Gluten Free Irish Soda Bread is a no fuss, no yeast bread with a golden crust and crumbly crumb. This quick bread which originates from Ireland uses baking soda as the main leavener to help the dough rise.
Without going into too much detail about my personal life (I know you would rather be baking!), I’ll quickly say that I am married to an Irishman so taking on a traditional Irish bread that he’s been eating his whole life was mildly intimating. After years of recipe development and many loaves that just didn’t make the cut. I kept going until I could say without a doubt that this IS the best gluten free Irish soda bread recipe. Taste tested and approved by a certified Irishman.
It is the EASIEST gluten free bread you will ever bake and this is why it is the first bread recipe for Module One: Gluten Free Breads of the Kira Bakes Gluten Free Pastry School.
What makes this THE BEST Gluten-Free Irish Soda Bread Recipe
- This Gluten Free Irish Soda Bread has a dark golden crunchy outer crust and slices beautifully. The interior is soft with a tight crumb.
- It is one of the EASIEST things you will ever bake in your life.
- Because this is a no yeast bread recipe, there is no proofing, so this bread comes together in less than 1 hour!
- It’s perfect served alongside dinner or toasted for breakfast with a generous spread of soft butter or berry jam.
Gluten Free Irish Soda Bread Quick Facts:
Difficulty Level: Beginner
Type of Bread: Quick Bread or Non-Yeasted Dough
Baker’s Percentage: 95% – technically soda bread is closer to a biscuit than bread as there’s no water and contains chemical leaveners. Nonetheless I wanted to include it still as its helpful to understand the role that hydration plays across all the bread recipes in module one. For example, when comparing the Baker’s Percentage for this gluten free Irish soda bread recipe, which is 95%, to the Gluten Free Sandwich Bread recipe which 112%. Immediately we already know that the soda bread is going to be a much denser, heartier bread compared to the Gluten Free Sandwich Bread. If you are looking to get into recipe development or just want to experiment more in the kitchen with gluten free breads. One of the first steps is understanding and knowing how to play with the hydration percentage in your recipe.
Starch Percentage: 18%
Lets get baking! (Step-by-Step Instructions)
Mis en Place
Going back to the Kira Bakes Gluten Free Pastry Principals, this is always our first step when baking as it not only helps ensure accuracy during the mixing process, but it also makes the whole baking process a lot more relaxing and enjoyable. It’s a win/win!
If I’ve said it 100 times, I’ll say it again. Measuring ingredients by weight not volume is the magic sauce to gluten free baking! I always do my best to provide the cup (volume) measurements where possible. If you are going to measure by volume, click this link for tips on the correct way to measure by volume.
Scale the following ingredients
175g Brown Rice Flour (can substitute for sorghum or millet flour)
125g Oat Flour (make sure its certified gluten free)
75g White Rice Flour
50g Potato Starch (can substitute for corn starch)
30g Tapioca Starch
1 tbsp Psyllium husk (coarsely ground. If you only have psyllium powder reduce volume to 2 tsp)
1 tsp Xanthan gum
1 tsp Kosher salt (can substitute for ½ tsp table salt)
2 tsp Granulated sugar
1 tsp Baking soda
1 ½ tsp Baking powder
1 tbsp Honey
80g Sour cream
1 Whole Egg (US large)
2 tbsp Whole milk or heavy cream (for glazing)
1-2 tsp Olive oil (for shaping)
Prepare the equipment
- Preheat oven to 450F
- Large cast-iron skillet or half sheet pan
- Sheet of Parchment Paper
- Large mixing bowl
- Large liquid measuring jug or medium mixing bowl
- Small bowl
- Plastic or metal bench scraper
- Pastry brush
- Sharpe knife
Stage 1: combine dry ingredients.
In a large mixing bowl, combine all the gluten free flours and starches (brown rice flour, oat flour, white rice flour, potato starch and tapioca starch). Whisk together.
To the flour bowl, add xanthan gum, psyllium husk, baking soda, baking powder, salt and sugar. Whisk every together. Set the bowl aside.
Stage 2: combine wet ingredients.
In a large measuring jug or medium bowl, add the buttermilk.
- If you don’t happen to have buttermilk you can use 325ml Whole Milk and add 3-4 tablespoons of white vinegar or lemon juice. Stir and let sit for 5-10 min.
To the buttermilk, add the honey, whole egg and sour cream. Whisk until smooth.
Stage 3: combine dry and wet ingredients.
Pour the wet mixture into the bowl with all the dry ingredients. Using a fork, begin to stir in short, sharp strokes moving from the outer edge of the bowl in towards the middle. Keep stirring until the dough comes together ensuring not to overmix. The dough will look slightly shaggy and lumpy still.
Q&A: What happens if you overmix the dough? If the dough becomes overworked the bread will be heavy and have a dense crumb. Irish Soda Bread is very similar to biscuit dough and benefits from being slightly undermixed.
Tip the dough out onto a sheet of parchment and using your hands, push the dough together and shape it into a rough round about 6 inches long and 3 inches thick. The key here is that you don’t want to knead the dough as we are doing our best not to overmix it.
YES CHEF! Quick Tip: If the dough is too sticky during the shaping process, you can rub some olive oil over your palms to help shape the loaf.
Use oven mitts to remove the heated cast-iron skillet or baking sheet from the oven. Carefully lift up the parchment sheet with the dough and place it on the hot pan.
Using a sharp knife, slice a deep cross over the top of the dough. These slices help reduce the baking time and promotes an even bake.
Using a pastry brush, lightly coat the outside of the loaf with whole milk or heavy cream. The milk helps create a golden colour and tenderises the crust as it bakes.
Fun Fact on Irish Tradition: for good luck, it is Irish tradition to poke a small hole in each corner of the dough to let the fairies (mischief) out.
Using oven mitts, place the hot cast-iron skillet (or baking sheet) in the oven. Turn the oven down to 400F and bake for approx. 45-50min.
When fully baked, the bread should be deep amber brown all over and if you tip the bread upside down and tap on the bottom, it will be firm and sound somewhat hollow.
Cooling and Staling
Unlike most gluten free breads, you can actually eat this gluten free Irish soda bread warm from the oven. Note that I said warm, not hot. The Irish soda bread does still require 20-30 minutes of rest outside of the oven. This allows some of the moisture to evaporate, leaving a crumb that is soft instead of gummy. After 20-30 minutes the bread will still be warm inside and ready to enjoy.
Personally, I find that this Gluten Free Irish Soda Bread is best served once it has cooled and rested for about 2 hours.
If you know you will be eating the bread the same day it is baked, you can store unsliced Gluten Free Irish Soda Bread out on the counter with a dry tea-towel covering it or inside a paper bag.
Once it’s sliced, if it will be eaten with 1 day, simply store is cut side down on a wood chopping board or plate.
To keep it fresh longer, wrap it in foil and keep at room temperature for 1-3 days.
You can freeze Gluten Free Irish Soda Bread by wrapping it in cling film, then placing it in a Ziplock bag for up to 1 month. Let the loaf defrost slowly before warming in in a hot oven for 10-15 minutes to refresh it.
Gluten-Free Irish Soda Bread Q&A
Question: Can I use a gluten-free flour blend?
Yes you can. Keeping in mind that results will vary depending on which gluten free flour blend you use. If you want to know more about gluten free flour blends, Gluten Free on a Shoestring is a really great resource and she has written multiple articles on the subject.
Traditional Irish Soda Bread gets so much of its flavour from the combination of whole wheat flour and oats. I would therefore suggest keeping the 125g of oat flour as this is integral to the flavour of Irish soda bread but replace the rice flours and starches with 230g of your chosen gluten free flour blend. If the flour blend already contains xanthan gum then you can omit this from your recipe.
Question: Can I add dried fruit or herbs?
Definitely! For dried fruit you can add up to 130-150g or 2/3-3/4 cup. For fresh chopped herbs, such as rosemary, sage, thyme, chives, and parsley. Add approx. 2 tablespoons.
Question: Can I make this dairy free or vegan?
It’s possible, but I haven’t experimented with this variation. I don’t tend to bake dairy-free or vegan, so I would always recommend seeking out recipe developers that have experience with this type of alternative baking. That being said, if you are still really keen to try this recipe you can try replacing the egg with a flaxseed egg and using vegan buttermilk.Print
The next lesson is Module Two: Sugar & Fillings. Modules launch the last Monday of each month. Make sure to sign up to my newsletter for reminders and other gluten free recipes and tips.