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. Sarah says:

    I made this today and followed the instructions exactly. My version looked more appetizing than the one pictured here, but it still didn't taste very good (it was very dry and hard). I don't know why I keep wasting expensive gluten free flours on Shauna Ahern's recipes. They're almost always poorly written (she omitted instructions for the oats and they had to be added by an editor – how does this keep happening?!) and the results just aren't yummy.

    • kim says:

      I agree. I always go with someone else's recipe. These are never appetizing. I think she got popular because she uses big words, but I can't say she is a good writer because (as you stated) info is always missing. I do not understand why she is so popular besides her personality. But that does not make a good chef!

  2. This looks like I might want to try it but the milk confuses me. The difference between 2 and 4 cups is huge and what does "depending on your kitchen" mean? If you are going to post recipes with this huge of a variation and unclear descriptions of the desired result, please include a picture of the dough so we have a better chance of success making the recipe.

    Better, test the recipe enough to say for sure. I count about 3 cups of flours if you include the oats so it seems that 2 cups will be a little dry but 4 cups of liquid is obviously going to produce soup. If I can tell that by reading it, shouldn't Ms.Ahern be able to give us a more accurate measurement? Failing that, an explanation of why the huge range in quantity would be nice.

    I expected that your recipes would be more exact and useful. Not Cook's Illustrated exact, but better than this.

  3. […] recipe is on the Healthy Eats section of the Food Network website. They’ve asked us to develop some gluten-free recipes for them. We’re […]

  4. Ellabaker says:

    Gkutenfree girl i don't understand what you mean when you say you can simply substitute flour by weight. But, every type of gluten-free flour absorbs liquid at a different rate, has a different starch content and has different attributes, such as fat levels etc. Gluten- free flour can come from a grass grain, a nut or legume. So, the entire recipe may also need adjusting depending on what you are using – ie : leaveners, strengtheners and weakeners, liquids, etc. I do not understand how you can say that a baker can just switch any old flour in a recipe so easily as long as it is by weight – doesn't make sense.

  5. […] sandwich that I can’t wait to share! Not to mention I’m pretty sure I need to make this gluten-free Irish soda bread. Thanks to Kim C from Affairs of Living for the link and delicious description on […]

  6. mariposa lily says:

    Here is a chart to help convert from weights to volume measurements.

  7. JDG says:

    It seems like this author often posts erroneous or ambiguous recipes on sites designed for the average joe. Isn't there a better writer to solicit for gluten-free fare?

    • Guest says:

      I agree. Please find a professional who knows what they are doing, who can also post recipes that work This is embarrassing.

  8. Heather C says:

    For those looking for a dairy-free substitute for buttermilk:

  9. Jess says:

    I made this for a work potluck yesterday, and so far three of my co-workers have asked me for the recipe. They couldn't believe that it was gluten-free!

    I also used a kitchen scale instead of the cup measurements, and I really do think it makes a world of difference. I was a doubter when you first switched from cups to weight on your website, but using weight has really made my recipes so much more consistent. It has also made it easy to swap around flours so I can avoid things that trigger my corn allergy. Thanks so much!

  10. Meaghan says:

    I find it really disappointing that so many home cooks can't just use common sense to realize that sometimes you have to add more liquid, sometimes less, depending on your local climate, etc. Also, Irish soda bread is often a harder crusted bread, so I'm not sure what the one commenter was expecting…

    I've made several of Shauna's recipes, from her site and from her book, and have never had a problem. As someone who also watches what I eat, I find it really just comes across as whining to complain that someone else didn't do the work for you in a recipe in terms of counting calories. Look up the calories for the ingredients listed, add them, divide by the number of servings. If I only used recipes which calculated the calories, etc., for me I'd have a very dull repertoire of meals.

    I haven't made this yet, but will be giving it a go this weekend and can't wait to eat it.

    • Andromeda says:

      Presented without commentary:

      rec·i·pe, noun, ˈre-sə-(ˌ)pē

      Definition of RECIPE
      : prescription
      : a set of instructions for making something from various ingredients
      : a formula or procedure for doing or attaining something <a recipe for success>

      Examples of RECIPE

      The recipe calls for fresh thyme.
      I didn't read the recipe carefully.
      This is one of my grandmother's recipes.

      Origin of RECIPE
      Latin, take, imperative of recipere to take, receive — more at receive
      First Known Use: 1584

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