Gluten-Free Irish Soda Bread Recipe

Gluten free Irish soda bread with raisins also known as Spotted Dog bread
Tender, delicious gluten-free soda bread.

As with anything in life, you get a little, you lose a little.


I just wish Mother Nature would reverse the getting and losing when it comes to life post-menopause, Darling. I'm losing on top where I've never been particularly gifted, if you know what I mean. I buy bras in the teen section because the only adult bras that fit me are those pull-over-your-head uniboob running bras and Ladies, come on. These tight little torturers (once you squeeze into them, which could take a good seven minutes; I timed it once) are, shall we say, less than inspiring. If you're over a certain age and so is your husband, you know what I'm talking about. Edit: Darling I just discovered Coobie bras (there is a goddess!).

So I'm losing oomph there and I'm gaining in the new mid-section of me I like to call Doris because it somehow seems appropriate. These love handles deserve a name, after all. A retro name like Kitty or Patty or Madge. Because they're evidently not intent upon leaving. They insist they're here to stay.

So since Doris won't go away, I try to coax her to skedaddle by eating lots of lettuce. And a rice cake or two. I tell myself, Bunny food rocks! But I lose even more of my boobs when I eat this way.

And Doris still sticks around.

Which brings me to bread. (What midriff conversation doesn't?) In this case, Irish soda bread. Yep. The classic, yeast-free quick bread. I'm not gonna give up a bread this delicious. Even for Doris. I'll just have to run up and down the block. A lot. In between taking iPhotos with my iPhone. That's my plan anyway.

That should work, right?



Irish Soda Bread Love


For bakers using wheat, Irish soda bread is one of the easiest no-fuss breads to throw together. The gluten in the wheat works its magic to bind the quick-rising dough without yeast. But if gluten is no longer in the equation, creating a tender loaf of Irish soda bread is a tad more complicated. Gluten-free quick breads can be crumbly and dry. Especially if you use the old school white rice flour and starch combo.

Lucky for us, we have several newer alternative flours to choose from. Millet, sorghum, buckwheat, coconut, brown rice, and quinoa flours have better taste, more protein, and a superior texture than the old school stand-by white rice flour.

What do I have against white rice flour? It might simply boil down to personal taste. After baking gluten-free for awhile, one develops personal preferences. I don't like the cooked rice taste, or texture, that rice flour imparts. Ditto for bean flour which tastes vaguely metallic. (And I don't care how much protein and how few carbs a raw bean has, okay?)

So I experiment and tweak my recipes. I try a new flour combination and entertain intuition. I start thinking about how a recipe crumbles a bit, so I add some honey because honey is a humectant. And Hello! The bread bakes up tender and moist (agave does the same thing, by the way).

This whole process of gluten-free baking is a process.

And as an artist, I cultivate a deep affection for process. So even though I have a perfectly acceptable gluten-free Irish Soda Bread recipe on the blog, and a nifty new school Gypsy Soda Bread recipe, I felt the need to try again this week and experiment with a new formula. And I came up with a slightly sweet and tender loaf that is rice-free and vegan. No eggs. No milk. And guess what? 

It's better than better. It's scrumptious.

My husband declared it his favorite gluten-free bread to date (as he chowed down on a wedge of this soda bread grilled in a dab of olive oil). So why do I tweak recipes? Why do I make it complicated? Why add a touch of honey when I already use sugar? Why do I add millet when I have sorghum?

This is why.

Because there's always room for improvement in gluten-free baking. Recipes aren't precious. They're not written in stone like a commandment. A recipe is more like a poem. Set to music. And the music?

Jazz, baby.


Gluten-Free Irish Soda Bread
Crusty Irish soda bread- gluten-free goodness.


Gluten-Free Irish Soda Bread Recipe

Original recipe posted March 2009.

This soda bread sports a mildly sweet and complex flavor. The potato starch gives it tenderness, moisture and lift. If you don't like the taste of caraway, try a touch of finely grated orange peel. Make sure your source of millet flour is truly gluten-free. See here.

Ingredients:

1 cup gluten-free millet flour or certified GF oat flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup potato starch (not potato flour)
2 tablespoons raw sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
5 tablespoons Earth Balance Stick, or Spectrum Naturals Organic Shortening
3/4 cup plain non-dairy milk with 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
2 free range organic eggs or Ener-G Foods Egg Replacer
1 tablespoon honey or raw agave nectar
1 to 3 teaspoons caraway seeds, to taste (or use grated orange peel zest)
1 cup currants or raisins

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375ºF. Lightly grease an 8-9 inch round cake pan and dust it with gluten-free flour.

Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Cut in the shortening with a whisk, fork or pastry cutter.

Whisk the wet ingredients together in a separate bowl.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the non-dairy milk, beaten eggs and honey, gently mixing as you go. I use a soft silicone or rubber spatula to do this. If you need a little more non-dairy milk to moisten the dough, add a tablespoon at a time and stir in.

When the dough is evenly moist- like sticky biscuit batter, add the caraway and raisins. Stir only briefly to mix them in.

Scrape and spoon out the dough into the prepared cake pan; and use wet hands to flatten and smooth the dough into a round loaf.

Using a sharp knife, slice a criss-cross into the dough and wiggle it a bit from side to side to make a wider dent. [According to Irish folklore, the criss-cross discourages the mischievous fairies from messing with your humble loaf of bread. In case you were wondering.]

Place the pan into the center of a preheated oven. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the loaf is golden and crusty and sounds hollow when thumped. Insert a wooden toothpick into the center to test for doneness.

Cool on a wire rack for five minutes; and turn the loaf out of the pan to cool to room temperature on the rack.

This sweet and tender bread is fabulous warm from the oven, even if it tends to crumble a bit. It gets a bit sturdier as it cools.

Cook time: 30 min

Yield: 8 servings



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Recipe Source: glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com

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GFG Notes:

We freeze our leftover slices (wrapped in foil and bagged), then reheat the thawed pieces in a warm iron skillet with a drizzle of light olive oil. Don't tell your mother- we were licking our fingers.

Find more Irish recipes here- for St. Patrick's Day or any day you feel like celebrating the Celtic spirit.



xox Karina