New Irish Soda Bread

I make Irish soda bread throughout the year, but I certainly can’t celebrate St. Patrick’s Day without it. I have experimented with many recipes, and just about all of them are easy and quite good.

My family have been gluten free for several years now, and so I thought it was time to find a soda bread that suited our needs. This recipe is just right; it comes together quickly, is firm but moist, and is delicious.

Most soda breads call for milk and butter, but I have fashioned this recipe to be nearly dairy free. I chose to use plant-based milk (I like plain or unsweetened vanilla almond milk or original or unsweetened vanilla Ripple brand), because we don’t drink cow’s milk. I did use organic butter, but you could also try chilled ghee if you want to omit the milk solids.

As for the flour, there are many brands of good gluten-free flour on the market, but I really like King Arthur. I find it behaves very much like all-purpose flour and doesn’t leave any funky aftertaste like some gluten-free flours do.

This bread stores well for several days and warms or toasts nicely. I like to serve it spread with ghee and a little raw honey.

Makes one 9-inch round loaf

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together 3 cups of gluten-free flour, 1 to 2 tablespoons of granulated monk fruit sweetener, if desired (or your natural sugar or sugar substitute of choice), 2 teaspoons of baking powder, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, and 3/4 teaspoon of sea salt.

Using a pastry cutter or two knives, add 4 tablespoons of chilled cubed unsalted organic butter and incorporate into the dry ingredients until the mixture is crumbly. (You still want to see small pebbles of butter.)

In an separate bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cups of plant-based milk, 4 teaspoons of white or cider vinegar, and 1 large free-range egg.

Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Set aside for several minutes.

Scrape the dough out onto the prepared baking sheet and shape into a round between 8 and 9 inches in diameter.

Fold a large sheet of aluminum foil into a 3- to 4-inch wide rectangle, brush with butter, and wrap it around the bread to make a collar. Secure with a toothpick.

Using a sharp paring knife, slice an “X” into the top of the bread. Sprinkle with green coarse sugar, if desired.

Bake for about 45 minutes, or until golden brown and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove the foil collar and set aside to cool almost completely before slicing.

Store in a resealable bag or plastic wrap for up to 3 days.

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