Spotted Dog Soda Bread

Spotted Soda Bread with currants from Gluten Free Canteen

St. Paddy’s customs are many the world over from green beer (hello, America and um, Dubai) to green leprechauns (Keebler Elves?) on parade in Tokyo, but one thing remains the same in celebration of St. Paddy’s Day everywhere. Soda bread.

In fact, while corned beef and cabbage is all American, lamb or bacon (ham) and potatoes, maybe cabbage or Irish stew, with soda bread is a much more a traditional Irish dinner. Soda bread is prepared lots of creative ways these days (think exotic dried fruits and spices, for instance) but it still usually involves mixing bunches of plain wheat flour with some baking soda, too much salt, the requisite sour or buttermilk and sometimes currants or raisins (called spotted dog soda bread). Anything more than that, like lots of sugar, flavorings, lots of eggs and nuts is called a tea bread. Not soda bread.

If you haven’t had soda bread, you might be missing out on something fantastic. Don’t expect it to be anything but rustic looking – think giant scone. It’s the easiest thing to prepare and if you wait just long enough for the bread to cool, it slices easily. Eat it warm and the slices might crumble a little. It is a great thing to have for breakfast or to accompany a hearty stew or savory dinner. Soda bread also likes to be buttered with slightly too much of the stuff.

I like to add currants or raisins and serve it for breakfast with butter and jam. We try to wait until it’s cool enough to slice properly, but most of the time we end up just pulling off pieces (because we have no manners).

No matter what you’re serving for dinner or breakfast, make a little soda bread. You won’t be sorry. And a reminder – it can be dairy-free by taking your favorite non dairy milk and adding a bit of lemon juice to sour it (so to speak). It won’t have that same tangy buttermilk flavor, but it will still be a great bread. Change the unsalted butter for non dairy butter or shortening. This recipe is an adaptation from one of Ina Garten’s recipes, modestly changed and of course, gluten-free.

Happy St. Paddy’s Day. And just in case you want a 411 on the holiday here you go.  Need world-wide celebration ideas? Or visiting Dubai and want some green beer? And of course, the leprechauns parading around Tokyo.


Spotted Dog Soda Bread from Gluten Free Canteen

Spotted Dog Soda Bread
adapted from Ina Garten's Irish Soda Bread
  • 455 grams Canteen flour blend (3½ cups) (see notes)
  • 100 grams toasted rolled oats (1 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 45 grams unsalted butter, cold, cubed (3 tablespoons)
  • 360 grams cold buttermilk (1½ cups)
  • 1 extra-large egg
  • 160 grams currants or raisins (1 cup)
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl blend together flour, oats, baking soda and salt until combined. Add cold, cubed butter to flour mixture and blend with a fork until butter is mixed in and looks like uneven coarse crumbs - no need to evenly mix it in - better to leave larger pieces. In a small bowl whisk together the buttermilk with the egg. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the liquid. Mix with a fork until dough comes away from the sides of the bowl and is well combined. Stir in currants. Working quickly form the dough into a ball with wet hands. Place on the parchment and using wet hands and fingers, smooth the ball of dough into a nice round shape, like a half-dome. Using a sharp wet paring knife, slice a very shallow X in the top.
  2. Place in the heated oven and bake 15 minutes. Turn the oven temperature down to 375°F and bake 55-65 minutes more or until the internal temperature reads 200°F on an instant read thermometer and the crust is dark golden brown.It does take a while to bake all the way through, so be patient. Expect it to have cracks. Cool on a rack until room temperature and slice using a serrated knife.
-see right sidebar, About Flour for Canteen blend
- (DF) add 1 teaspoon lemon juice to non dairy milk to sour it
- (DF) sub non dairy butter or shortening in place of unsalted butter



  1. I finished off the last of this toasted with jam for breakfast this morning. It was a great addition to our St. Patrick’s day celebration.