In honor of Saint Patrick's Day, I worked up a gluten-free version of Irish Soda Bread. My baking efforts began with my copy of "Beard on Bread" by James Beard. I worked on modifying the recipe, whipped it up and then eagerly awaited the results.
It was beautiful coming out of the oven, although the aroma from the bread was rather like baking soda. How did it taste? Well...vile. No second tastings...straight to the compost bin it went. And by the way, don't try brown rice, oat, arrowroot, teff flours and hazelnut meal as a gluten-free flour blend...trust me.
Pondering the flavors lingering in my mouth made me wonder if I ought to start with a different recipe. At Epicurious.com I found a recipe from Bon Appetit, February 2005 issue. The Irish Soda Bread with Raisins recipe was created by Anitra Earle of Yonkers, NY, and it seemed to be perfect base to modify into a gluten free version.
2/3 cup rice flour
2/3 cup oat flour
1/3 + 2 Tb sweet rice flour
1/3 + 2 Tb almond meal
2 Tb Turbinado sugar
2 Tb cane sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
3 Tb butter, chilled
7/8 cup buttermilk or sour milk
1/2 cup raisins
2 tsp kudzu powder, dissolved in buttermilk
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 6 inch round cake pan with parchment paper. Place all dry ingredients in a bowl and blend. Cut in the butter with a fork until mixture is crumbly. Then add the buttermilk and raisins. Blend. Pour the batter into the cake pan. Bake for 50 minutes or until a pick comes out clean.
How did it turn out? Beautiful and smelled delicious. The bread has a lovely rich taste with a lingering hint of soda. It was perfect with a small swirl of butter. My son liked the bread, but would have preferred it without raisins. Eating it with butter is the only way to go, according to my daughter. My husband didn't have any preferences, he said it was great.