Delicious Irish Soda Bread Recipe
Spring has sprung, and we’re getting into the spirit with an Irish Soda Bread recipe perfect for St. Patrick’s Day. This recipe is simple, tasty, and festive, and bonus: it doesn’t require many special ingredients!
Though the bread isn’t complicated, it’s origins are unusual. Many of us may have heard that soda bread was first created in Ireland, but that’s not the whole truth. The Native Americans were actually the first to develop a leavening alternative to yeast; they used pearl ash as a natural form of soda. Soda bread in its current form was first made in Ireland in the 1830’s when modern baking soda (or bicarbonate of soda) was introduced as a baking product.
This recipe has a short ingredient list, but there are some substitutions that you can try to make it even easier. Don’t have buttermilk on hand? There are easy ways to create a buttermilk alternative using milk and vinegar or lemon juice. Caraway seeds are a traditional and essential touch, but if you can’t find them in the grocery store, they’re easy to source online (and they’re inexpensive, too.)
Soda bread is delicious for breakfast, and you can create a simple sweet twist to make it even more yummy for a Saturday morning brunch! Increase the sugar to 4 tablespoons and add currants instead of caraway seeds.
Who doesn’t love a bread recipe that doesn’t take time to rise?! It’s one of the best parts about quick breads (bread made with baking soda). Once you’ve baked your hot and delicious loaf of soda bread, it’s time to serve it up alongside some other traditional Irish dishes. There’s a great recipe on the blog for Irish Stew that would work well! Once you’ve made a St. Patricks’ Day feast, make sure to check out some of the other international recipes on the blog! Discovering food around the world is so much fun.
Makes – 1 (10-inch) loaf
- 4 cups All Purpose Flour + more for dusting
- 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 2 tablespoons Sugar
- 2 teaspoons Caraway Seeds
- 6 tablespoons Unsalted Butter, cubed into small pieces and chilled
- 1 large Egg, beaten
- 1½ cup cold Buttermilk
Instructions for Irish Soda Bread
- Preheat the oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or generously grease a 10-inch cast-iron skillet.
- In a large bowl combine the all-purpose, sugar, baking soda, salt and the caraway seeds. Mix well.
3. Add the cubes of chilled butter and with a fork or a pastry blender, mix it with the flour, till the flour looks like coarse breadcrumbs.
4. Make a well in the center and add the beaten egg, followed by the buttermilk.
5. Mix it with a spatula until everything is combined into a sticky, shaggy dough.
6. Dump the shaggy dough into a well-floured counter top or work surface. With well-floured hand, pat the dough into a ball. DO NOT KNEAD THE DOUGH. Kneading and overworking the dough will make a dense and dry bread.
7. Using a serrated knife, score an X on the top of the dough.
8. Place the dough on the prepared baking sheet or cast-iron skillet.
9. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes. The bread it done when it sounds hollow when tapped.
10. Let the bread cool in the pan for 10 minutes, before finishing cooling on a wire rack.
11. Slice and serve plain or toasted with butter or jam or with hearty stews and soups.
12. Once cooled wrapped tightly in tinfoil, if not serving immediately.
- If you don’t have buttermilk, add two tablespoon of white vinegar in a measuring cup. Add milk till it reaches the 1½ cup mark. Let it stand for 10 minutes and then whisk it well. Use it in place of buttermilk.
- Make sure all the ingredients are cold, especially the butter and buttermilk. Cold butter and buttermilk will result in soft moist crumbs.
- Soda bread can dry out really fast, so store the leftovers, tightly wrapped in tinfoil at room temperate. Use in 2 to 3 days. It is not a great make ahead recipe.