Irish Soda Bread Buns (yeast free)

from Gluten free Girl  www.glutenfreegirl.com , originally adapted from Smitten Kitchen

20 ounces gluten-free flours (I used equal parts almond flour, super-fine brown rice flour, millet flour, sweet rice flour, and potato starch)
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 teaspoon guar gum
2 ½  ounces (¼ cup) sugar
1 ½  teaspoons baking soda
1 ½  teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter (4 softened, 1 melted)
1 ¼  cups buttermilk or 1 ¼ cup rice/soy/almond milk with a splash of white vinegar added
2 eggs
1 cup dried fruit (Turkish apricots, but currants are traditional)

Preparing to bake. Preheat the oven to 400°. If you have a baking stone, make sure it’s in the oven. Pull that scale out of the drawer.

Combining the dry ingredients. Mix the gluten-free flours you are using, the sugar, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt in a food processor. (Of course, if you don’t have one, just use a whisk. Mixing the flours together makes a big difference in the baking.) When the flours have become one color, you’re done.

Mixing in the butter. Drop the softened butter into the mixed flours and pulse the food processor a few times until the mixture resembles coarse meal. (Again, you can do this in a large bowl as well, with a pastry blender or your fingers.)

Making the dough. At this point, if you have been using a food processor, dump the flours into a large bowl. Make a well in the center. Combine the buttermilk and eggs. Pour the liquids liquid into the well and stir them together with a rubber spatula. When the dough is cohesive but still shaggy, stop.

Baking the buns. Now, at this point, if you are more precise than I am, you will cut the shaggy dough into 8 even pieces and roll each one of them into a ball. Or, you might like small rolls instead of mini loaves. In that case, go for 16 pieces here.

If you have a baking stone, put the buns directly onto the baking stone. They will bake beautifully here. If you don’t have a baking stone (and we did not before last week), put the buns onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (or Silpat) and slide it into the oven.

After about 5 minutes of baking, open the oven door. The wet dough will be hardened enough for you to slash a slice (or cut a cross) across the top of each roll. If you wish, you can also spread a bit of melted butter on the top of each roll. Close the oven door and keep baking.

The length of time it takes to bake these will depend on how big the rolls are. Softball size takes about about 20 minutes. Can you insert a skewer or toothpick into the center of the roll and have it come out clean? Are the tops nicely browned? Then you’re done.

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