Gluten-Free Girl’s Irish Soda Bread

by in Gluten-Free, March 14, 2011

gluten-free irish soda bread

Shauna James Ahern, better known as Gluten-Free Girl, is sharing her favorite gluten-free recipes with us! This week, an Irish classic: Soda bread.

St. Patrick’s Day is coming up. Everyone will be Irish for the day, dressed in green and hoping to not get pinched.

Most people think of corned beef and cabbage when they think of St. Patrick’s Day foods. It’s nice, no question. However, when I was in Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day, 10 years ago, I was shocked to find that no one ate corned beef and cabbage on that celebration day. No one.

Brown soda bread? That’s eaten all through the year and on St. Patrick’s Day, too.

Soda bread takes only a few moments to make. It requires no yeast, so no worrying that your yeast is old or your kitchen too hot. You simply throw some flours in a bowl, add rolled oats, baking soda and salt and stir in some buttermilk. Slide it into a hot oven and you have bread in under an hour. Crusty, warm bread.

And gluten-free? The crust is just as crackly, the crumb just as soft, the slices just as firm, and the bread just as delicious as the gluten version.

Gluten-Free Irish Soda Bread
Adapted from Colman Andrews’ The Country Cooking of Ireland

Butter for greasing
Sweet rice flour for flouring

150 grams (2/3 cup) almond flour
150 grams (3/4 cup) sorghum flour
100 grams (1/2 cup) sweet rice flour
50 grams (1/3 cup) teff flour
50 grams (1/4 cup) potato flour
10 grams (2 tablespoons) flax seed meal
80 grams rolled oats
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup currants
2 to 4 cups buttermilk
1 large egg plus 1 tablespoon water, mixed

Preheat the oven to 375.

Grease a baking sheet with butter, then dust it with sweet rice flour.

Mix together the almond flour, sorghum flour, sweet rice flour, teff flour and potato flour. Whisk them together to aerate and incorporate them. Mix in the flaxseed, oats, baking soda and salt. Toss in the currants and mix them into the flours.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the buttermilk. Add buttermilk, mixing, until the dough is moist and soft but not wet, with no visible flour left. You will probably use about 3 cups, but feel free to use less or more, depending on your kitchen.

Turn the dough out onto the baking sheet. With lightly floured hands, shape the dough into a round about 3 inches thick. Cut a deep cross into the top of the loaf with a wet, serrated knife. Brush on the egg wash evenly.

Bake until the crust is dark brown and you hear a hollow thump on the bottom when you tap it, about 45 to 60 minutes.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Shauna James Ahern blogs about living the (gluten-free) sweet life at Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef. Her new cookbook, Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef, is available in bookstores now.

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Comments (1,682)

  1. Kim Christensen says:

    I'll be swapping the almonds flour with homemade cashew flour (very finely ground cashews!), subbing the buttermilk with coconut milk, and swapping the potato starch with an equal weight of another GF flour. Can't wait to try it!

  2. Joan Dolan says:

    I thought if you have Celiac, you can't have oats.

    • BakerNelson says:

      Oats are naturally G free, however they are usually processed in the same facilities as glutinous grains. That said there are some gfree oats available out there bobs red mill is the largest producer that I know of, but they make both gfree and standard, so make sure to read the label

  3. MileHighSillyass says:

    Where's the molasses? Anyone out there tried this without the egg? Would you add more flax? Make a slurry?

    • Mrs Z says:

      I will put a little molasses anyways; can't beat that rich flavor. You can make a pseudo egg or
      Egg Substitute…
      Use Knox Gelatin as an egg substitute when making baked goods. 1 tsp. of unflavored gelatin mixed with 3 tbsp. cold water and 2 tbsp. hot water equals one egg. Do not mix until ready to add to recipe.

      IT WORKS; I use this all the time!

      Read more: Uses of Knox Gelatin |

    • kristen says:

      A flax slurry or a chia slurry should work great as an egg replacement here.

  4. Mrs Z says:

    Of course! We use it all the time. Just get the unsweetened kind.

  5. Mrs Z says:

    What is Teff flour?

    • Cheyenne says:

      Eragrostis tef, known as teff, taf (Amharic ጤፍ ṭēff, Tigrinya ጣፍ ṭaff), or khak shir (Persian: خاک شیر), is an annual grass, a species of lovegrass native to the northern Ethiopian Highlands of Northeast Africa.
      Common names include teff, lovegrass, annual bunch grass. Eragrostis tef has an attractive nutrition profile, being high in dietary fiber and iron and providing protein and calcium.[2] Some people consider it to have a sour taste. (This might be because it is often eaten fermented). It is similar to millet and quinoa in cooking, but the seed is much smaller, and cooks faster thus using less fuel.

      I would grind quinoa into flour and use that. We cook that in chicken broth with added carrots, onion and celery and it is very good as a side dish. Seeing Wikipedia is saying it is similar…
      We tried millet once and it made us all sick, nauseating flavor. Yuck.

  6. Sue Z says:

    Why do they not give a calorie count. I have to count my calories. But this really sounds good. As I like to make my own bread so that way I know what is in it.

  7. hoboy says:

    Buttermilk is "thick" but it's also acidic so maybe it's necessary to react with the baking soda? I don't know if almond milk would do the same or not.

    • Annika says:

      There's nothing in almond milk to react with the rising agents. You can substituted soured milk (milk with a little lemon juice) or yoghurt (which is also thick)… if you wanted to make it lactose free I'm not sure you would really have the same bread anymore. (And I have limited lactose intolerance though it never bothers me in baked goods like breads, muffins and cakes)…

  8. Pam T says:

    Oats themselves are gluten free but they are often processed in plants that process wheat — ergo, gluten-contaminated oats.

    Buttermilk is thick. Any substitution would need to be equally thick. However, you might check, the cultured buttermilk might be lactose free. It is quite different from "sweet" milk. However, if the buttermilk is created with the addition of an acid, it would contain lactose.

  9. GFLady says:

    I made this as directed… yeeeech. What a disappointment. I will NOT be serving this to anyone I love.

  10. Kate says:

    Why does this blogger always publish recipes with errors and omissions? I'm getting really tired of it, I must say. So unprofessional.

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