Despite being a week from St. Patrick’s Day I felt compelled to pin down this recipe because I know myself all too well and the fact is if I wait longer than a week, this recipe success will be gone with the wind. The truth of the matter is that this came together the night before the big corned beef and cabbage dinner and I wasn’t sure if I would want to bother to write about it, not anticipating it to be anything special since I was throwing it together and this was my first go at using gluten free flours.
The beauty of the soda bread is that it’s quick-no rise time, and whether you’re working with wheat flour or a mix of your own of the gluten free variety, the key (like for most baked goods things) is simply to not over work the dough. I’m still experimenting with different flours and learning the different personalities they all present; they each offer something different individually and work in combinations to create the vital textures crucial to the characteristics of classic baked goods. Gluten free baking seems to become easier over time and with trial and error as you learn what flour works for what texture and what it necessitates in terms of its handling.
My family always tries to do a corn beef with a side cabbage quarters baked in the oven with carrots, potatoes and bacon for St. Patrick’s Day. The dinner wouldn’t feel complete without the soda bread and with the most of us enjoying eating wheat free I took on the opportunity to try out this recipe. I absolutely love the licorice-y flavor of the caraway in this bread that pairs so well with the spicy sweet clove and deep salty-molasses flavor of the mustard glaze we do for the corn beef. Not all soda breads feature raisins but I love their little chewy bite and sweetness. The smell of simmering spices, bread baking and vegetables roasting instantly takes me into the spirit of this holiday. Year after year, post dinner destruction we all wonder why we don’t do this simple, satisfying meal more often, and making this soda bread is no exception from that reflection.
Makes one 6 inch round loaf
1 ½ cups Bob’s Red Mill gluten free all purpose flour blend
½ cups white rice flour
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
1 tsp baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons caraway seed
¼ cup old fashioned oats
1 cup buttermilk (I used 2% cow’s milk with 1 tsp cider vinegar)
½ cup raisins soaked in 1 cup hot water for 10 minutes, drained
1/ Preheat oven to 375 F. Dust a baking sheet with some flour to prepare for the bread. Combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, xanthan gum, caraway, and oats in a bowl. Mix in drained and dried raisins throughout flour.
2/ Create a well in your dry mixture and pour in the buttermilk, crack in an egg. Combine the wet ingredients with the dry until just mixed.
3/ Dump your dough (it will be fairly sticky) onto a lightly floured surface. Work into a 6 inch wide, one inch tall round using the rice flour to shape it. Place it onto the baking sheet, sprinkle with some extra rice flour and score an X on the top. I chose to douse mine with some extra oats on top for flair.
4/ Bake for about 30 minutes until golden on top.
*I found that this bread tasted best the day of but was just as delicious once toasted up in the oven. I’m a huge advocate of re-toasting baked goods in the oven; there’s no other way to do it!