With St. Patrick’s Day just around the corner it seemed like the perfect time for some gluten free Irish soda bread. This one is a variation on the theme since the traditional Irish soda bread is a plain tasting, country style bread that doesn’t include currants, caraway seeds, eggs, butter, or sugar. (But don’t worry, I’ve given substitutions for nearly every one of those ingredients so you can switch the bread up as you like.) To be fair, Irish soda bread isn’t normally gluten free either. But then, there’s no reason those of us with celiac or gluten intolerance shouldn’t enjoy it too, is there? And this is the way I remember Irish soda bread – crusty on the outside while being moist, soft, and a bit chewy on the inside. Something I’ve really craved since having to go gluten free!. And because it’s so flavorful you can eat it on its own, or with your favorite St. Patrick’s Day feast. Or really any other time, for that matter.
Now for those substitutions: Some of these changes will affect the taste. (For example, if you choose to omit the caraway seeds or sugar it won’t be quite the same.)
1. If you don’t have currants, raisins will do.
2. If you don’t have caraway seeds or don’t care for them, you may omit them. But if you haven’t had them before, I urge you to give them a try.
3. You may substitute the egg with 1 Tablespoon chia seeds or ground flax seeds and 3 Tablespoons hot water. Stir and allow to form a gel before adding to the liquid ingredients.
4. The butter may be exchanged for a non-dairy butter.
5. The sugar may be cut back or excluded entirely.
6. The buttermilk may be exchanged for Greek yogurt or sour milk.
(To make a vegan buttermilk or sour milk measure 3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar or lemon juice into 1 3/4 cup unsweetened milk of your choosing – though I don’t recommend rice milk for this! Allow to sit for at least 5 minutes before adding to the liquid ingredients.)
I confess, it’s not very Irish of me, but the Greek yogurt is a really delicious substitution!
- GF flour mix - 3 cups
- baking powder - 2 teaspoons
- baking soda - 1 teaspoon
- coconut sugar (Sucanat, organic cane sugar or honey) - 1/3 cup OR 2 1/2 Tablespoons agave
- sea salt - 1/4 teaspoon
- xanthan gum or guar gum - 1 teaspoon
- currants or raisins - 3/4 cup
- caraway seeds - 2 teaspoons
- egg - 1 or 1/4 cup egg replacement
- buttermilk, sour milk or Greek yogurt - 1 3/4 cup
- butter or non-dairy butter - 1/2 cup (gently melted)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly spray or grease a cookie sheet.
Measure and stir together GF flour mix, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, xanthan gum, sea salt, currants, and caraway seeds.
In a separate bowl whisk the egg, gently melted butter and 1 1/2 cups of the buttermilk or sour milk. (Save a 1/4 cup of the buttermilk or sour milk to add later, if you need it.) If using Greek yogurt, add the whole 1 3/4 cup to the egg and butter.
Then add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until no dry bits remain. It will be thick and pretty sticky. If it's still dry and crumbly, go ahead and add the 1/4 cup milk remaining and work through the dough.
Dampen your hands with water and shape and press it into a sort of ball. (I do as much of this as I can while it's still in the bowl.)
Then scoop it onto the prepared cookie sheet and squeeze or knead slightly, making sure (one last time) that there are no dry bits remaining. Shape and pat it into a rounded, flattish disc (approximately 7"- 8" across). Now press the (floured) handle of a wooden spoon into the top of the dough, first one way, then the other (making a + sign). Sprinkle a touch of GF flour mix over the top.
Bake 30 - 40 minutes. When you rap on it, it should sound hollow and the toothpick should come out of the center clean. Oven temperatures may vary so be sure and keep an eye on it! Cool slightly, then slice and serve. It retains its texture best if eaten the same day.
Taitneamh a bhaint as an t-arán!
(Which, loosely translated from Gaelic, means: "Enjoy the bread!")
And I hope that you do! :)