Irish Soda Bread
December 13, 2017
Irish Soda Bread is surprisingly easy to make! It’s a really fun food tradition to incorporate each St. Patrick’s Day and super delicious. I always look forward to making it with my kids.
What is Irish Soda Bread?
Irish Soda Bread is made of three primary ingredients: flour, baking soda, and buttermilk. Beyond that, it can vary widely and often with some strong opinions. Some cooks like to add sugar (me!), and some don’t. My recipe uses all white flour, but some cooks will add a little whole-wheat or rye flour. Some add a fat like butter (me again!), but you’ll see recipes where it’s melted and some where it’s cut it in cold. And maybe the most controversial addition has to do with currants, caraway, raisins, or orange peel! Who knew a bread could derive such strong opinions from home cooks.
Sweet vs. Savory
If you’re looking for a recipe for Irish Soda Bread the first decision will be whether or not you want a sweet or savory bread. The addition of sugar is technically not traditional, but I’m still a fan and like to include just a hint of sweetness. I don’t like to add too much because I like to serve it with jam.
Adding dried fruit to soda bread is another common practice and also adds some sweetness. Ingredients such as raisins or currants are popular, but others like to add spices like caraway or even grated orange zest. What’s awesome about this traditional bread recipe is that it’s really easy (and forgiving) to customize.
Bake your Bread in a Cast Iron Skillet
I’m a fan of baking my soda bread in a cast iron skillet, which gives it a nice crispy crust, but you can certainly use a traditional baking sheet. One of the biggest challenges of a soda bread is making sure the center is done. If you slice an X on top the X helps the heat to penetrate the bread. It also creates extra surface area for the super crispy crust.
Irish Soda Bread
- Yield: 6 servings 1x
- 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
- 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 cup currants
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt in a large mixing bowl.
Stir in the buttermilk and 3 tablespoons of the melted butter, using a fork, then stir in the currants. Once combined, the dough should come together. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Knead gently for just a few turns until the dough can be shaped into a 6-inch round (do not over-knead).
Place the shaped dough into a cast-iron skillet or sheet tray. Cut an “x” into the top of the round loaf, using a knife.
Bake until the center has cooked through (testing with a skewer), about 40 minutes. Slather with the remaining tablespoon melted butter.