Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! For years, I would bake Irish soda bread and read leprechaun stories with my young students. There is nothing like the smell of fresh-baked bread while listening to fanciful tales. We also used to make our own butter to go with the bread. I would put a little heavy cream in empty baby food jars. Each of my students had a jar to shake, shake, shake. The magic butter was their own to use and then bring home with a few extra slices of bread to share with their families.
Since COVID, we can’t bake at school anymore. I miss baking with children the most. I cannot wait till it is a legally sanctioned activity again. I hadn’t tried Irish soda bread at home because I have Celiac Disease and need to eat gluten-free. I thought there was no use in trying to make bread myself. I thought it would turn out terribly. I was wrong!
Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! Enjoy some soda bread and snuggle down with a good leprechaun legend.
Gluten-Free Irish Soda Bread
- 1 ½ cups buttermilk
- 1 large egg
- 4 tablespoons melted butter, divided
- 3 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1/3 cup golden raisins
- 1/3 cup currants
- 1 Tablespoon caraway seeds
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Whisk buttermilk, egg and 3 tablespoons melted butter in a medium bowl.
- Place flour, baking powder, baking soda, caraway seeds, currants, raisins, and salt in a large bowl. Mix on low speed to combine. Increase speed to medium and slowly add the buttermilk mixture until a soft dough forms. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
- Brush the remaining 1 tablespoon butter over the base and sides of an 8-inch cast iron skillet.
- Dust hands with flour and form the dough into a ball. Press the dough into the prepared pan.
- Use a sharp knife to score a deep “X” in the top of the dough.
- Bake until lightly browned and hollow-sounding when tapped on the bottom, 30 to 40 minutes.
- Remove from the pan and let cool on a rack for at least 30 minutes.
Books to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day
- Jamie O’Rourke and the Big Potato by Tomie DePaola
- Fiona’s Luck by Teresa Bateman
- Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland by Tomie DePaola
- Tim O’Toole and the Wee Folk by Gerald McDermott
- A Fine St. Patrick’s Day by Susan Wojciechowski
- How to Catch a Leprechaun by Adam Wallace
- That’s What Leprechauns Do by Emily Arnold McCully
- O’Sullivan Stew by Hudson Talbott
- Finn McCool and the Great Fish by Even Bunting