Irish Soda Bread

Posted on Mar 3, 2016
5 Comments


Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread

I have been making this Irish soda bread every St. Patrick’s Day for 15 years, ever since I saw it in an issue of Saveur magazine.  It is simple and delicious, and I should make it more often.  There are many, many recipes for Irish soda bread, this one is a traditional and classic version.  For a non-baker like me, this is foolproof.

Irish Soda Bread

This bread is crusty and dense, using just flour, sugar, baking soda, butter, raisins, egg and buttermilk.  No kneading is required, just mix it up and form it into a ball.  The ball of dough is scored with an X, which some say symbolizes the cross.  I’ve also heard not to slice the bread for serving, it should be passed at the table, each person tearing off a chunk.

Irish Soda Bread

Irish soda bread is always on my table next to a big platter of corned beef and cabbage every St. Patrick’s Day.  This recipe is my favorite and never disappoints.  Any leftover bread is delicious toasted and slathered with butter for breakfast.  I really do need to start making it more than just once a year.  And so should you.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Kelly

Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread

Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients

  • 4 cups all-purpose, unbleached flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 tablespoons cold butter
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups buttermilk

Instructions

Preheat oven to 425º.  Sift dry ingredients — flour, sugar, salt and baking soda — into a large bowl.

Use a pastry cutter to mix butter into flour mixture until it looks like coarse crumbs.  Stir in raisins.

Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread

Make a well in center of flour mixture and add the egg and buttermilk.  Use a wooden spoon to mix the dough until just combined and difficult to stir.  Dust your clean hands with a little flour and gently knead the dough just until it forms a rough ball.  Transfer to a floured board and shape into a round ball with your hands.

Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread

Transfer round dough to a lightly greased baking sheet.  With a serrated knife, cut a ½-inch deep cross on top of dough.  Bake in oven for about 40 minutes, until golden and bottom sounds hollow when tapped.  Let cool briefly on a wire rack.  Serve bread warm, sliced or toasted, with butter!

Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread

*Adapted from Saveur magazine, March, 2001

5 thoughts

  1. Beth Horner

    March 4, 2016

    St. Patrick’s Day at the Wildenhaus home is always a treat! Thanks for the recipe-yum.

    Reply

  2. No kneading is required, unless you really need the dough.

    Reply

  3. Just mixed it up. It’s now waiting to bake. Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

    Reply

  4. I took this to a Saint Paddy’s Day party and it was a revelation. Delicious. For most people who were there, soda bread was a penance, a painfully dry side dish. My husband called it the Irish fruitcake–although I actually like good fruit cake, I understood his point–a dreaded part of every St. Patrick’s day. You got some fans that day. Because the recipe’s right here on the site!

    I also thought it would be fun to try currants instead of raisins sometime, and definitely make it again before next March.

    Reply

    1. Kelly

      I love it, the Irish fruitcake! Actually, this is the only soda bread I’ve made or had, I imagine others could be dry. Yes, definitely try currants instead of raisins. Next time I make it, I’m going to try dried tart cherries and some orange zest.

      Reply

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