It’s been a while… I had a very busy time! Work exploded on me (not literally, don’t worry, the lab still stands) , and I also got my US driver license! That makes me triple-licensed now.  I have been cooking and my dry-wipe recipe board (which is where I jot down proportions and spices as I invent dishes) is overflowing, it’s just been really hard to coordinate photo sessions with daylight hours. However, lo and behold, my new photography tent setup is now up and running – so I should be able to take pictures of food at any time of night and day. Don’t I feel like a fancy food blogger now, professional and all.

Enough of that though – time for the recipe. As always, there is a back story.  Baking is a highly valued skill in Poland, or at least it used to be when I was growing up, and the range of baked goods that land on Polish tables is astounding! Some of them are very complex and take days or weeks to prepare (my favourite, the poppy seed strudel, is a two day affair), others can be whipped up in minutes. The sweet bread I want to share with you today is an absolute staple that appears in literally every house for breakfast, desert or as an afternoon snack. I fell in love with it during scout camps at the Baltic Sea, when it was the most desired treat. To this day I remember the softness of the bread, the juiciness of the fruit and the sugary crumble… and, of course, the omnipresent sand. Ah, those were good times. There are three main versions of it: early spring with rhubarb, summer with strawberries, and autumn with plums. Here, I chose strawberries, but rhubarb is also low in FODMAPs so feel free to use it instead; or try something unorthodox and go for blueberries or raspberries!

Strawberry Bread with Sweet Crumble Top

(Yield: 1 pan, preparation: 40 minutes, total time: 4 hours, difficulty: medium)

  • 3 cups white rice flour
  • 1 cup vital gluten
  • 1 cup tapioca starch
  • pinch salt
  • 1 cup + 1 teaspoon brown sugar (packed)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 1/4 cups milk (almond milk works well, but any will do)
  • 1/2 tablespoon yeast
  • 12 oz strawberries, chopped

Crumble Top

  • 5 tablespoons of butter
  • 5 tablespoons of rice flour
  • 5 tablespoons of white sugar

Start by preparing the yeast base. Heat up 1/4 cup of milk with 1 teaspoon of sugar, make sure it’s warm but not hot (stick a clean finger in the liquid to test). Add yeast, mix well and let stand for a minute. Once the granules of yeast have dissolved into a paste, mix again till all clumps are gone. Leave in a warm place for 15-20 minutes, till the surface gets foamy and thick. This is what the base should look like when it’s ready:

 Base for yeast dough

In the meantime, prepare all the other ingredients other than those needed for the crumble. Having them at room temperature or slightly warmer will speed up the rising of the bread; I usually cheat by heating up my milk in the microwave. Begin with flours and salt – either sift them or whisk well. Since we’re adding gluten separately, this step is vital to avoid gummy clumps. Then, add the eggs, sugar and milk, and when ready, the yeast base. Mix well with your hand or the dough attachment of a food processor. Don’t worry if the dough seems runny, it’s supposed to just only hold together. If in serious doubt, add a little more flour, but not too much – if too dense, the bread won’t rise. Once all the ingredients are combined, grate the butter into the bowl and knead for s few minutes till the dough fells smooth and elastic. Cover the bowl with a clean cloth and leave in a warm place to rise till it doubles its volume, this will take anything from 1.5 to 2.5 hours. You can now prepare the crumble: quickly rub all three ingredients together till fully combined, form a ball, cover with cling film and leave in the fridge.

Once you’re ready to bake, gently tip the yeast dough into an oiled pan. Spread strawberries on top; if using frozen fruit, make sure to thaw it in a sieve prior to baking so that the liquid drips out. Finally, grate the crumble over the strawberries. Bake the bread at 360 degrees for 45 minutes, increase the temperature to 380 degrees and bake for a further 20 minutes, or until the crumble browns. When a stick inserted into the middle of the bread comes out dry, it’s ready. Enjoy warm or cold with milk, tea or coffee, and if you’re feeling hungry, cut it in half and spread with butter. To prevent overdrying, keep in a tightly sealed container.

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When your love for onion rings, whipped cream latté and apple pie has to surrender in the face of a gastrointestinal war... when the world becomes a bleak place, full of chicken soup and carrots... do not despair! There's more than one sweet fish in the sea, and your culinary adventures have only just begun. I hereby present you Squashablanca, the land of plenty for people following a low-sugar version of the low FODMAP diet. Enjoy your food!

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