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

Ingredients:
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. Kelly says:

    Oats have gluten.

    • Lana says:

      No they do not, but they are often processed in facilities that also process wheat. hence them getting a bad rap. Bob's has a great gluten free version.

      Hope that helps you.

  2. Ocean says:

    I found the same thing as Karen. The texture was "off" and my loaf too got hard in less than a day.

  3. I made this on St Patricks Day and followed the directions as instructed. I needed only 2 cups of buttermilk (I used the Bavarian style) and in addition to the egg wash, sprinkled the top liberally with fleur de sel. I had nobtroubles with the bread and my family (who are not gf) loved it. I finished the last slice this morning for breakfast and it was still soft and moist which is a first for me. I truly think the scales make an enormous difference with gf baking, especially when you're dealing with breads. Btw, this is the first time I have used one of this bloggers recipes.

  4. Victoria says:

    I have to get a scale! I am dying to try this recipe as so many have posted positive results. We have a party every year for South Boston's St. Patricks Day Parade and with 3 out of 5 in the family with celiac, all are really missing the traditional Irish Bread in the morning to kick off the celebration.

  5. Lydia says:

    LOVED IT! Excellent bread. I measured by weights and used the flours listed. Note to bakers, be patient when adding the buttermilk and don't overdo it! I used all the buttermilk and my bread turned out a little wet. However it tasted wonderful and had an excellent crust. This was a wonderful part of our St. Patrick's Day Dinner. Thank you Shauna.

  6. Sarah Anne says:

    I made this for St. Patricks day and almost a week later it still tastes good. I halved the recipe since I don't really have anyone to share with right now, and I made my own buttermilk with milk and vinegar which seemed to work just fine. I think I actually enjoy the gluten free flours more than normal flours because they have a bit more hearty flavor.

  7. Kristen says:

    Use what works for you and yours. In our family, the oats must be GF-certified or we have to forego them entirely.

  8. Suzie says:

    I made this bread for St. Paddy's Day. I substituted the millet flour for potato flour and raisins for currants. I used my brand, spanking new scale! What a difference it makes using a scale vs. cup measurements!!! I should have trusted my instincts when adding the buttermilk. Instead, I was in a hurry and dumped in the 2 cups and found that it was too much. I think it had to do with the moisture in the flax seed, almond flour, consistency of the buttermilk and it was raining (humidity). I had to knead in a little more sweet rice flour since it was sticking in clumps to my hands. To be honest my family members were not that thrilled with the bread, but I loved it! I ate the whole loaf myself. =) I think you have to like Irish Soda bread to begin with. LOL I also find that I have to bake longer than the posted time, but I have a standard not-so-good household stove. Thank you for sharing your recipes Shauna!

  9. Lauren says:

    I have waited YEARS for a good GF soda bread! Leave it to Shauna and Danny! Yay!

  10. Andrea says:

    Thanks for the recipe Shauna! I made the it exactly as written, using about 2 1/2 cups of buttermilk. The bread spread a little bit, so I wonder if maybe next time I'll try 2 cups. The crust was awesome, very rustic, and the sweetness of the currants was a nice touch. I'll definitely return to this recipe!

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