You guys. This Irish Soda bread. Seriously, SO GOOD.
And it only took me 7 tries… Ha. Not kidding.
Was it worth it? Absolutely! I was so determined to make a Paleo version of Irish Soda bread that would also be nut-free, since I have several friends who can’t eat or bake with tree nuts. I know almond flour is a reliable baking flour, but I wanted to experiment with other flours to try and create a bread that would be worthy of St. Patrick’s Day!
I don’t normally put butter on bread, but I always make an exception for Irish Soda Bread. I knew whatever butter I used had to be extra special, so I whipped up an easy Orange Honey Butter and WOW. What an incredible flavor combination!
So, what’s so special about Irish Soda Bread that I’d persist through 7 failed attempts?
There’s some nostalgia with this bread that takes me back to the days of baking in the kitchen with my mom. We’re not Irish, but we ARE bread-lovers, and St. Patrick’s Day always meant a good excuse to bake Irish Soda Bread together. We liked our soda bread sweet, so we’d add sugar to the dough and a big handful of raisins. We’d brush the loaf with butter while it was baking and slather it with more butter when we sliced it. We loved it so much that it became a side to our soup, dessert with our coffee, and the leftovers were our breakfast in the morning. Mmmm…
Irish Soda Bread also reminds me of college. My friends and I would often make the short drive from Grove City College to our favorite restaurant in Slippery Rock, PA – the North Country Brewery. This place had amazing food and beer, but the standout for me was their Irish Soda Bread loaf served with butter. I always ordered it! Just thinking of those visits to the Brewery still makes me crave warm Irish Soda Bread and butter!
Since my blissful bread-eating days, food changed drastically for me with a celiac diagnosis, and even more so after going grain-free. That meant bye bye to Irish Soda Bread forever (or so I thought). And then I discovered the Paleo diet and all of the flour alternatives, and I had hope! One day, I might taste glorious Irish Soda Bread again!
Friends, that day has arrived! 🙂
Now, keep in mind, traditional Irish Soda Bread is 4 ingredients- flour, buttermilk, baking soda, salt. This is definitely an Americanized and Paleo take on a classic, with coconut and tapioca flours, added egg, flax, coconut sugar, raisins, and butter. While I don’t normally eat much dairy, I do eat grass-fed butter and, occasionally, grass-fed cheese. If you’re strictly dairy-free, you can make this bread using coconut oil. It will bake a little lighter and less crisp, but it still tastes great. Both are pictured below.
The basic process for this bread involves a preheated cast iron skillet, a coconut cream “buttermilk,” and a biscuit-like dough. For the buttermilk, I used a can of full-fat coconut milk, scooped out the cream, and mixed it with some apple cider vinegar. For the dough, you’ll want cold butter or solid coconut oil to cut into your dry ingredients before adding the raisins. I used a pastry cutter for this process.
Once your butter is incorporated and you add raisins, then you want to mix in the coconut cream “buttermilk” and egg. I added 1/2 cup to start and then a spoonful or two more, to get a crumbly texture that was able to hold together to be formed into a dough. The acid in the buttermilk reacts with the baking soda to help it rise, along with the egg and cream of tartar.
Form your dough into a round loaf, place it in a greased preheated skillet, and slice the signature “X” into it. Top with extra sugar, bake, and it should look something like this!
You could totally eat the bread plain, but I highly recommend it with Orange Honey Butter! It’s simple to whip up! I just combined orange zest, wildflower honey, and grass-fed Kerrygold butter. So much yum.
So, while you’re drinking green beer and eating Irish Stew today, make sure you take some time to enjoy a thick slice of Paleo Irish Soda Bread with Orange Honey Butter! Have a happy St. Patrick’s Day and may the luck of the Irish be with you!
- 1 cup tapioca starch
- ½ cup coconut flour (I used Trader Joe's brand)
- ¼ cup coconut sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon flax seed meal
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 4 tablespoons grass-fed butter or coconut oil
- ½ cup raisins
- 1 can full-fat canned coconut milk (cream only)
- ½ tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 egg
- 4 tablespoons grass-fed butter, softened
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ½ teaspoon orange zest
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place an ungreased cast iron skillet or baking sheet in the oven to preheat.
- Open a can of full-fat coconut milk and remove just the cream, leaving the water behind. Place it in a small bowl and add apple cider vinegar. Stir well, then let sit for 5 minutes.
- Once oven preheats, remove pan and grease with butter or coconut oil. Let it sit out for a couple minutes while you make the dough.
- In a medium bowl, combine flours and dry ingredients. Cut in the butter or coconut oil with a pasty cutter until the mixture starts to look like pebbles. Add raisins and give it a stir.
- Place your egg in a bowl and whisk until beaten. Add ½ cup of your coconut milk and vinegar mixture and whisk together.
- Pour wet ingredients into the dry and stir gently until incorporated. You might have to use your hands! Dough should be crumbly but hold together. If dough feels too dry, add extra coconut milk/vinegar.
- Place dough on greased cast iron skillet or baking sheet and make it round and slightly flattened.
- Cut a large "X" across the stop, making sure to cut at least halfway through the dough.
- Sprinkle top with coconut sugar.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean and loaf is somewhat firm to touch.
- Allow to cool for at least 10-15 minutes before cutting.
- Serve plain or slathered with Orange Honey Butter. Store wrapped in foil or plastic wrap. Bread tastes best when it's fresh out of the oven, but it should keep for a few days.
- Stir or whip softened butter until light and fluffy.
- Add orange zest and honey and give it another stir.
- Spread on Paleo Irish Soda Bread or other baked items!
~I baked this on both a cast iron skillet and baking sheet and I preferred the skillet version.
~You could try substituting real buttermilk for the coconut cream buttermilk, but the amounts might need to be adjusted. Start with less and add more as needed. Don't let dough get too wet!
~I tried making the "buttermilk" with unsweetened almond milk and it didn't work so well in this recipe.