It's the perfect time to bake a batch of gluten-free Irish soda bread!
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March is here, St. Patrick's Day is just around the corner, and my tea desperately needs a little something sweet. And this gluten-free Irish soda bread is just the right choice!
Soda bread is unique as it is a non-yeast bread. Baking soda and powder are what make it rise - hence the name. This gluten-free soda bread packs all of the flavors without any gluten! It goes perfectly with a cup of tea, a good book, and a warm spring day. With the addition of sweet raisins and nutty caraway seeds, it makes a wonderful breakfast, afternoon snack, or dessert.
What You'll Need to Make Irish Soda Bread:
-Gluten-Free Flour Blend: I prefer using Cup4Cup Multipurpose Blend. See notes in the next section for additional tips on this!
-Baking Soda: Just as the name suggests, and the rise agent in this bread instead of yeast.
-Baking Powder: Adding baking powder will help the bread rise even more due to the lack of gluten.
-Sugar: For sweetness. Duh.
-Salt: Only a pinch.
-Caraway Seeds: Nutty flavor - and they really come through in this recipe!
-Unsalted butter: Only a small amount, 3 Tablespoons, is needed for soda bread.
-Raisins: This will provide sweetness. We will soak them first, so they soften.
-Egg: 1 egg is needed in this recipe.
-Buttermilk: The ingredient that will bring the dough together and help it form into a loaf!
Top Tips For Making Soda Bread
I've made this Irish Soda Bread with success using Cup4Cup Multipurpose Blend (my preferred #1 choice) and Bob's Red Mill 1:1 Baking Flour. Both of these gluten-free flours are what I used to create my initial gluten-free breads eBook and I have had much success with them.
Remember that you need a blend of gluten-free flours to replicate all-purpose flour. Just using one gluten-free flour or grain, will not work.
I believe this recipe would also work well with other gluten-free flour blends or whichever is your favorite. See the recipe notes to adjust for the amount of liquid to make sure it comes out just right!
Measuring Gluten-Free Flour
Be sure to spoon your gluten-free flour into the measuring cup, and level off with the back of a knife for the most accurate results. Besides baking by weight, this will help you get the recipe right and prevent problems. Read this post for additional gluten-free baking tips!
Making it Dairy-Free:
I have also made this recipe dairy-free, but the dough will not rise as much and be a bit more squat. You'll need to use a dairy-free gluten-free flour blend (Cup4Cup contains milk powder), dairy-free butter, and homemade dairy-free buttermilk. I found the best results were to use ½ cup of whatever dairy-free milk you prefer + ½ cup of dairy-free plain yogurt. More information can be found in the recipe card below!
Add more buttermilk as needed
Depending on how you measure your flour, the flour blend you use, and your baking skills, the consistency of the dough can vary when mixing. That's why I recommend adding additional buttermilk as needed (¼ cup at at time), until the dough becomes wet and sticky to form into a ball. You'll find more information about this in the recipe card below.
Here's an idea of what the dough looks like when mixing (image on the left) and then after forming it into a ball and spreading buttermilk on top to bake (image on the right)
One thing to note about making Irish soda bread is that the dough is typically very sticky. But that's what makes it so much fun! I sometimes double this recipe and make two loaves, putting one in the freezer to have at a later date. Typically, Irish soda bread doesn't last long in our apartment.
Though I married into a family with the last name Fitzpatrick, I'm half Irish by birth. I can even trace my family back to the house where my great-great-grandfather was born in Dublin. I made this soda bread with my Dad when I was a child, so being able to continue making it in gluten-free form as an adult is so special.
Planning a trip to Ireland? Check out this amazing two week itinerary to the Emerald Isle.
More Gluten-Free Baking Recipes
Feel like an easy quickbread? This banana bread with walnuts hits the spot.
Looking for a savory baking recipe? Bake scones with bacon, cheddar, and chives.
Want to practice your pie making skills? Check out this gluten-free peach pie with lattice design.
Ready to take your baking skills to the next level? Try these delightful, buttery, and flaky gluten-free croissants.
Here's my family's Irish Soda Bread recipe - gluten-free and scrumptious!
If you love this recipe, please leave a comment! Thank you so much!
Gluten-Free Irish Soda Bread Recipe
- 3 cups gluten-free flour like Cup4Cup, plus more to coat your hands
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoon white sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon caraway seeds
- 3 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
- 6 tablespoon raisins plumped (instructions below)
- 1 egg
- 1 cup buttermilk (or more)
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil or butter, to grease the pan
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease an 8x8 or 9x9 round cake pan with coconut oil or butter and set aside.
Place raisins in a small bowl, and cover with warm water for fifteen minutes. After they have soaked, drain the raisins and set them aside.
In a large bowl, add the gluten-free flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and caraway seeds. Whisk to combine. Slowly cut in butter, using a pastry cutter or your hands, until the butter is pea-sized. Add drained raisins, then slowly add the egg, and lastly, buttermilk and combine with a large spoon. At this point, the dough should be wet and sticky. If you find that it is dry, add ¼ cup of additional buttermilk until everything comes together into a ball easily, with no flour remnants on the bottom of the bowl.
Coat your hands with gluten-free flour (trust me) and mix the dough by hand until blended and formed into a ball. Once formed into a ball, place in a greased cake pan. Rinse your hands off - that dough is sticky!
Next, using a pastry brush, brush the top with more buttermilk until coated on all sides. Using a knife, make an X in the dough across the middle, to allow for steam to escape.
Bake for 60 minutes. The bread should be perfectly golden brown. Remove from pan and cool completely on a baking rack. Cover with foil when not eating.
Be sure to use a 1:1 gluten-free flour blend to substitute for all-purpose flour. I have had success with Cup4Cup flour and Bob's Red Mill 1:1 Baking Flour (blue bag). Please note that the dough should be wet and sticky. If it isn't (and it might not be based on the flour you use) add an additional ¼ cup of buttermilk as needed until everything is moist and sticky.
Once you add the wet ingredients, the dough is very sticky, but that's what makes this recipe so much fun! Kids will love it as it lets them get their hands dirty. Have a sink nearby and a towel, too, but be sure to coat your hands with flour when you start mixing.
I did test this recipe to be both gluten and dairy-free, using Bob's Red Mill 1:1 Baking Flour, dairy-free butter from Earth Balance, and homemade dairy-free buttermilk. For 1 cup of buttermilk, use ½ cup of whatever dairy-free milk you prefer + ½ cup of dairy-free plain yogurt. Overall, the dairy-free soda bread did not rise as much - it was a lot more squat and flat than the dairy-filled version. But the taste was still great!
Irish soda bread will keep for 3-4 days at room temperature. It will harden as time goes on, so feel free to pop in the microwave for 10 seconds to soften. Put on a small pat of butter and melt it on there...so good! Enjoy!
Nutrition InformationYield 6 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 377Total Fat 10gSaturated Fat 6gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 3gCholesterol 48mgSodium 643mgCarbohydrates 63gFiber 2gSugar 12gProtein 9g
The nutrition information on each recipe card is provided as a courtesy and for your convenience. The data is calculated by Nutritionix. You are encouraged to make your own calculations based on your ingredients and preferred nutritional facts calculator. While I try to make sure they are accurate, I cannot guarantee the accuracy of these calculations.
Have you ever tried Irish soda bread?
Does your family make anything special for St. Patrick's Day?
Leave me a comment with your favorite Irish meals below!