Irish Soda Bread is probably the most famous no-yeast bread in the world. Our gluten-free soda bread recipe is also dairy-free and nut-free. But you would never know, it tastes just like the traditional savory soda bread made with wheat flour.
Soda bread is unique because it traditionally has very few ingredients and only takes 5 minutes of prep time before baking. While it has a tighter structure than yeast bread, it still has a proper crumb.
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🍞Common Questions About Soda Bread
In the late 19th century Ireland had a shortage of commercially available yeast. So home cooks turned to a newly available leavening agent- baking soda.
No, soda bread does not contain yeast. Instead it uses baking soda as its main leavening agent.
Originally, baking soda was highly alkaline. When combined with buttermilk which is acidic, it created the perfect chemical reaction during baking to give the bread a rise.
When soda bread was originally invented buttermilk wasn't pasteurized which made it high in acid. Today, pasteurized buttermilk is significantly less acid. Meaning you don't need buttermilk to create the same chemical reaction.
Instead, we now add baking powder. Baking powder is a mix of baking soda and cream of tartar, sometimes it also contains cornstarch.
Because there is no gluten in our version, and no yeast in any version of soda bread. You do not need to knead or proof soda bread.
- Your favorite gluten-free flour blend (I used Bob's Red Mill)
- Xanthan gum
- Baking soda
- Baking powder
- Kosher salt
- Lemon juice
- Oat milk
This is one of the rare recipes where we actually add additional xanthan gum beyond what is in your flour blend. Additional xanthan gum is needed because this is such a wet and sticky dough.
While we don't need buttermilk for this soda bread recipe, we do include lemon juice for a bit of tang.
Finally, this recipe calls for one egg plus one egg yolk. Eggs are not traditionally used in soda bread but I have included them in the recipe because it gives the gluten-free flour a better texture.
This no-yeast quick bread comes togheter in just a few minutes. Preheat the oven to 450 F degrees before gathering ingredients so it has time to heat up.
In a medium bowl, stir together flour blend, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and xanthan gum. If you are making out the sweet version below, add your sugar now.
Stir in the eggs and lemon juice. Gradually pour in the oat milk until the dough comes together in a slightly sticky ball. Again, if you are making the sweet version, add your raisins now.
Gently stir the dough with a spatula and until it loosely comes together. Rest the dough for 15 minutes. Gluten-free flours need to rehydtrate before baking.
Using your hands to form the dough into a ball, place it on your prepared pan. Cut an "X" on the top, about a half-inch deep.
Our gluten-free soda bread recipe will have you bake the bread at 450 F for 5 minutes. Then reduce the heat, WITHOUT OPENING THE OVEN, to 350 F degrees.
Bake the bread for an dditional 30 to 40 minutes. Traditional soda bread will be golden brown and the bottom will sound hollow when tapped. Remove the bread from the pan and place on a cooling rack.
Cool completely before slicing, this will take 2 to 4 hours.
💭How to Make Sweet Irish Soda Bread
While this gluten-free soda bread is savory, sweet versions are also very popular. I prefer the sweeter version with tea or coffee, either at breakfast or an afternoon snack.
To convert this soda bread recipe to a sweet version you will need:
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup raisins or dried currents
Add the sugar with the other dry ingredients. The raisins can be added along with the oat milk.
🥗More Irish Recipes
While soda bread is great any time of the year, I always make it with my traditional St. Patrick's day menu. Serve with a Glutenberg Stout or your favorite whiskey.
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Gluten Free Soda Bread
- Preheat oven to 450°. Lightly grease a small stockpot or cast iron pan and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, stir together flour blend, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and xanthan gum.
- Stir in the eggs and lemon juice. Gradually pour in the oat milk until the dough comes together in a slightly sticky ball.
- Gently stir the dough with a spatula and until it loosely comes together. Rest the dough for 15 minutes.
- Using your hands to form the dough into a ball, place it on your prepared pan. Cut an "X" on the top, about a half inch deep.
- Bake at 450°F for 5 minutes; reduce heat to 350°F, and bake 30 minutes longer or until golden brown and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from pan to cooling rack. Cool completely before slicing, about 4 hours.
- This type of gluten-free bread is best eaten the same day.
- Leftovers should be tightly wrapped and stored at room temptautre.