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Phil Vickery's gluten-free soda bread

Phil Vickery / 02 June 2016

A quick and easy gluten free soda bread loaf that uses Phil Vickery's sorghum flour blend.

Phil Vickery's gluten free soda bread
Phil Vickery's gluten free soda bread

Preparation time

15 minutes

Cooking time

40 minutes


1 small loaf


  • 175g gf sorghum flour blend (see below), plus extra for dusting
  • 75g gf oat flour
  • 1 level teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 11/2 level teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon light soft brown sugar
  • 200ml buttermilk about 75ml milk
  • 2 teaspoons gluten free rolled oats for the top, or a dusting of gluten free wholegrain flour

Sorghum flour blend

I use a sorghum flour blend wherever possible because I like its flavour and higher protein and fibre content. 

Sorghum flour can be used in preference to (or blended with) brown rice flour for a finer texture. It is soft, slightly sweet and gives good results when combined with millet and oat flours for an alternative gluten-free blend. A wholegrain, milled to light tan-coloured flour, sorghum isn’t suitable for delicate paler cakes, but is good for muffins, cookies, fruitcakes and other bakes where a lighter colour and flavour are not critical. 

It is also good for when you would use a light wholemeal type of flour.

Makes 500g

  • 175g (35 per cent) gluten-free sorghum flour
  • 175g (35 per cent) potato starch
  • 150g (30 per cent) gluten-free tapioca flour

Sift all the flours together very thoroughly and evenly, or put into a food-processor and pulse until well mixed. Store in an airtight container.


This is a simple and fast bread to make fresh for breakfast. The bicarbonate of soda is activated by the acidity of the buttermilk. If you like you can add mixed seeds, chopped fresh herbs or olives, sundried tomatoes, dried fruit or chorizo. You can also make it without the oat flour; just make it up to 250g flour in total.

1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/gas mark 7. Line a baking tray with baking parchment and dust liberally with flour.

2. In a large bowl, measure the flours, xanthan gum, bicarbonate of soda, salt and sugar, and mix well so they are evenly combined.

3. Pour the buttermilk over the dry ingredients and stir in enough milk to form a thick, sticky dough.

4. Tip the dough out onto the floured baking parchment; it will still break and crumble. Coat your hands in flour if the dough is sticky, and lift the dough and turn it to shape it into a ball, rather than kneading it. This will help to give the bread a soft, melting texture.

5. When you have a fairly smooth ball, pat the top with the oats or wholegrain flour, transfer to a baking tray and then flatten the top slightly. Leave in a warm place for 15 minutes to rise.

6. Use a sharp knife to score the bread into four, cutting almost through to the base, and taking care not to knock the air out.

7. Bake for about 40 minutes until golden brown and cooked through: tap the bottom and it should sound ‘hollow’. Set aside to cool on a rack and enjoy warm and fresh on the same day, or freeze.

You can make individual soda breads in a muffin tin. Weigh out about 75g of the dough onto a square of baking parchment. Drop the dough into 8 holes of a muffin tin and then bake for 30 minutes, or until nicely browned on the top and sides.

Essential Gluten-Free by Phil Vickery. Published by Kyle Books. Priced £19.99. Photographed by Kate Whitaker.


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.