A gluten free version of traditional Irish Soda Bread to help celebrate the luck o’ the Irish on St. Paddy’s Day (or any other day).When it comes to that cheerful and and somewhat magical celebration on March 17th, I think we all wish we had a wee bit of Irish in us. Wouldn’t it be fun to be part of a culture that includes leprechauns and shamrocks, Riverdance and jigs, misty green glens and mossy old castles, Irish bread and cheese and whiskey, blarney, and limericks, and the gift o’ the gab?
Ever since I discovered the joy of reading as a child, and transported myself to all the far off places hidden between the covers of books, I have wanted to visit Ireland. Raymond’s family has a good dose of Irish in their ancestry (which makes our children part Irish) so the pull has been even stronger to visit this stunningly beautiful country.
We did a lot of walking and explored her home turf around Dún Laoghaire (pronounced Dun Leary in that wonderful and confusing Irish language). The first day there I went for a long walk along the sea wall fronting Dublin Bay, gulping in great breaths of fresh sea air.
We visited the beautiful estate of Powerscourt, originally a 13th century castle and strolled around the spectacular grounds.
The bus to Galway travels right across Ireland from the east coast to the west, passing by castles, farms and villages. We spent a few days exploring the west coast of the Emerald Isle in County Clare.
Streets are cobbled, buildings filled with character, and the sea air rolls breezily through the town. The traditional pubs are lovely and dark and full of thick, old wood beams and tables. Galway is famous for its fresh oysters harvested right in the bay.
We headed down to The Burren to explore the desolate rolling hills of limestone paved with cracks and boulders.
Then on to the stunning heights of the Cliffs of Moher. Walk carefully near the edges . . .
And back to Dún Laoghaire, with day trips on the speedy Dart train to poke around the shops, cozy little restaurants, and lovely sights of Dublin.
. . . or explore the surrounding area. We climbed to the top of Bray Head, in Bray. Spectacular views of the ocean and countryside.
I took a day trip by myself to visit the ancient ruined monastery at Glendalough in County Wicklow.
And best of all – the timing for my wonderful Irish adventure couldn’t have been better – I was in Dublin for St. Patrick’s Day!
If you want to see a whole city full of green-bedecked revelers thronging the streets to watch the St. Patrick’s Day parade – you need to get yourself to Dublin. The festive atmosphere and joyful Irish spirit swirls from person to person, old and young, transforming the city into one huge leprechaun party.
Music, dancing, singing, and laughing thread through the crowds, and the merriment lasts long into the evening as the Guinness starts flowing and revelers pile shoulder to shoulder into every pub in Ireland.
St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated with great gusto and abandon in its country of origin.
Here is a recipe for a little taste of Ireland – Gluten Free Irish Soda Bread. Slather it with butter and enjoy a big slab of it on St. Paddy’s Day. Maybe a little leprechaun will grant you a wish.
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Kitchen Frau Notes: To make this bread vegan, use a chia egg (1 tablespoon ground chia seeds mixed into ¼ cup water and soaked for 5 minutes), melted coconut oil instead of butter, raw agave nectar instead of honey, and vegan yogurt and plant milk instead of dairy products. I’ve made it this way too, and it turned out well.
Sweet rice flour is different than regular white rice flour – it behaves more like a starch. It is made from glutinous rice (the name pertaining to the sticky nature of the rice – there’s no gluten in it) and is sometimes called ‘Mochiko’.
Gluten Free Irish Soda Bread
- 2 cups (210gms) gluten free oat flour
- ½ cup (60gms) sorghum flour
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoons (100gms) potato starch (not potato flour)
- ½ cup (80gms) sweet rice flour
- 1½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 cup (240ml) natural yogurt
- 2/3 cup (160ml) milk
- optional add-ins: 2 teaspoons caraway seeds or ½ cup dried currants
Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease a 7″ or 8″ (18 – 20cm) round cake pan.
In a large bowl stir together the dry ingredients.
In another bowl, beat the egg, then add the rest of the liquid ingredients. Whisk to combine.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and stir until well combined. The dough should be soft and sticky, but firm enough to pat and shape into a rough ball with a silicone spatula. (If it’s too soft, add another tablespoon or two of potato starch.)
Using wet hands, lift the ball out of the bowl and shape it into a smooth 7 ” (18cm) ball. Place it into the prepared cake pan. Smooth out any uneven spots with wet fingers.
Dust the top lightly with potato starch, then cut a shallow cross shape into the top of the loaf with a sharp knife.
Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until the loaf is brown and sounds hollow when tapped.
Let cool on a wire rack before cutting.
Makes one 8-inch round loaf.
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