Irish-ish Soda Bread

There’s not much difference for me these days between ”quick” bread and yeasted bread.

All bread is relatively quick. Now that I’m baking gluten free, I no longer have to incorporate kneading and long rising times into my bread baking endeavors.  I find the change liberating, as I now enjoy making a quick bread much more than I did when I was baking with gluten. Banana Bread: Meh… better with yeast. Beer bread? Only in emergencies. I just wasn’t satisfied unless my arms were about to fall off while making a loaf of bread. Even after I discovered the dough hook, I would still knead my soul into those ingredients–relishing every nuance of my aching hands squishing into the pillowy relief of the dough.

If there is one thing I miss dearly about gluten, it’s simply the kneading of the bread dough. I’ve tried kneading with many a gluten free flour combo–and let me tell ya, it just doesn’t do it for me. With gluten free bread dough, the whole process becomes slightly more clinical. I like to refer to it as the “mix and plop” method. Though, I cannot deny the lazy side of me welcoming this new, less sensual, approach to bread-making.

This loaf is made in the same vein as traditional Irish Soda Bread; the disclaimer here is that the texture is a bit off… not bad, just not quite as I remember an Irish Soda Bread to taste (hence the “Irish-ish”). I should add, in the bread’s defense, that I am actually part Irish. Yeah, I’ll take it wherever I can get it.

The texture of the loaf lends itself more to cutting into chunks rather than thin slices, and is best served slightly warm from the oven. Topped with some margarine, or soft avocado, it’s quite an addictive little snacking bread… authentic or not.

Today is also International Women’s Day! All you ladies–and men who have ladies in your lives–let’s celebrate!

Irish Soda Bread ~Vegan & Gluten Free

makes one loaf of bread


Ingredient list updated on 3/9/11

  • 2 1/2 cups sorghum flour
  • 3/4 cup potato starch
  • 1/2 cup finely ground brown rice flour
  • 1/4 cup sweet white rice flour
  • 3 tbsp organic sugar
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 4 tbsp vegan margarine, cold
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups almond milk
  • 2 tbsp flaxseed meal mixed with 4 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp coconut cream + extra for brushing
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 tbsp corn syrup or agave mixed with 1 tbsp warm water


  1. Preheat oven to 350 °F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper.
  2. In large mixing bowl, combine sorghum flour, brown rice flour, potato starch, sweet white rice flour, salt, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and xanthan gum.
  3. Sift together really well to combine all ingredients together.
  4. Use a pastry blender to cut in the margarine until it disappears into the flour mixture.
  5. Mix the almond milk with the vinegar and set aside to curdle, about 5 minutes. Combine with prepared flaxseed meal and 2 tbsp coconut cream.
  6. Gradually incorporate almond milk mixture with flour mixture into mixing bowl until a soft dough is formed. Gently fold in raisins and shape dough into a round loaf.
  7. Use your hands to pat the dough into place on the baking sheet, creating a slight dome shape. The dough will be sticky, and that’s okay.
  8. Use a sharp knife to cut an x in the middle of the loaf.
  9. Brush lightly with coconut cream and bake in preheated oven about 45-50 minutes, or until it reaches a deep golden brown and makes a “thunk” sound when tapped. Gently brush with corn syrup mixture and allow to bake the remaining 5-10 minutes. Essentially you are trying to create a shiny glaze on the loaf just before pulling it out of the oven.
  10. Do not let the total amount of baking time exceed 60 minutes. This particular loaf is prone to drying out if baked too long… so keep a watchful eye on it around the 50 minute mark, and for extra measure, go ahead and stick a knife through the middle to see if it comes out clean. It should be nice and baked through at about 55 minutes.
  11. Remove from oven and let cool briefly before slicing.

Cooking time (duration): 50 mins

Diet type: Vegan

Diet (other): Gluten free


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19 Responses to Irish-ish Soda Bread

  1. Mo says:

    Simply gorgeous!

  2. I made this for my family last night, it was a huge hit!!

  3. Gauri Radha गौरी राध says:

    This bread would be lovely with tea.

  4. Rachel says:

    Where on earth do you find sorghum flour?
    I’ve noticed you use it in so many of your recipes, but none of my local grocery stores or health food stores carry it.
    Could you suggest a good alternative?

    • allyson says:

      Hi Rachel,
      Yep, I looove sorghum flour, but it’s sorta hard for me to locate also. Luckily we do have a Meijer semi-close by that carries sorghum flour, and many other Bob’s Red Mill flours. Other than that I have to stock up during our monthly (sometimes bi-monthly) pilgrimage to Whole Foods.

      You can easily use golden or regular buckwheat flour in place of it, or even millet, maybe. A very finely ground brown rice flour would do the trick also… but it would have to be more finely ground than Bob’s Red mill to get the same texture. And, if you can tolerate gluten free oat flour, go with that. Unfortunately, I’ve found gf oat flour to be on my tummy’s no-no list. :(

      And of course, if you can tolerate gluten, you could even try subbing out AP flour for most if not all flours listed!

      Hope this helps!!

      ~ Allyson

  5. Monika K says:

    Hi there! How about some random compliments from a complete stranger… (:

    First, I really like your overall blog design – it’s friendly, light, and engaging. I read a lot of vegan blogs, but yours was the first in a while that I sent to a few friends to check out – we’ve got a vegan baking cohort going. I’m not so knowledgeable about the gluten free scene, but have definitely cooked with oat flour and enjoy learning new techniques, so consider yourself bookmarked. (:

    As an aside, I checked out your art website and found it even cooler than this one. Also bookmarked. Okay, I think that’s enough flattery for one day. Thanks!

    • allyson says:

      Oh, please… do go on!!
      No, but seriously, thank you so sincerely… you just made my day, Monika! I’m super happy you enjoy my art!
      A vegan baking cohort sounds like a dream…. lucky you! ;)
      Thank you again for the sweet comment <3 <3

  6. reney says:

    Looks good, but Irish soda bread isn’t sweet and doesn’t have fruit or spices in it.

    • allyson says:

      Thanks Reney!

      Yeah, I am pretty sure that what I (and many others) consider traditional “Irish” Soda bread could possibly better be labeled “American” soda bread. :D
      I’ve always known it to have raisins, currants and even caraway seeds… but I have also made many loaves just as a plain white bread. This recipe is not very sweet at all… just as about as much sugar as I call for in my basic white sandwich bread. Again, it’s nowhere near authentic… more of an aesthetic. :)

      I actually came across this article when doing some research for this bread a while back: http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/29657606/ns/today-food/ — might be of some interest to folks thinking the same thing. Thanks for your comment!

  7. Mihl says:

    For me there is a huge difference between quick bread and yeast bread. But it’s not about time, it’s more about the taste and texture. In Germany quick bread is almost unknown and everything that is made with baking powder/soda is called a cake, even banana bread. I don’t think anyone here could call Irish soda bread a cake though. I have to admit, I never tasted it. I really should start with your recipe and cutting it into chunks, eating it fresh from the oven sounds really tempting!

    • allyson says:

      I agree totally, Mihl! It just isn’t the same at all taste and texture-wise. It’s so interesting that quick breads are pretty much unheard of in Germany!

      I like that assesment though, that if it’s made with baking powder/soda it’s a cake! Makes perfect sense to me.

      Maybe this bread would be considered something like a giant drop biscuit? It sure reminds me of one! ;)

  8. Jeannie says:

    Great looking loaf!

  9. Katrina says:

    haha I love the title for this! Great recipe :)

  10. Caitlin says:

    i used to loooooooove irish soda bread! yours look very hearty and rustic-like. i image people in the middle ages walking around town holding a loaf of it, and tearing huge pieces of it off with their teeth throughout the day. YUM!

  11. KAM says:

    Do you know the nutritional information for your Irish Soda bread? (calories??)

  12. Looks delicious! The coconut cream, are you using a creamer like So Delicious or the creamy stuf that rises in the canned coconut milk?

    • allyson says:

      Thanks Krista!
      Yes, the creamy stuff that rises in the canned coconut milk. ;) Thanks for asking/clarifying.