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