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Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Irish Soda Bread (Gluten Free & Standard) Recipe

Around 18 months ago I decided, for medical reasons, to change to a gluten free diet.  However, I was unprepared for the expense and the total lack of quality and taste in the ready made products.

Naturally, being a cooking from scratch addict, I have been making my own gluten free food, but had been struggling with finding or creating a really nice gluten free Irish soda bread recipe, that doesn't fall apart when you look at it.

But miracles do happen, and yesterday I made a delicious Irish soda cake/bread, which stayed in one piece when I cut it !  It even looks real !
Gluten Free Irish Soda Bread - fresh from the oven
Irish Soda Bread Recipe

includes instructions for both gluten free and normal options


(I made this bread using American 'cups', which do make for a quick and easy measuring method !  This was because I used 3 recipes from various places, to base my recipe on, all of which were in US cups)

2 cups     Doves Farm gluten free plain flour  (or ordinary plain flour if you are                     not gluten free)
3 tblsp    Butter
1 cup       Buttermilk
2 tblsp    Buttermilk - extra  (exchange this for 1 med free range egg for a richer                     loaf)
1/4 cup   Caster sugar
1/4 cup   Xanthan gum - gluten free  (omit if you aren't using gluten free flour)
1/4 tsp    Sea salt
1 tsp         Baking powder - gluten free  (normal if you aren't gluten free)
1 1/2 tsp  Baking soda


1.    Pre-heat the oven to 200C or 400F.

2.   Flour the base of a cookie sheet, or similar flat baking sheet or tray.

3.   Put the flour (gluten free or otherwise) in to a mixing bowl, then add the xanthan gum, salt, baking powder and baking soda.  Stir it to mix all these dry ingredients evenly.

4.   Using an electric mixer with the cake beaters (not the bread/dough hooks), mix the butter and sugar together, until it is light and fluffy (probably at least a couple of mins).  This can also be done by hand in a mixing bowl.

5.   Gradually add the flour mixture, a bit at a time, whilst adding small amounts of buttermilk at the same time. Mix well in between the adding of the mix.  Use all the flour mix and all the buttermilk, including the extra 2 tablespoons.
If you would like an extra rich Irish soda bread / cake, then exchange the 2 extra tablespoons of buttermilk for a medium free range beaten egg.  Add it in to the mixture the same way as the buttermilk, with the flour mix.

6.   Sprinkle a small amount of extra flour onto a clean work surface.

7.   Lift the bread mixture carefully from the bowl, trying to keep it in one lump or 'ball'.  Place in onto the floured work surface.

8.   Knead the bread just a few times, maybe 5 or 6, certainly no more.  Do this very gently.

9.   Shape the bread dough in to a circle shape, then pat it down gently to around 1.5 inches high (that's about 4cm).

10.  Using a floured knife, cut a cross into the top of the bread, going about half an inch deep.  This allows it to 'open up' and cook in the centre evenly.  And it looks cute !

11.  Place the baking sheet with the uncooked loaf into the middle of the pre heated oven.  

12.  Cook at 200C (400F) for 6 or 7 mins and then reduce the oven temperature to 175C (350F) for a further 25 minutes, or until it sounds hollow when tapped.

13.  Allow to cool before slicing, otherwise the slices will crumble and break.  Once cool, my loaf when sliced didn't crumble or break at all, which is a miracle for gluten free bread of any kind !

14.  The loaf I made is pictured above.  It kept really well for about 2 days, at which point I had eaten it all.

And if you want to try out some other Irish traditional recipes, 'The Best of Irish Breads and Baking' has a lovely collection.  The author, Georgina Campbell, is known here for great recipes.
Click here to see pages from 'The Best of Irish Breads and Baking: Traditional, Contemporary and Festive' by Georgina Campbell

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