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Yeast Free and Gluten Free Traditional Irish Soda Bread

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This is one of my my favourite recipes for a wheat free and gluten free bread in the style of the traditional Irish soda bread. It does not contain yeast. The raising agent is the combination of bicarbonate of soda and a lactic acid containing milk. I find it much more filling and tasty than the shop-bought breads. 


  • 5oz Doves Farm Plain White Flour Blend
  • 4oz rice flour
  • 2.5 oz ground hazelnuts (I use a coffee grinder for this)
  • 1 oz dried milk powder
  • 1 tsp bread soda (bicarbonate of soda)
  • 1 tsp gluten free baking powder
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum (you can get this in a health food shop)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 6 or 7 fl oz (175 – 200ml) buttermilk or milk kefir


A note about the ingredients

The Flour

Doves Farm plain white flour is easily available in supermarkets and health food shops in Ireland and the UK. It’s a blend of rice, potato, tapioca, maize and buckwheat flours. Any similar gluten free flour blend can be used instead.

The Milk

Cow’s milk buttermilk is the traditional liquid but you can also use ordinary cow’s or goat’s milk which has been left to sit for half an hour with a tablespoon of lemon juice or cider vinegar stirred in. You can also make a suitable milk by mixing half fresh milk and half live natural yogurt. A third option is to use milk kefir. Although the probiotic benefits are likely to be lost in the cooking, I find milk kefir works very well for any recipe calling for buttermilk and it’s a great way to use up extra supply.

The Ground Hazelnuts

The bread in the picture was made with ground almonds instead of hazelnuts. I usually prefer the nutty taste you get from grinding hazelnuts with the skins on. To me, the hazelnut version makes a very acceptable substitute for brown soda bread in both looks and flavour. If you use ground almonds, the result is more like a white soda bread.



Preheat oven to 230c/ 450f/ gas mark 8

Sift dry ingredients together.

Lightly whisk egg and mix with the buttermilk.

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add almost all of the liquid at once. Mix in all the flour, adding the rest of the liquid if necessary.

Bring it together to make a dough as with normal soda bread. It should be soft but not too wet and sticky.


To make the traditional round cake of soda bread

Turn onto a rice flour-dusted board and tidy it up into a round about 2″ thick. Sprinkle a little rice flour onto the cooking surface, to prevent the bread from sticking. You can use a baking sheet or preferably, a shallow 18cm cake tin, to give the bread a nice round shape. Cut a deep cross in the cake.


To make as a Loaf

Alternatively, you can skip the floured board and shaping and just pour the mixture into a well-greased 2lb loaf tin. This quantity will make about 12 slices.



Bake at the high temp for 5 mins. Then reduce the oven to 180c/ 350f/ gas mark 4 for a further 25-30 mins, or until the bread is cooked.
You may wish to turn the bread upside down in the oven for the final 5 mins to get the bottom crusty. When fully cooked, the loaf will sound hollow when tapped on the base. Cool on a wire rack.


Fresh soda bread every day

Soda bread doesn’t keep very well. It tends to go dry within a day, so I like to freeze my loaf in slices on the day it is baked. That way you can enjoy a fresh slice of traditional soda bread every day for almost 2 weeks.

Hope this recipe works out well for you! Let me know how you get on or if you have questions about this recipe. If you have any favourite gluten free bread recipes you’d like to share, I’d love to hear from you.


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Classical Homeopath and CEASE Therapist

Carmel O'Keeffe is an experienced Classical Homeopath with specialist training in homeopathic detox. She offers homeopathy for all the family through 1:1 consultations, in person and online.

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