15 September 2009

Socca – wheat-free living part 1

Well, it took many weeks to get his heart into it, but Rod’s first foray into wheat-free baking has been a success. As I mentioned, we prefer to seek out recipes that never contained any wheat to begin with, since they taste better and don’t have that unsatisfying “not quite right” effect. (For the most part, Jack and I are joining Rod in being wheat-free at home…except where the gluten free alternative is super expensive. Then Jack and I use the wheat original.)

His first experiment was with socca, a chickpea bread from the Mediterranean – specifically Nice and Marseille, although it is popular under other names all around the region. It is generally considered “street food” and is perfect for snacking, and because it is mainly legumes, it is VERY satisfying. It takes far less than one would suppose to feel nice and sated.

The one Rod started with is a rosemary socca with fresh-ground black pepper, and it was marvelous! Another recipe suggests that it’s lovely with a little cumin, instead – and I think it would be tasty with just about any warm herb. Be warned, though, that the fresh-ground pepper makes it very spicy. That’s good, as long as you’re not feeding any delicate pallets (like Jack’s) but you might want to use less pepper, or the stuff that comes pre-ground and stale if you prefer less heat.

Now Rod is considering adding things like sun-dried tomatoes and olives and cheese and making a “not a pizza” from it, to have as a lunch or fancy snack. I think it will be wonderful!

I was interested to note that socca may have originally been made from corn, and that variants can be made from any number of flours, so this may become a base for a lot of experiments over the next few months! (I may have him give lentil flour a try and see what happens, sometime when he feels he’s perfected the original recipe.)

Anyway, here’s the basic recipe:

1 cup chickpea flour
1 Cup room temperature water
1/4 cup virgin olive oil, divided into two portions
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
fresh or dried warm herbs

1/2 teaspoon baking powder (this is not a traditional ingredient)

Sift the chickpea flour into a large mixing bowl. (You really do want to sift it.)
Add salt, pepper, and baking powder (if you use it).
Pour in the water, whisking to eliminate lumps.
Stir in half the olive oil and whisk the batter for a minute or two until a runny dough has formed.
Add the herbs and any other ingredients
Cover and set aside overnight.
Preheat oven to very hot (220C-240C or 430F-470F),
Heat a dry, round 50cm (20 inch) pizza stone or clay baking tray for about 5 minutes.
Remove the pizza stone from the oven and spread the remaining oil evenly over it.
Pour in the batter, spread it thinly.
Immediately bake it for 8-10 minutes, until bread is firm and starting to brown.

Remove the socca from the oven, lightly brush the top with olive oil and put it under a hot broiler for about a minute, until the top turns a golden color and there are a few slightly burnt tips.

Slice and serve hot.

Oh, and I wanted to mentioned Gluten free girl – Shauna’s web site comes very highly recommended and by description seems to have much the same approach to food as we do – fresh, wholesome and tasty are the priorities. I haven’t had time to check it out carefully yet, but I figured I’d share anyway.


  1. That sounds awesome!!

    If you're looking for breads that never had any wheat in them, you might be interested in Brazilian "pao de queijo". It's made from tapioca, which doesn't sounds promising, but it turns out warm and yummy.

    Another one is dosas, from India.

  2. That sounds like some wonderful bread. Mind if I share the recipe with my Nourishing Traditions class?

  3. Valerie, thanks for the tip! I'm hunting now! ;)

    Gina, please do -- though, of course, it's not our recipe. :p (yet)


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