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Irish Soda Bread

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day with a warm slice of gluten-free Irish soda bread.


This is a delicious if somewhat crumbly quick bread that is easy to make and goes wonderfully smeared with a pat of butter, preserves, or both. Synonymous with the Irish, soda bread was a one of the least expensive ways to feed a family when times were tough.


Quick breads do not use yeast as a leavening agent, rather they depend on the creation of carbon dioxide released when baking soda reacts with an acidic ingredient, in this case, buttermilk. This reaction leaves bubbles in the dough that give the loaf lift and lighten up its texture. So, once the dough comes together it's important not to over manipulate it or you risk releasing all that trapped gas, which will result in a very dense and heavy bread.


If you choose to use all-purpose flour rather than going gluten-free, then an overworked dough will risk developing gluten adding to the density of the loaf.


It's dry nature means the day it's baked is when it's at its best. So, don't leave this loaf sitting around too long. Though I doubt that will be a problem. Adding currants or raisins provides for small hits of sweetness with each bite.

 

TIP: For better results and flavour, make your own buttermilk using 1, 1/3 cups whole milk and 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar. Mix then let sit 5 minutes before adding to the dry ingredients.

 

Ingredients

(Makes 8 servings | 1 loaf)

  • 2, 1/2 cups cassava flour, plus more for dusting (or 3 cups all-purpose flour and omit the tapioca flour)

  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour

  • 2 teaspoons coarse sea salt

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted plant-based butter, cold and diced

  • 1 cup oat bran (or unprocessed wheat bran if NOT gluten-free)

  • 1/4 cup caraway seeds

  • 1 cup dried black currants, packed (or raisins)

  • 1, 2/3 cups buttermilk, room temperature

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F / 180°C and prepare a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Set aside.


In a large mixing bowl, add the cassava flour, tapioca flour, sea salt, baking powder, and baking soda then whisk together. Using a pastry cutter, cut the bitter into the dry ingredients until it resembles coarse sand. Mix in the oat bran, caraway seeds, and currants until evenly distributed.


Pour the buttermilk into the bowl and mix using a silicone spatula until the dough just starts to come together. The dough will still be quite sticky at this point. Lightly flour the sheet pan and turn out the dough. Gently form the dough into a cobb (a rounded loaf) about 6-inches or so in diameter. Using a sharp knife, cut a cross onto the top (about an inch deep) so that the dough can expand as it bakes without developing a hard shell.


Cover the dough with a tented piece of aluminium foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, rotate the pan 180-degrees, and continue baking for another 40 to 45 minutes or until the load is golden brown. Transfer the load to a wire rack and allow to cool.


Cut and serve with salted butter and/or preserves.

 
 

Nutritional Information Per Serving:

total calories = 301.5 | total fat = 3.74g | saturated fat = 1.33g | cholesterol = 2.09mg | sodium = 731.28mg | net carbohydrates = 60.77g | dietary fibre = 5.94g | sugars = 14.94g | protein = 4.59g

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