Irish Soda Bread
TENDER BUT ROUGH (IN TEXTURE). ROBUST YET DELICIOUSLY CRUMBLY.
“A good friend is like a four leaf clover, hard to find and lucky to have.” Irish Proverb.
I hear you. It’s not easy to find great friends and to keep them. Therefore, I can say whole heartedly that I’m ‘lucky’ to have Lisa in my life for over two decades.
This Gluten Free Irish Soda Bread is moist, subtly sweet, nutty and hearty. As Lisa described it, soda bread is best eaten on the day that it’s baked. This is a holiday version known as “Spotted Dog,” for an everyday version, you can always omit the sugar, butter, caraway seeds, raisins, and egg. Got it.
For the next few posts, I’m including Lisa’s note. So, if you wonder, “Where did I read that before?” Let me convince you, you read it here 😀 And, believe me friends, I can’t describe this whole Irish food thing any better than Lisa. Plus to be honest, to be so so so honest …, I’m kind of in the middle of a couple intense design projects with short deadlines. So you know… forgive me, I can’t write much.
However, I’m going to compensate for my lack of words with pictures! Honest and unstaged pictures. I hope you like them. And if you happen to have the drive to bake this bread, you can say, “Thank you, Lisa.”
From the desk of Lisa K.
Irish food is humble, and beautifully so. It does not come out of an excess of ingredients. It is rather, made of simple and inventive combinations of farm staples. Although simple, it’s most certainly festive and comforting. Potatoes, oats, butter, cream, and… stout. People! Dark, brooding, delicious stout. Yum!
My Irish ancestors fall too far back on my family tree for me to have grown up eating Irish cooking. Yet the heart of it still speaks to me. It tastes of hard work and the comfort of family. I remember my Mother making due — extending food in ingenious and yet festive ways. She would scrub potatoes, so that after they were peeled and served mashed, the skins could be saved and fried to make “chips.” I loved her clever, cheerful resourcefulness. In Irish food, I taste a similar cheerfulness in the face of hardship.
So why try to recreate these wonderful foods in gluten and somewhat dairy free versions? Sounds like a serious contradiction! Simple cuisine really is supposed to be an homage to the ingredients, right?! Well, I hear you. I prefer traditional, authentic ingredients too! But alas and alack, food allergies and sensitivities being what they are, we also — are making due.
Note: Many people who can not tolerate dairy are able to eat butter. Though these recipes are free of other dairy products they call for butter.
- 4 cups gluten-free oat flour, plus more for dusting
- 1½ teaspoons coarse salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 tablespoon caraway seeds
- 1 cup currants
- ½ cup plain coconut milk yogurt, thinned with 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 large egg
- Preheat oven to 350°. Whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, bakingpowder, xanthan gum and sugar in a large bowl. With a pastry blender or your fingertips, blend in the butter until it resembles small peas. Stir in the caraway seeds and currants.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, water, vinegar and egg. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add all at once; stir gently with a fork until the mixture holds together (it should be on the wet side). With floured hands, pat the dough into a dome-shaped loaf about 7-inches in diameter. Lift out dough; transfer to a cast iron skillet.
- Lightly dust the top of the loaf with flour. Cut a ¾-inch-deep cross on the top, reaching almost all the way to edges. Bake, rotating halfway through, until deep golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack before slicing, serve warm or at room temperature.