Showing posts with label soda bread. Show all posts
Showing posts with label soda bread. Show all posts

Gluten-Free Irish Soda Bread: Spotted Dog (and tips on baking gluten-free)

Gluten free and dairy free Irish soda bread with raisins
This Spotted Dog Irish bread is yeast-free and gluten-free.

The Mother of Invention


If I call this new gluten-free bread an Irish soda bread, traditionalists will snicker. Raisins are not at all traditional in an Irish soda bread, you see. If a soda bread has raisins in it, it's called Spotted Dog over yonder, cross the pond in the Emerald Isle (or so I'm told). I never knew this, growing up on the white clapboard wilds of the Connecticut shore. I was blithely ignorant of this quaint canine moniker, despite a hefty streak of familial Irish blood (we ate more pierogi and kielbasa than Irish soda bread and tea). And out on my own- when I started baking my tender little eighteen year old heart out- my Irish soda bread had raisins.

And why not?

When it comes to traditions, I'm the first to admit- I am an upstart. I wiggle and chafe beneath constraint and "should" like an itchy school girl with pinching new shoes. I admire traditions. From afar. At least, in theory. In an abstract, symbolic way. The meaning and the message is more interesting to me than formula. When it comes to formula, I usually prefer to wing it.

Which is why I enjoy gluten-free baking.

My skill set groove runs deep on the intuitive side.

I bake like I paint. Observing. Listening. Responding to what is in front of me. If a recipe calls for x amount of flour and I sense the dough is too wet, I'll add more flour until the dough feels "right" to me. Experience helps. No doubt about it. The process of trial and error gives you a feel for gluten-free dough, an inkling about the muffin batter and how it might behave on any given day. Which varies, I hate to tell you.

So I pay attention to elements like humidity, and room temperature. Weather.

Bread dough will behave differently on a hot and humid day than it will on a windy, cold one. Your kitchen changes with the seasons, you know. So recipes may have to change a wee bit, too. The amount of milk or brown rice flour may need to be adjusted. Tweaked a tiny bit toward wet or dry.

Baking gluten-free is more of an art than a science.

I recommend you tune in to your ingredients and learn how they behave. Learn how humidity affects flour- notice it's dampness. Or dryness. Dry flours will soak up more liquid. Damp flours are heavier, and may need less moisture. A cool and drafty kitchen may require a longer rise time than a hot and sultry one. A thin metal bread pan may bake the outside of a loaf faster than the inside can keep up. Your oven may run a tad hotter than you imagined. Or lag behind and never quite pre-heat itself (do your gluten-free baked goods end up gummy in the center?).

Gluten-free baking requires your full attention. A dash of patience. An intimacy with your ingredients. A willingness to adjust. And most of all, developing an intuition you can trust.

Even if it goes against tradition.


Orange Scented Gluten-Free Irish Soda Bread

Gluten free orange scented soda bread

Good morning! Gluten-free orange scented Irish soda bread.

I do believe.



Mid January confession (now that we're half way to February and red hearts are sprouting up around chocolate displays in our local market). Valentine's Day looms. And yes, I use the word looms. Rather than a more enthusiastic awaits. Or glimmers. As in, I haven't been that into Valentine's Day lately. Not that I have anything against love. Or chocolate. Or roses. That would make me rather icy. A stone cold cynic. The prickly sort who kicks away puppies. Or grimaces at kittens and babies.

Don't worry.

I don't indulge in any such blasphemy.

I still believe in love.

And though I may be, shall we say, a tad older than the estrogen-fueled ovulating audience targeted for Valentine's Day, I am not cantankerous. Nor am I without sympathy.

It's just that I find the accoutrements to our consumerist version of love rather ridiculous. All that red lace. Glitter lipsticks. And goddess forbid.

Thongs.

Never buy a piece of clothing that requires you to shave.

Everything.

I personally prefer a little mystery in my romance. Leaving something to the imagination. But then, I am a child of the long-haired free love sixties. Pre-porn aesthetic. We didn't fear body hair.

Last year we stayed home and ate baked mac and cheese for our dinner 'o love. And settled in with a Mad Men DVD. No red silk in sight. No high heels. Not exactly glamorous. But then, you know us artists. We have paint under our fingernails. We have more books than lipsticks. We are curling iron challenged.

I've never been into the whole glossy, magazine style glamor. I am more into comfort (and warmth- after all, it is winter!). I'm not a party girl. I'd rather be home. In my flannel PJ's.

Baking a soda bread.


Irish Potato & Cabbage Soup with Soda Bread


Irish potato and cabbage soup- rustic comfort in a bowl.

Put on some Irish music and grab your apron. Here's a recipe pairing to celebrate St. Patrick's Day- whether you're a dyed in the wool Celtic lass, Scott-Irish, or only mostly Irish in spirit. Irish Potato and Cabbage Soup and gluten-free Irish Soda Bread.

Slainte!

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