Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Irish Soda Bread

What is Irish soda bread?  As far as I can tell there is nothing "Irish" about it.  I think that's why Tay and I felt the need to include the green.

Soda breads in general are more of a method than a type of bread.  Since it is a "quick bread" there is no yeast involved, meaning if you have a fear of yeast breads, this is for you!  Baking soda is used as the leavening agent (i.e. what makes the bread...bready).  Before baking soda was a commercial product, (think 1900's) the baking soda would be replaced with the ashes of plants soaked in water... yum?  Today we use this same thing as fertilizer (compost). ICK!  

Now that I have bored you with a history lesson, it's time to talk about how great this bread is.  While it is a dense bread, I find it wonderful for breakfast.  While in traditional Irish soda bread currants are used, you can use any variety of dried fruits.  I toyed with the idea of using dates... because I really want to make something with dates... but then decided to use something a little more traditional.  You could eliminate the currants and orange zest all together and have this bread as a side to some hearty Irish stew.

No matter how you enjoy this, it is easy and sure to please everyone.  It might just become a staple in your house...I know we are on the way.

Irish Soda Bread
Prep Time: 30 min
Cook Time: 45 - 55 min
Makes: 1 loaf
Taken from: Food Network - Ina Garten


  • 4 cups flour, plus extra for currants
  • 4 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter
  • 1 3/4 cups cold buttermilk, shaken
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 1 cup dried currants, raisins, or cranberries
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Cover a sheet pan with parchment paper.  In a large bowl (or in my case the bowl of my stand mixer with the paddle attachment) combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt.  Chop the cold butter into 1/2 inch pieces and then add it to the bowl.  On low, (or with your fingers if mixing by hand) mix until the butter is completely incorporated.
In a separate small bowl, mix the cold buttermilk, egg, and orange zest together.
While the mixer is on slowly, add the liquid ingredients to the dry.
Add 1 Tbsp of flour to your currants (in my case raisins) and toss to cover.
Add this to your dough and mix until combined.  The dough will be very wet.
Dump the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead  (only a time or two) until you have a round loaf.
Transfer the loaf to your parchment lined sheet pan and cut a 1/2 inch deep "X" in the top.  Bake for 45 - 55 minutes (mine took the entire 55).  

When done, you will be able to insert an knife and have it come out clean.  The loaf will also sound hollow.  Allow to cool on a baking rack until ready to serve.

I like to have mine with cream cheese and jam (or just jam) for breakfast.  It's also sweet enough to go great plain with coffee.

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  1. I've never made bread, but you made this seem so easy! I great recipe with the upcoming holiday!

    1. Thank you. This is the perfect recipe to start baking bread with. :-)