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Gluten-Free Irish Soda Bread: Spotted Dog (and tips on baking gluten-free)

Gluten free and dairy free Irish soda bread with raisins
This Spotted Dog Irish bread is yeast-free and gluten-free.

The Mother of Invention


If I call this new gluten-free bread an Irish soda bread, traditionalists will snicker. Raisins are not at all traditional in an Irish soda bread, you see. If a soda bread has raisins in it, it's called Spotted Dog over yonder, cross the pond in the Emerald Isle (or so I'm told). I never knew this, growing up on the white clapboard wilds of the Connecticut shore. I was blithely ignorant of this quaint canine moniker, despite a hefty streak of familial Irish blood (we ate more pierogi and kielbasa than Irish soda bread and tea). And out on my own- when I started baking my tender little eighteen year old heart out- my Irish soda bread had raisins.

And why not?

When it comes to traditions, I'm the first to admit- I am an upstart. I wiggle and chafe beneath constraint and "should" like an itchy school girl with pinching new shoes. I admire traditions. From afar. At least, in theory. In an abstract, symbolic way. The meaning and the message is more interesting to me than formula. When it comes to formula, I usually prefer to wing it.

Which is why I enjoy gluten-free baking.

My skill set groove runs deep on the intuitive side.

I bake like I paint. Observing. Listening. Responding to what is in front of me. If a recipe calls for x amount of flour and I sense the dough is too wet, I'll add more flour until the dough feels "right" to me. Experience helps. No doubt about it. The process of trial and error gives you a feel for gluten-free dough, an inkling about the muffin batter and how it might behave on any given day. Which varies, I hate to tell you.

So I pay attention to elements like humidity, and room temperature. Weather.

Bread dough will behave differently on a hot and humid day than it will on a windy, cold one. Your kitchen changes with the seasons, you know. So recipes may have to change a wee bit, too. The amount of milk or brown rice flour may need to be adjusted. Tweaked a tiny bit toward wet or dry.

Baking gluten-free is more of an art than a science.

I recommend you tune in to your ingredients and learn how they behave. Learn how humidity affects flour- notice it's dampness. Or dryness. Dry flours will soak up more liquid. Damp flours are heavier, and may need less moisture. A cool and drafty kitchen may require a longer rise time than a hot and sultry one. A thin metal bread pan may bake the outside of a loaf faster than the inside can keep up. Your oven may run a tad hotter than you imagined. Or lag behind and never quite pre-heat itself (do your gluten-free baked goods end up gummy in the center?).

Gluten-free baking requires your full attention. A dash of patience. An intimacy with your ingredients. A willingness to adjust. And most of all, developing an intuition you can trust.

Even if it goes against tradition.




Gluten free Spotted Dog soda bread is an Irish classic with a twist
Gluten-free Spotted Dog- an Irish bread with a twist.


Karina's Gluten-Free Irish Soda Bread Recipe- with Spots

Tweaked from my original recipe posted in 2011-- by Karina Allrich. 

Use your favorite milk, or non-dairy milk- but note that non-traditional coconut milk and a touch of coconut flour add a subtle fragrant tenderness to this easy, rustic quick bread. If you cannot use coconut due to allergies, try your usual milk choice, and substitute the coconut flour with sweet rice flour.

Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Line a 7-inch or 8-inch cake pan with a piece of parchment paper.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup brown rice flour or gluten-free oat flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour, gluten-free oat flour, or millet flour
1/2 cup almond or hazelnut flour
1/2 cup tapioca starch or potato starch (not potato flour!)
1/4 cup organic coconut flour
1/4 cup organic light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 teaspoons double acting baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum
3 organic free-range eggs or egg replacer
6 tablespoons light olive oil
3/4 cup coconut milk, soy milk or non-dairy milk
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 to 3/4 cup currants (or raisins)

Instructions:

Whisk the flours and dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.

Combine the wet ingredients together in a separate bowl.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and slowly pour the wet into the dry ingredients, gently mixing as you go. I use a soft silicone or rubber spatula to do this. If you need a little more coconut milk to moisten the dough, add a tablespoon at a time and stir in.

When the dough is evenly moist and sticky, add the raisins and stir by hand to mix them in.

Scrape out the dough and plop it into the center of the lined cake pan. Use oiled or wet hands to mound the dough into a rustic round loaf. Dot with extra raisins, if you like and press them in a bit.

Slice a smallish criss-cross into the center of the dough.

Place the pan into the center of a preheated oven. Bake for about 30 to 33 minutes, until the loaf is golden and firm. Insert a wooden toothpick into the center to test for doneness.


Gluten free Irish Soda Bread with new flours
Sweet and tender gluten-free "Spotted Dog" soda bread with tea.



Cool the pan on a wire rack for five minutes, then turn the loaf out of the pan to continue cooling (you don't want a steamy bottom!).

Serve slightly warm with your favorite buttery spread and some fruity jam.

Recipe Notes:

Rustic soda breads are really best eaten warm from the oven. This latest version is tender and slightly sweet- perfect for tea time. 
If you have leftovers, I would wrap and freeze the remaining bread to preserve the texture and taste. Thaw and warm it up in the oven or grill slices with a pat of butter.

This recipe is gluten-free and dairy-free. 
To make it vegan, use your favorite egg replacer equivalent to 3 beaten eggs- about 6 tablespoons of liquid. See below for a link to my vegan Irish Soda Bread with Millet.


Cook time: 30 minutes

Yield: 8 to 10 slices

Recipe Source: glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com

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Gluten free Irish soda bread
Warm slices of Irish soda bread with raisins.

More gluten-free Irish soda bread recipes:


My vegan Irish Soda Bread with Millet
My Orange Scented Soda Bread
Elana's Pantry Gluten-Free Irish Soda Bread
Simply Sugar and Gluten Free Irish Soda Bread
Gluten Freedom does up one of my earlier Irish Soda Bread recipes...


For substitution help, please see my guide to baking with substitutions here.

xox Karina