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.
A Quick Bread
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 online and at Williams Sonoma stores. 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.