Irish soda bread

Photo courtesy of Sandi Kern

Gluten-free, dairy-free Irish Soda Bread

The luck of the Irish was with me earlier this week when I received a phone call from Sandi Kern, an integrative nutrition health coach in Washington.

With St. Patrick’s Day just around the corner, Sandi – at the urging of a friend – wanted to share a gluten-free, dairy-free version of traditional Irish Soda Bread.

A quick word about Irish Soda Bread: The classic quick bread uses baking soda as a leavening agent, and usually made with buttermilk, currants and caraway seed. Before baking, a cross is slashed in the top of the bread. The cross, according to Irish lore, is intended to scare off the devil.

Sandi’s recipe calls for milk, but she makes it dairy-free by substituting unsweetened coconut milk for cow’s milk. She notes that any unsweetened nut milk also will work. She uses Earth Balance Vegan Buttery sticks in place of the butter.

“I’m not a chef, but I make it dairy free, and it’s outrageous,” Sandi says.

A buy-local advocate, she uses raw honey from Bedillion’s in Burgettstown.

To make the bread more traditional, Sandi sometimes adds a teaspoon of caraway seeds. Go easy, though, she cautions: caraway imparts a strong flavor.

Sandi operates Desire To Be Well health coaching, and promotes allergy-friendly recipes to help inspire overall wellness.

Irish Soda Bread


2 cups gluten-free flour mix

2 teaspoons xanthan gum

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) room temperature butter or ghee

2 eggs

3/4 cup milk or unsweetened coconut milk

1 teaspoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons raw honey

1 cup currants or raisins

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Dump all of the ingredients into a large mixing bowl and beat on medium speed until well combined. Do not over mix.

Dump dough onto a terra cotta stone. Shape into a circular mound.

Bake 30 to 45 minutes or until knife inserted in middle comes out clean. Let sit 30 minutes before slicing.

Serve it warm with butter (or vegan spread) alongside a hearty stew, or just enjoy it all by itself!


And while we’re on the subject of St. Paddy’s Day, did you know ...

  • Boston was the first city in the United States to host a St. Patrick’s Day celebration, in 1737?
  • Each leaf of a four-leaf clover has meaning: hope, faith, luck and love?
  • You have a 1 in 10,000 chance of finding a four-leaf clover?
  • Beer is one of the holiday’s most-consumed beverages?
  • Blue, not green, was the original color associated with St. Patrick’s Day?
  • The shamrock is Ireland’s national flower?
  • The city of Chicago dyes the Chicago River green every year, and the color sticks around for about five hours?
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