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Gluten-Free Soda Bread – the easiest and fastest bread ever!
As St. Patrick’s Day is approaching, I decided to try out a typical Irish soda bread using my gluten-free bread flour blend.
Key Ingredients needed
Most soda bread recipes seem to only require a few basic ingredients – bread flour, salt, sugar, milk & lemon and most importantly, bicarbonate of soda/baking soda and soda water. If you have these ingredients readily available in your kitchen, then you can expect warm, crusty, freshly baked bread in less than an hour.
No yeast! Really?
As there is no yeast in the soda bread, there is no rising or proving time needed. Just a quick mix and mould of the dough (15 minutes max.) and a 35-minute bake in a hot oven.
How long does soda bread last?
The good news is that it is quick to make and bake, the bad news is that you need to eat it on the same day of baking (or is that such a bad thing?). It becomes quite hard if eaten the next day, but you can resort to toasting leftover slices. For this reason, this recipe only makes a medium loaf, however, if you have plenty of mouths to fill, doubling the recipe makes a decent size loaf for a family.
How to eat soda bread
This rustic, crackly bread goes well with any hearty soup, casserole or pie dish, like my Gluten-Free Beef and Ale Pies. Anything that calls for dunking chunky soda bread slices into a soup or sauce, completes a classic Irish comfort meal.
Some history about soda bread
Some interesting background about why a cross is slashed across the bread dough before baking – according to folklore, it was to keep the devil out while the bread was baked. Another was that this symbol was done to bless the bread and offer thanks. From a practical point of view, these openings allow the bread to rise.
Why was soda introduced to the bread? In the 1800s, the foam that would form on top of any alcohol would be used to leaven soda bread. Mixed with lemon juice, the soda bread batter would expand and bake into a perfect quick-bread loaf. Nowadays, we resort to a healthier leaver found in a sealed packet consisting of bicarbonate of soda, also known as baking soda.
Soda bread variations
While baking the soda bread, I was tempted to add something to the batter but I felt it was best to start off with a loaf of basic soda bread. It turns out that there are plenty of versions out there using raisins, cheese, chocolate chips, cranberries, cinnamon, beer, nuts, oatmeal, bacon or herbs. If you like this style of bread, then have fun picking your favourite addition for your next soda bread. I reckon raisins and cinnamon would make a perfect breakfast soda bread, as well as topping it with any breakfast jam!
How about some Gluten-Free French Toast?
Soda bread slices are perfect to make French toast, especially the next day when the bread tends to go slightly stale. These slices absorb the egg custard mixture like a sponge and produce an amazing decadent gluten-free breakfast option.
Gluten-Free Soda Bread
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F.
- Mix the milk and lemon juice together in a jug and set aside for 5 minutes to curdle.
- Sift the gluten-free bread flour, psyllium husk powder, bicarb. of soda, salt and sugar and whisk to combine in a medium bowl.
- Form a well in the middle of the flour mixture and add the milk & lemon mixture to it. Add some or all of the cold fizzy water or soda and bring it together to form a soft dough.
- Using floured hands, shape the dough into a round mould and place it onto a floured baking tray.
- Use a pastry scraper or a large knife to slash the dough crosswise.
- Bake in the oven on the middle shelf for 20 to 25 minutes, then flip the bread over and continue to bake for a further 8-10 minutes. The bread is fully cooked when it is tapped and sounds hollow.
- Allow to cool down on a wire rack.
- Keeps for one day at room temperature
- After the first day, soda bread slices are excellent to toast
- Suitable to freeze in slices