A favorite Irish recipe, soda bread lends itself to a more hearty and wholesome bread than a traditional yeast bread. Growing up in my house, soda bread was simple and straight forward with no fruit of any kind and usually had wheat and/or oats. I do not oppose the addition of fruit. Sometimes I think it works, especially if eaten with great Irish butter. I remember traditional soda bread being slightly bitter, so I wanted to add millet for the sweet cereal flavor it imparts, yet keep that heartiness with the addition of brown rice flour and flaxseed meal. Flaxmeal also creates this wonderful gel, which aids in building structure in gluten-free bread as well as adding omega-3 amino acids. I tried to make this bread without the use of any gums, but to no avail.
Though it looks complicated, this recipe is delicious! And remember, for best results, make this recipe using a scale.
- 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon (15 grams) flax meal (I used golden)
- 3 tablespoons (40 grams) water
- ½ cup (150 grams) buttermilk (room temperature)
- 3 whole (150 grams) large eggs
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary (optional)
- ½ cup (80 grams) raisins (optional) (regular or golden) or currants (can plump in ½ cup water plus ½ cup Jameson Whiskey, which is gluten-free, then drain before adding)
- ½ cup (88 grams) potato starch
- ½ cup (73 grams) cornstarch
- ½ cup (76 grams) brown rice flour
- ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon (67 grams) millet flour
- 1 tablespoon (9 grams) guar gum
- 1 teaspoon (6 grams) baking soda
- 1 tablespoon (12 grams) baking powder
- ½ teaspoon (2 grams) salt
- 2 teaspoons (8 grams) sugar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a small, microwave-safe bowl, combine the flax meal and water. Microwave for 30 seconds. Stir and allow the thick gel to cool.
In a large measuring cup, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, rosemary, and raisins/currants, if using. In the work bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl, scale the rest of the dry ingredients: the potato starch, cornstarch, brown rice flour, millet, guar gum, baking soda and powder, salt, and sugar. Mix on low with a paddle mixer or whisk until uniform. Slow mix in the buttermilk plus egg mixture, followed by the flaxmeal gel. Mix for about 2 minutes; the dough should come together and be uniform. Turn into an oiled small/medium Dutch oven or heavy walled sauce pan (at least 2 quarts). Smooth out top and cut an x or a cross on the top with a knife. Spray the top lightly with oil. Bake for about 35-45 minutes. Check for doneness by toothpick; if comes out clean, it is done. Allow to cool.
Cut into slices as desired. It is best served with butter, and any remaining bread should be sealed well.