Irish Soda Bread, a traditional yeast free quick bread with loads of flavor, a crispy crust, soft moist interior, great texture, and dotted with raisins.
After a visit to Ireland, and the opportunity to try the Irish Soda Bread in many different areas of Ireland, I knew I needed to make my own version. It is thick and hearty, with a light sweetness, and the addition of raisins adds even more flavor. The crust is the perfect amount of crispiness thanks to a baste of butter and buttermilk, and the interior moist and tender with great texture. This bread is a winner.
Irish Soda Bread
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Don’t wait for St. Patrick’s Day or some other holiday to make this delicious Irish Soda Bread. It is an easy quick bread with so much flavor, and it mixes together easily in your traditional stand mixer. I love whipping up a batch to eat with a good bowl of stew, or just went I want a few tasty carbs.
What is Irish Soda Bread?
Soda bread is different from a traditional bread because it uses sodium bicarbonate instead of yeast as a leavening agent. It is a variety of quick bread traditionally made in a variety of cuisines, but most well known in Irish cuisine.
Is Irish Soda Bread Good For You?
There are all kinds of debates on the subject of what is good for you and what isn’t, but Irish soda bread is 100% natural. It uses baking soda as a leavening agent instead of yeast so it won’t leave you feeling bloated. And the buttermilk gives flavor and texture to the bread without adding anything bad for you. So I guess the answer depends on whether or not you smother it with too much butter or marmalade.
Is Irish Soda Bread actually from Ireland?
The answer is yes, sort of. Many cuisines make breads with this method of using baking soda or soda bicarbonate instead of yeast. However, the aroma and taste of traditional soda bread is unique to Ireland, and while you can find it in grocery stores, many Irish families still bake their own bread daily.
Sodium bicarbonate was introduced into Ireland in 1840. But the bread really became popular because it is made with only the most basic of ingredients: flour, baking soda, soured milk to moisten and activate the soda, and salt.
The bread became a part of daily life because of the simplicity. It could be baked over open hearths, griddles, in iron pots, and even over turf fires. The results were this tender and dense bread with a hard crust, and loads of flavor. Families would make it every 2-3 days, and eat it with their main meal.
Your Soda Bread doesn’t have the cross cut in, why?
If you check out my video you will see I cut a cross into the top for the video. But I did not for the photos because I wanted to show that you could do it either way. The cross was cut into the top with a knife as a way to ward off the devil and protect the family or household. It has no purpose as far as the baking of the bread goes.
Soda bread is actually shaped in different shapes based on the region of Ireland in which it is being prepared. In the Southern regions you get the round loaf with the cross mark on top. But in the North, it is often flattened into a disc and cut into four triangles, much like a scone, and cooked on a flat griddle.
The traditional service of the bread is for a section to be broken off, the piece then split and buttered warm.
How do you eat Irish Soda Bread?
- With Butter! A classic, and my personal favorite way. It has a lot of flavor for a bread, so a simple butter is all you need.
- With a citrus marmalade. Citrus marmalade often has a little bitterness to it, which pairs nicely with this heavier, heartier, sweeter bread.
- With Irish Beef Stew!
Irish Soda Bread
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup white sugar
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 Tbs baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup Kerry Gold Irish Butter softened
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 egg
- 1 cup Raisins optional
- 1/4 cup butter melted
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
- Lightly grease a large baking sheet.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and Kerry Gold Irish Butter.
- Stir in 1 cup of buttermilk and egg. And raisins if adding them.
- Knead in a stand mixer for 5 minutes. Or turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand for 5-7 minutes.
- Form dough into a round and place on prepared baking sheet.
- In a small bowl, combine melted butter with 1/4 cup buttermilk
- Brush loaf with butter and buttermilk mixture.
- Use a sharp knife to cut an 'X' into the top of the loaf.
- Bake in preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, approximately 50-60 minutes. Check for doneness after 35 minutes.
- Baste loaf with the butter and buttermilk mixture at 20 minutes and 40 minutes, while it bakes.
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