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 is an article on how to make your own buttermilk replacement.
Ingredient note – If you don’t have buttermilk or don’t want to buy it, read this article for substitutions.
Irish Soda Bread-Gluten Free
- 2 cups gluten-free flour 9 ¼ ounces or 266 grams, plus a little extra for your hands
- 4 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar divided use
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder 9 grams, aluminum free
- 1 teaspoon table salt 7 grams
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda 5 grams
- 3 tablespoons very cold unsalted butter cut into small cubes
- 1 cup lowfat buttermilk 240 ml
- 2/3 cup dried currants 2 ¾ ounces or 78 grams, 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.