprinkle over the salt and rosemary. Bake for 15 minutes or until well browned.
  5. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Slice into wedges to serve.

What do you think?