Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Gluten free vegan crispbread

Crispbreads have many uses, to shovel delicious dips, act as a platform for cheese, or to tuck into a box to take to work with some salad for lunch. All the gluten-free crispbreads I have tried seemed more reminiscent of packing material than food (admittedly what I remember of glutened crispbread wasn't usually much more inspiring).

Here is an easy to handle, thin, crisp, elegant crispbread. It takes a quite a long time to make as it is a slow fermented sourdough style crispbread, but it doesn't matter much how long you leave each of the stages. I have also made it using a gluten free sourdough started culture by Sekowa, which gave a powerful tang to the finished crispbread. This method uses ordinary bakers yeast (gf of course)


100g urid lentil flour

¼ tsp yeast

120 ml water

60g quinoa flour (I wash the whole grain, dry it in an oven, then grind it. This takes away the rather acrid taste it can have)

100g polenta/cornmeal

30g tapioca gel

optional – salt, sugar or other flavourings

Note on ingredients:

You can vary the flours to suit your taste and availability. I use Urid for its elasticity and binding qualities as well as the protein. Quinoa is a complete protein so it is good to include this in baked goods if you like it/have it/ aren’t intolerant to it. A complete protein is one that provides all the essential amino acids in the single food. Cornmeal makes things crisp, so I include it in baked goods where I want a good crunch.

Tapioca gel: made with 100ml water and 10g tapioca flour. Stir flour into cold water then cook until clear. Store in fridge in a jar and use as egg white. Wash the saucepan and utensils thoroughly with cold water before putting in the dishwasher or into hot water. This will make your cleaning much easier.


Whisk the urid lentil flour and yeast into the water. Leave to sit for several hours to begin fermentation. Add in flavourings if used, and then beat in the tapioca gel. Add the rest of the flours and knead together until it forms a coherent ball. Shape into small balls (I like about 13g balls) and roll out very thin. Dust your work surface and rolling pin thoroughly with tapioca starch or other smooth flour.

Place on baking sheets and leave in a warm humid place to rise until you can see a few shallow bubbles forming. You can bake straight away if you are in a hurry.

I keep these in the oven with a tray of hot water in the base, or in my stacking cooling racks with a wet cloth over the whole lot. If you let them get too dry they will rise less.

Bake for about 8 minutes in a 180C oven. Keep an eye on them. As they are so thin they go from needing a bit more time to burnt really fast and I have wasted several batches before learning to treat the task the way I would boiling milk.

Take them out of the oven and let them cool. If they need longer to make them crisp put them back in the oven for a couple of minutes. If you just think it will be fine to finish off by leaving them in the cooling oven they will probably over-cook and burn.

Exercise control. These will keep you going quite a while and it is worth getting them right. Also, I haven’t found a single good use for burnt crispbread – perhaps they would do as kindling….


If you want a pumpkin or other seed crispbread, take a teaspoonful of your tapioca gel (yes, it really is worth making it) and dilute it with a bit of hot water so that you can paint the crispbreads with a thin layer before baking. Sprinkle seeds on crispbreads and press lightly. These will now stick in the oven and in the storage container. If you don’t do that they won’t stay. Sticking them on this way also seems to stop them burning before the crispbread is cooked.

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