Garlic Za’atar Irish Soda Bread {vegan, GF}Ah, the smell of fresh, home baked bread! Is there anything quite like it? That irresistible scent wafting through the air, filling the nostrils with warmth and causing the mouth to drool in anticipation of a thick slice or two, smeared with peanut butter and jam. The memories tumble together of a time long past… an old cast iron wood fired stove… how my mother taught me to knead bread… “Dig the heels of your palms in and then fold…” “Dig and fold, dig and fold…” Almost everything I learned about baking I learned from her.

Garlic Za’atar Irish Soda Bread {vegan, GF}Garlic Za’atar Irish Soda Bread {vegan, GF}Garlic Za’atar Irish Soda Bread {vegan, GF}

Mum lived by the phrase, “waste not, want not” and in the heat and humidity of the tropics, taught me how to kill the weevils that were so often discovered in the flour barrel. Burn a candle in there, and they die for lack of oxygen. She taught me how to have a laugh when things didn’t turn out like you planned. I remember ditching bread rolls (‘rocks’, she called them) into the nearby lagoon when a batch didn’t rise as they should have. We had a competition to see how far we could throw them. My brother won, of course.

Garlic Za’atar Irish Soda Bread {vegan, GF}Garlic Za’atar Irish Soda Bread {vegan, GF}Garlic Za’atar Irish Soda Bread {vegan, GF}

She taught me among other things, that food is the language of love. Making good food was part of how she loved her family; everything made from scratch. So now of course, this is how I cook. Everything made from scratch, with a generous helping of love. And also, if I’m honest, with a pinch of curiosity. I was curious to see how a gluten-free soda bread would turn out. It turned out a lot better than I expected, so now I get to share it with you. It smells wonderful, tastes good, and is almost as good as what Mum used to make.

Garlic Za’atar Irish Soda Bread {vegan, GF}Garlic Za’atar Irish Soda Bread {vegan, GF}Garlic Za’atar Irish Soda Bread {vegan, GF}

Garlic Za’atar Irish Soda Bread {vegan, GF}
A savoury version of Irish Soda Bread, filled and flavoured with a classic Middle Eastern spice mix!

Makes 1 loaf

½ – ¾ cup milk, dairy or non-dairy (not skim)
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 cup white rice flour
1 cup tapioca starch
½ cup potato starch
½ cup sweet (glutinous) rice flour
½ cup almond flour
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons xanthan gum* (see Notes)
1 teaspoon bicarb (baking) soda
½ teaspoon salt
100g (½ cup/ 8 Tbs) cold butter or non-dairy alternative
226g (8 oz or 1 cup) plain coconut yoghurt

50g non-dairy margarine, extra
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 – 4 tablespoons za’atar
Black and white sesame seeds, to decorate

Preheat oven to 200C/400F° and place pizza stone on the middle rack of oven. Lightly spray a loaf tin (base measures 8 x 18 cm) with cooking oil and set aside.

In a small bowl, add apple cider vinegar to ½ cup of milk and set aside to curdle. If it is necessary to add more milk to the dough later, simply add additional un-curdled milk.

In a large bowl, sift together the flours, starch, baking powder, bicarb (baking) soda, and salt.

Using a pastry cutter (or your fingers), cut the cold margarine into the bowl with the flour mixture until a fine pebbly meal is made. Add yogurt, curdled milk, and mix with a butter knife until a sticky dough is formed. If the dough is dry or at all crumbly, add more milk (up to ¼ cup) and mix until the dough holds together well and resembles scone dough – sticky, thick and slightly wet.

Scoop dough onto a lightly floured bench, and gently gather into a ball. Place onto a large piece of baking paper and press out into a large rectangle shape, approximately 20 x 25 cm.

Melt extra butter and add the crushed garlic. Brush the dough all over with melted garlic butter and then sprinkle liberally with za’atar. Beginning with long side closest to you, and using the baking paper to help, roll dough away from yourself, as tight as you can. When you reach the other side, pick up and press in gently from both ends to make it fit better in your loaf tin. Place in lined tin, press down lightly to flatten, brush with more garlic butter and sprinkle with black and white sesame seeds.

Bake until golden brown and a toothpick or skewer inserted into the centre down to the bottom comes out clean, about 50 minutes. If the top begins to brown too quickly, cover loosely with a piece of aluminium foil.

Once fully cooked, transfer to a wire rack to cool before slicing.

Adapted from GFJules and Life after Wheat

*You can sub the first four flours and starches with your favourite GF flour blend. If your flour blend contains xanthan gum, leave that out also.

One thought on “Garlic Za’atar Irish Soda Bread {vegan, GF}”

  1. Hi Ali, thankyou for the snippet I didn’t realize that about Lorraine……’ve certainly carried on the tradition !!
    I’m glad she showed you how to get rid of the weavils

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