This hearty, flavorful gluten free Irish soda bread is perfect served with any meal, but especially around St. Patrick’s Day.
I remember the first time I made soda bread, right after Gabe and I got married and I was new to gluten free baking. It was a bit of a disaster.
And honestly, I’m not sure how I messed it up so bad, because this is one of the easiest gluten free breads you’ll ever make!
The process for making it is similar to our gluten-free, yeast-free sandwich bread, which has served so many families with yeast allergies so well throughout the years. But the texture with this soda bread is denser, with a nice thick, crunchy crust. Perfect – as I mentioned – for serving with soup!
A note about ingredients
There’s a tradition of putting raisins, currants, and/or caraway seeds in Irish soda bread. I actually love adding raisins depending on what I’m serving it with, but the fact is, you can add – or not add – anything you want. It’s up to you!
Most of the time, we make plain ol’ bread, because it goes with everything, and that’s pretty fantastic too.
The main ingredients for your bread are milk or buttermilk, egg, baking soda, gluten free flour mix, guar gum, brown sugar, salt, and butter.
When it comes to gluten-free flour blend, remember that quality is key. I’m all for inexpensive gluten free flour, but inexpensive doesn’t mean junk. Making your own mix is usually key to an inexpensive, but high quality product.
I’ve gone through many flour mix ingredients phases. One of my favorite was using roasted corn flour, mixed with brown rice four. Unfortunately, roasted corn flour is harder to find now.
What I’m using a lot of today is Judee’s gluten free flours, such as quinoa flour, Ivory teff flour (in small quantities), and super fine brown rice flour with arrowroot powder, tapioca flour, or cornstarch from Bob’s Red Mill.
You can use your favorite flours to achieve the flavor and texture you want, or you a pre-mixed flour such as King Arthur’s gluten free baking mix, or Pamela’s gluten free baking mix. Do be sure to omit the extra guar gum in this recipe if you do use a pre-mix.
Tips for making gluten free Irish soda bread
- Use a food processor to cut in your butter. I find a pastry cutter to be tedious and time consuming. Instead, combine your dry ingredients in the food process, add butter, but into chunks, and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Once that’s done, dump it back into a mixing bowl, and proceed as normal.
- Use pans lined with parchment paper. This virtually guarantees nothing sticks to your baking sheet, and makes clean up super easy
- Slice the cross-cut in the top of the bread with a sharp knife. We all know what happens when we use dull knives.
You can use unsalted butter, salted butter, or even vegan butter in this easy gluten-free Irish soda bread
- Using dairy-free milk however is a bit more tricky. Almond milk is great in baking, but you may need to adjust the quantity. Start with 3/4 of a cup, and add a bit at time as needed for the dough to come together.
Gluten-Free Irish Soda Bread Recipe
Irish Soda Bread is delicious- here’s a great gluten-free option for your family.
- 1 cup buttermilk or 1 cup milk mixed with 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 extra large egg
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 2/3 cups gluten-free flour mix
- 1 teaspoon guar gum (omit if using a mix that already contains guar or xanthan gum)
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar or honey
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup currants or raisins (optional)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons caraway seeds (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- Whisk buttermilk and egg together in a medium mixing bowl.
- Add baking soda and set aside to let the baking soda start to work.
- Add the flour blend, guar gum, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse several times to combine. Add butter and process until it’s the size of small peas. (of course, you can also do this using a pastry blender or fork.)
- Transfer the flour mixture to a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour and add the wet ingredients, stirring just until combined. Make sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl well while stirring.
- If using optional add-ins such as currants or caraway seeds, mix those in now
- Scrape dough onto parchment-lined baking sheet, and use a rubber spatula to shape dough into a dome. Lightly dust the top of the loaf with flour, and use a sharp knife to slice a very shallow cross shape into the top
- Place in center of oven.
- Turn the oven down to 375F. Rotate the bread 180 degrees halfway through the baking time. If it browns too quickly, cover it with aluminum foil.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the bread has baked through.
- Let cool on a wire rack before serving.
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