One diet I often get asked to cater for at Melanya Mountain Retreat is gluten free. It is becoming widely known that our bodies find it hard to process certain foods and the glue that holds them together is often the culprit. Gluten is a protein that helps our favourite breads and pastries stay in their risen state when baked, but it is also widely used in processed foods such as cereals, pasta, sauces & soups. Many manufactured foods now have gluten free labels but I prefer to make everything from scratch so all my dishes are organic and full of high quality nutrition.
Gluten is mainly found in flour products made from wheat, barley & rye and it is very difficult to make bread without these staple ingredients. There are plenty of grains that do not contain gluten like corn, oats, rice, quinoa & potato but they don’t make bread like we’re used to. I’ve tried many recipes for gluten free bread and after many attempts, I found it was much easier to stop trying to replicate bread and instead treat gluten free breads in their own class.
My favourite is the following cornbread recipe. Remember this won’t be like a spreadable slice of bread for a sandwich, but instead a tasty snack to accompany a salad or warmed up with dots of marmite. I like to jazz it up and give the batter a nutty flavour with 2 tbsp tahini (sesame paste). You can also experiment by flavouring with herbs and spices when you add the dry ingredients.
100g butter or 50g coconut oil
300ml Ayran (buttermilk) or 200ml plain yogurt and 100ml water
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Put 25g of butter or 12g coconut oil in a heavy based pan 25cm wide, cover and put in oven to heat up with it.
Melt the rest of the butter/oil separately.
Measure out Ayran or whisk the yogurt with the water until no lumps remain.
Beat in 1 egg.
Add the melted butter/oil and stir well.
Measure the dry ingredients into another bowl and mix.
Pour in the liquid and whisk until smooth.
Pour the batter into the hot greased pan and return to oven, uncovered.
Bake for 20 minutes or edges start to brown.
Remove to cool and rest 10-30 minutes before cutting into wedges and serving.
Cornbread can be refrigerated for 4 days.