This gluten-free raisin bread is based on a traditional Irish barmbrack. It is a sourdough fruit bread that has a hint of sweetness and cinnamon. It is simply divine toasted with butter. Perfect next to a strong brewed cup of Barry’s tea.
We spent several years living in a small town outside of Dublin when Max was a toddler. The local playgroup was held in a GAA pub, and they served tea with toast for a snack. Barmbrack was particular to Hallowe’en and was quite the treat.
Barmbrack is often confused with tea brack, a moist and dense fruit cake. While I’ve never actually seen a gluten-free barmbrack in the grocery store, I’ve eaten enough slices of regular barmbrack to know how to make a GF version. (I wasn’t always as strictly gluten-free as I am now).
Starting with Soured Flour
All of my gluten-free recipes start with soaked and soured flour. It’s simply the best way to make great-tasting GF baked goods.
- Soured GF flour is stickier, requiring fewer binders and starches.
- It adds a LOT of flavor. No more bland baking!
- The acidity allows for a double-rise.
Alternatives to Sourdough Starter
The recipe calls for a gluten-free sourdough starter. However, it’s not necessary to feed and maintain a starter. If you are short on time, or not interested in the work involved with keeping a sourdough starter here are a few alternatives.
The only trick is to set up the culture the day before you plan to bake. Simply mix 1 1/2 cups of liquid with 1 1/2 cups of flour, and let it sit out on the counter for 24 hours. Cover it with a tea towel, and stir once or twice to prevent it from drying out on top.
Here are a few quick options:
- Cultured dairy: Buttermilk, yogurt or milk kefir will all culture flour.
- Probiotic sodas: Kombucha and water kefir are great work-arounds. They contain yeast, which means that they will give you the double rise from the acidity and yeast. Just use an unflavored kombucha, or choose a flavor that will compliment the gluten-free barmbrack.
- Buckwheat or teff: Buckwheat and teff flour both contain a symbiotic yeast, which means they ferment quickly. The only trick is that they are both dense, high-fiber flours, and will result in a heavier, brown loaf of bread.
Gluten-Free Raisin Bread
This gluten-free raisin is based on a traditional Irish barmbrack. It is a yeast-risen fruit bread that has a hint of sweetness and cinnamon. Though the recipe calls for a GF sourdough starter, it doesn’t have to be a sourdough loaf. See the section above for 3 quick alternatives to sourdough starter.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
- Yield: 1 loaf 1x
- Category: Bread
- Method: Sourdough
- Cuisine: Irish
- Diet: Gluten Free
- 2 cups of sourdough starter (see the section above for 3 alternatives)
- 4 eggs
- 1/4 cup of melted butter
- 1 cup of gluten-free flour (see notes)
- 1 1/2 tsp sugar
- 3 tsp xanthan gum
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 cup raisins
- Preheat the oven to 400 F.
- Mix the sourdough starter with eggs, and melted butter.
- Add in the flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda. Stir so that everything is well combined. Then add in the dried fruit.
- Grease a 4 x 8-inch loaf pan. Scrape the batter into the pan. There is no need for an additional rise with this quick loaf.
- Bake for 55 to 65 minutes, until the loaf, is cooked through and browning.
- Allow to cool completely before slicing.
- Barmbrack is typically a white bread loaf. So you may want to use white rice flour rather than whole grain flour. Personally, I typically use oat flour, which is my favorite GF flour. However, for the photographs, I used a store-bought blend.
- Traditional barmbrack was made with a mix of dried fruits; raisins, currants, diced apricots. Feel free to mix it up by adding different fruits to the recipe!
- This bread needs to bake in a form, however, it doesn’t have to be loaf shape. Feel free to use a circular cake pan for our round loaf.
Keywords: Halloween, fall, fruit bread, raisin bread
Hi! I’m looking for the amount of milk in the recipe but it seems to be missing. Thanks
Oops! Thanks for catching that typo. 🙂 I had milk in an earlier version of the recipe but scrapped it in favor of butter in the final recipe. Thanks!
Thanks for this recipe! If using one of the quick culture alternatives, should only 2 cups of the result be used? Thanks!
Yes! Hope you enjoy the loaf!
This is great, I tried it with my breakfast. Superb!
I have made this bread twice and absolutely love it! It doesn’t take three days like other sourdough bread recipes. It is quick and easy and delicious! I made it with raisins the first time and the second with raisins and museli. Both fabulous! This is my go-to bread for gluten free baking. Thank you so much for this wonderful and easy recipe. I am going to bake it again this morning (the house will smell wonderful) and keep trying a mixture of dried fruit, seeds, etc.
Oooh, I haven’t tried adding museli. Thanks for the suggestion! Definitely on my to-do list the next time I bake it. Cheers!
I double the sugar, quadruple the cinnamon, add molasses, a touch of vanilla, and musli!
Oooh… I like the idea of adding muesli. I bet it would add a bit of chewiness. Thanks for sharing!