Baking Irish soda bread was the perfect opportunity to test a new gluten free flour called Cup4Cup. I’ve worked with other gluten free flour blends (like Bob’s Red Mill, also a great product) but was particularly interested in this one because it was developed in the kitchen of famed Napa Valley restaurant, The French Laundry.
I’ve baked Irish soda bread for my clients the past few years as a St. Patrick’s week treat. With clients following a gluten-free lifestyle and us having gone wheat-free, I needed to adapt the recipe using gluten-free flour.
This recipe goes together easily and bakes up golden crusted, studded with sweet dried currants. It’s nice for breakfast, with an afternoon cup of tea or aside a bowl of soup. It also makes a thoughtful gift.
As the name implies, a “quick” bread depends not on yeast for lift, but on baking soda as the leavener. As with all soda breads, this traditional Irish version goes together quickly. Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, baking powder, then butter. Add buttermilk and currants. Shape into a round loaf and bake.
The tools are simple as well. A bowl, spoon, cake pan and measuring tools are all you need. I prefer to use a digital scale to weigh ingredients for better accuracy. If you don’t have one, no problem, but you might consider investing in one.
I test baked several batches of this bread. If your currants are very dried out, soak them in hot water for 5-7 minutes, then drain and squeeze dry in paper towels. If they are more fresh and moist, you can skip this step.
The bread came out wonderful with the Cup4Cup gluten-free flour. The crumb was fine, the bread moist, and the flavor wonderful. In fact, as we were shooting it for the photograph it was hard to stop eating it smeared with apricot fruit spread.
As we approach St. Patrick’s Day, bake a loaf of quick Irish soda bread. If you follow a gluten-free diet, you can purchase Cup4Cup at Williams-Sonoma stores or online. Other quality gluten-free flour blends are made by Bob’s Red Mill and King Arthur Flour.
Note – This bread can also be made with regular flour as in the original recipe. At the bottom are links to make your own buttermilk replacement and even a vegan shortening recipe. I’ve not tried these modifications yet for vegans and people who need to minimize dairy, but plan to and will make future notes.
Irish Soda Bread – Gluten Free
Adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine
Yield: 1 loaf, 8 servings
- 2 cups (9 ¼ ounces or 266 grams) gluten-free flour (plus a little extra for your hands)
- 4 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar (divided use)
- 1 ½ teaspoons (9 grams) baking powder (aluminum free)
- 1 teaspoon (7 grams) table salt
- ¾ teaspoon (5 grams) baking soda
- 3 tablespoons very cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
- 1 cup (240 ml) lowfat buttermilk
- 2/3 cup (2 ¾ ounces or 78 grams) dried currants (if very dry, soak in hot water for 5-7 minutes, drain and dry. If moist, skip this step)
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees for convection ovens or 375 for standard ovens. Spray or lightly oil a 9” round cake pan. Optionally, to insure the bread does not stick, line the bottom with a round of baking parchment.
- Into a medium bowl, measure the flour, 4 tablespoons of sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. For accuracy, use a digital scale to weigh the ingredients. Whisk to combine.
- Add the butter and with a fork or a pastry blender, mix in until the flour becomes a coarse pebbly mixture.
- Push dry ingredients aside making a well in the center of the bowl. Pour buttermilk into the center. Gradually stir the buttermilk and flour mixture together. The dough will be sticky. Stir in the currants.
- With a little extra flour, sprinkle your counter or cutting board. Place the dough onto the floured space and with floured hands, shape the dough into a ball. If it sticks, use a pastry or bench scraper to help get it off the board and shape it. You may sprinkle a little flour on top of the loaf as well, but don’t use too much.
- Transfer the dough to the cake pan and press down lightly to spread it out. It will not come to the edges of the pan. Sprinkle with the last half tablespoon of sugar. Bake 35-40 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven, cool in the pan 10 minutes and turn the loaf out to cool on a wire rack. Slice or cut into wedges and enjoy.
*Please note that this recipe has not been reviewed by FAI or medical experts. Avoidance is the only accepted course of treatment for food allergy. Always verify ingredients or food products by checking with the manufacturer and/or your physician to ensure that any foods are safe for your unique allergy issues.
Cup4Cup at Williams-Sonoma, online or in stores.
9″ parchment rounds, handy for baking
Digital scales, for me, an essential tool. Better accuracy for baking and other uses.
Vegan alternative to buttermilk, from Livestrong
Make your own substitute for buttermilk with milk and lemon juice or vinegar, from Frugal Living
Making vegan shortening, from Vegan Baking
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