For a healthy and delicious version of the traditional bread, this grain-free Irish soda bread is a favorite at my house! It can be made plain, or studded with walnuts and raisins for a “spotted dog” version.
You might think from my flaming red hair (though the older I get, the less it flames) that I have Irish blood in me. And you would be right. Though my red hair comes mainly from my Dutch father’s side, my mom’s family is a bunch of Irish.
Even though it’s there, the Irish roots don’t really show up in my family beside a love of beer and a bunch of Catholics. At least, there’s pretty much no Irish-ness in my family in the food department.
But I like to explore my family’s heritage, and learn some of the foods that go along with it. I’ve already made colcannon and shepherd’s pie for my family – they’re always a huge hit! – and soda bread was next on my list of Irish foods to try.
A little about soda bread.
Traditionally, Irish soda bread was cooked on a griddle and had many versions, some made with Guinness, treacle (molasses), walnuts, herbs, and a sweetened version with caraway and raisins. Irish soda bread made with raisins is called “spotted dog,” which happens to be my family’s favorite way to eat it.
While there are myriads of soda bread versions on the internet, in Ireland, soda bread is typically made from soft wheat, with buttermilk, yogurt, or stout to activate the baking soda.
Grain-free Irish soda bread.
Of course, not being able to eat gluten, or tolerate most grains, I used a combo of almond flour, coconut flour, and arrowroot powder. Since it’s a grain-free bread, it needs a couple eggs to help hold it together, even though most soda breads don’t use eggs and are a tad more crumbly than yeasted breads.
Since I make my own kefir, I subbed that for the traditional buttermilk. If you want to try and make it dairy-free, you can use coconut yogurt and solid-state coconut oil in place of the kefir and butter. Just please note, I haven’t made it this way, I’m just saying it’ll probably work based on my years of grain-free, dairy-free baking!
My family loves all the fun things, so I add in raisins and walnuts to make this grain-free Irish soda bread a spotted dog version. If you’re wanting to make it low carb/keto, you might want to leave out the raisins. It’s still gonna be tasty, so don’t worry.
Just a note for low carb, this does have carbs, ’cause of the arrowroot powder. So just use it for a treat or whatever. If you want a specific carb count, you can plug the ingredients into an online counter.
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Grain-Free Irish Soda Bread with Raisins & Walnuts
Free from grain, gluten, and sugar.
- 1 cup milk kefir (you can get your own milk kefir grains here)
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 cup almond flour
- 2/3 cup arrowroot powder
- 1/4 cup coconut flour
- 1 tablespoon psyllium husk powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/2 cup organic raisins
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 400 and lightly grease a small cast-iron skillet. Stick the skillet in the oven to preheat.
In a small bowl, combine kefir, egg, and baking soda. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together flours, psyllium, and salt.
Grate butter into dry ingredients and toss lightly with a fork to combine.
Lightly chop raisins and walnuts, if using, then stir in to the dry ingredients.
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Mix quickly and carefully until just combined (make sure there’s no dry ingredients on the bottom of the bowl!).
Remove preheated skillet from the oven and carefully pour/spread dough into a hill shaped loaf in the pan. Sprinkle lightly with almond flour.
Return skillet to the oven, turn the oven down to 375, and bake for 35-40 minutes on a center rack.
Eat warm with butter.
Recipe inspiration from Frugal Farm Wife.