Vegan Gluten Free Irish Soda Bread
Friday, March 14, 2014
Oh Ireland. Land of my ancestors, one of my favorite rock bands, and the humble and ever-so-tasty Irish soda bread.
One of the biggest challenges of some of the eating changes I’ve made over the years are those moments when I miss some of the foods that so many of us associate with special occasions or that evoke sweet memories. St. Patrick’s Day is one of those holidays that makes me a little nostalgic for the days of yore. Maybe it’s because this holiday embodies the trifecta of some of the biggest adjustments to my eating habits: no more gluten (farewell Irish stew made with Guinness), no more beef (so long corned beef and cabbage, oh how I loved you), and no more beer (you’ll be missed).
My mom was Irish and Scottish. Combine her heritage with the sensibilities of a native New Englander and you get a woman who had a penchant for boiling the living you-know-what out of anything she could reasonably cook in a vat of boiling water. She called it “boiled dinner” (a very New Hampshire term) and we often feigned delight when she pulled a full chicken (skin and all) out and plopped it on a plate for serving. (honestly, it’s a miracle Paul ever had more than one dinner with my family after he stared down at a sad, gray carcass and politely dug in as my family looked on. Maybe it was some crazy initiation test?). In my mom’s defense, she made a mean chicken rice soup with the leftovers…
So, how to celebrate St. Patrick’s day? Well, since tofu doesn’t make an even remotely acceptable stand-in for corned beef, and Paul would probably weep if I pulled a chicken out of pot of boiling water, I decided that Irish soda bread could stand up to a little makeover. This challenge was pretty simple: make it vegan…and gluten free…and yummy.
Mission accomplished on the first try—luck o’ the Irish must have been with me.
(ok, and maybe I took some inspiration from Ina Garten’s recipe). So let’s call this one ‘inspired by’ Ina, shall we?
Why vegan? Well not because I don’t love butter (I’m talking real butter…from cows). Yup, butter is the only thing keeping me from realizing my fantasy of going totally vegan one day (well that and the fact that I’m just not that virtuous). I decided to leave the animal-derived ingredients out of this one in response to the many requests I get for more vegan-friendly recipes. And it’s gluten free because I wanted to enjoy it too. Which I did. A lot. It may have even been my dinner last night.
You could take a little liberty with this one. Add a bit more salt and reduce the sugar by half to make it more savory. Add fewer currants (I love them, so there’s a lot in this version). Use granulated sugar if you don’t have coconut sugar on-hand (I prefer coconut sugar since its low on the glycemic index and is minimally processed, so it retains many of its minerals and nutrients). If you want to go traditional, a sprinkle of caraway seeds will make it more authentic. You could also omit the GF oats and just replace them with the GF flour. Some Irish soda breads get a sweet little glaze of confectioners sugar mixed with a few drops of milk (or, in this case, coconut creamer), which would make it a delightful breakfast bread.
Happy baking! And “May you always have a clean shirt, a clear conscience, and enough coins in your pocket to buy a pint!”
Vegan Gluten Free Irish Soda Bread
servings: makes 1 loaf | time: about 60 minutes
2 1/2 cups of your favorite gluten free flour blend
1/2 cup gluten free oats
4 TBSP. coconut sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
big pinch of salt (if you must measure, go with 1/2 tsp.)
4 TBSP. vegan shortening
1 1/4 cup coconut, soy or almond milk coffee creamer
egg replacer to the equivalent of 1 egg
1 cup currants
Preheat oven to 350
1. place all of the dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer equipped with the paddle attachment. Blend all of the ingredients on low until well combined
2. Cut the vegan shortening into small cubes and add to flour mixture. Blend on medium low until well combined. Meanwhile, prepare the liquid ingredients
3. Prepare the egg replacer according to the package directions
4. Measure the coconut creamer into a glass measuring cup and add the prepared egg replacer. Stir to combine
5. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix on medium for a minute, until combined. Add the currants and combine on medium for thirty seconds, just until the currants are incorporated. The dough will be sticky
6. Use some of the gluten free flour to prepare a flat work surface. Turn the dough out onto the work surface and turn several times, gently kneading until the dough is no longer sticky
7. Form the dough into an 8-inch circle. Place on a baking stone or cookie sheet and score an X through the middle with a sharp knife
8. Bake at 350 for 50-55 minutes (the loaf will sound hollow when it’s gently tapped)