Delicious bread in a hurry, this gluten free and low FODMAP soda bread is made with baking soda rather than yeast and is just as perfect dipped in soup as it is smeared with jam. I LOVE baking gluten free bread at home, but it can be time consuming and use a lot of ingredients; sometimes the need of a sourdough starter. This recipe however, couldn’t be simpler, more versatile, or more comforting.
The ingredients of traditional soda bread are: flour, baking soda, salt, and buttermilk, but I’ve added in a few additions here to make this recipe work much better gluten free. Oats add texture and stop the loaf from getting that gluten free dusty vibe, while just half a teaspoon of sugar helps to balance out the flavour and encourage the loaf to brown (something gluten free flours don’t do as well as gluten-full flours).
Leiths add butter to their dough, as you would when making scones and trying it for this recipe, it really helped make the loaf more tender. Wanting not always to rely on xanthan gum, I added a large egg yolk to help bind the dough, increased the amount of liquid to flour ratio just slightly (gluten free flours tend to soak up more) and added a little extra bicarb to help give lift.
This loaf was never going to rise as much as a gluten-full soda bread, so instead of trying to emulate that puffed-up, cracked look, I took inspiration from Russell Brown who presses his dough into a flatter disc from the beginning. Using a knife to slice the dough into 8 pieces rather than using a wooden spoon to press the dough into four pieces helped with the rise and final look. Last but not least, I reduced the temperature of the oven after 20 minutes, once the golden exterior has been achieved, helping the wetter dough to cook through, but not burn.
So I hope you love this recipe and chop and change it to work for you. Some of my favourite additions to stir through the dry mix before you add the buttermilk and egg:
Gluten free and low FODMAP soda bread recipe notes!
350ml lactose free whole milk
2 tablespoons lemon juice
350g gluten free plain flour, plus extra to dust
3 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
100g oats, plus extra for the top (gluten free if needed)
1½ teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
1 large free range egg yolk
Preheat your oven to 200C, fan 180C and place a baking sheet in the oven.
To make the lactose-free buttermilk, combine the whole milk and lemon juice and let sit for 5-10 minutes, or until curdled.
Sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl and stir through the oats, salt and sugar. Cut the butter into small pieces and rub into the flour mixture with your fingertips, until sandy in texture.
Mix the egg yolk into the buttermilk and then quickly stir 2/3 of the wet mix in to the dry mixture, to make a soft dough. Because it’s made with gluten free flour you want the mix to be wetter than a regular soda bread dough, but it still able to hold its shape, so add more if you think the dough needs it.
Carefully remove the hot baking sheet from the oven and sprinkle a little flour over it. Lightly flour your hands and bring the dough together in the bowl, then turn out onto the baking sheet. Use your hands to form the dough into a circle, about 5cm thick (again, just be careful of the hot baking sheet).
Flour a sharp knife and use it to make a cross twice on the top of the dough. Sprinkle over a little extra flour and oats.
Bake the bread for 20 minutes, then turn the oven down to 180C, 160C fan and bake for another 15-20 minutes, or until the bread is golden and slightly risen. To check the loaf is properly cooked, you can tap the base – it should sound hollow.
Transfer the bread to a wire rack and leave to cool slightly before serving. Soda bread is best eaten warm on the day of making, but if you have some left over the next day, it makes for great toast. You can also freeze it, wrapped tightly as a whole loaf or as individual slices.