Baking Brooklyn Cooking Food Recipes

Irish Soda Bread

Happy St. Paddy’s Day!!

A day known for lots of green, leprechauns, shamrocks, and, well, drinking, if that’s your thing. But historically, this is a religious day used to honor the feast of St. Patrick and to celebrate Irish culture, of course!

One of the things I loved about going to high school in Brooklyn is that my friends came from so many different backgrounds, countries, religions, and cultures, which exposed me to loads of new things, including this soda bread. The first time I ever tried or even heard of it was when a good friend of mine brought some into school for all of us to try and it was something we all began looking forward to each year!

What I’ve learned is that Irish soda bread is the type of food born out of necessity during tough times when supplies were low and hunger was high. With only a few basic, cheap ingredients and the fact that it is a no fuss, quick bread, it became a staple on many tables in Ireland.

I loved how fast it all came together and in just a little over an hour it was all done and ready to eat. Baking soda, instead of yeast, acts as the leavening agent, and it is activated by the sour buttermilk, giving the bread a soft, fluffy inside. Traditionally it is also made using raisins or currants, but while shopping at Trader Joe’s the other day, I couldn’t find currants, but did find an delicious “Golden Berry Blend” of cherries, blueberries, cranberries, and golden raisins that provided some bright flavors, in addition to the orange zest, and dotted the bread with beautiful, festive colors.

This type of bread has a very short shelf life, so indulge while you can and have a safe and happy St. Paddy’s Day!

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Irish Soda Bread

Ingredients

Recipe adapted from Ina Garten’s Irish Soda Bread

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold, unsalted butter cut into cubes
  • 1 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 1 cup dried currants (I used a combination of dried cherries, blueberries, cranberries, and golden raisins)

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 375ยฐF and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Combine 4 cups of flour, 4 tablespoons of sugar, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
  3. Once thoroughly combined, add the 4 tablespoons of cold butter and mix on low until fully incorporated.
  4. In a measuring cup, beat the 1 3/4 cup of buttermilk, 1 egg, and 1 teaspoon of grated orange zest and slowly added to the flour and butter mixture.
  5. Toss the dried fruit in flour to prevent it from sinking while baking and mix into the dough. The dough will be very sticky and wet.
  6. Turn the dough onto a well-floured surface and gently knead into a round loaf.
  7. Place the loaf onto the prepared baking sheet, and with a serrated knife, cut an X into the top.
  8. Bake for about 55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean and the bread sounds hollow when you tap it.
  9. Cool completely before serving โ™ง

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20 Comments

  • Reply
    Heidie
    March 17, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    Yummy!

  • Reply
    Ginger
    March 17, 2015 at 1:12 pm

    Looking great!

  • Reply
    Hari Qhuang
    March 17, 2015 at 8:01 pm

    Oh, it “bloomed” so beautifully.
    That’s how we say it in Indonesian. How should I say it in English? ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Reply
    For The Love of Ghee
    March 17, 2015 at 8:39 pm

    I really like the color of the cherries in the bread. Looks so good!

  • Reply
    lapetitepaniere
    March 18, 2015 at 2:24 am

    This bread looks sublime ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Loretta
    March 18, 2015 at 8:23 am

    I’ve seen so many Irish soda bread recipes this week, and yours looks so colorful. My husband loves raisin bread, so I might try yours and see how I make out. Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply
      Justine @ Born and Bred in Brooklyn
      March 18, 2015 at 3:57 pm

      Definitely give it a go. The variety of dried fruit gives it a nice little kick. Thanks for stopping by! ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Reply
        Loretta
        March 18, 2015 at 4:38 pm

        I did give it a go this afternoon……wow, even though you said it would be sticky, I thought whoa!!!!! I just used dried currants and it was simply perfect. I had a tough time trying to shape it into a large ball. The taste was amazing! Thanks for the recipe, I didn’t realize how easy it would be. I also used lowfat buttermilk, as I there wasn’t any other kind.

        • Reply
          Justine @ Born and Bred in Brooklyn
          March 18, 2015 at 8:16 pm

          That’s so awesome, Loretta! I’m so happy that it turned out well ๐Ÿ˜€ It definitely is very sticky when you first take it out, but adding a little extra flour should do the trick. Also, lowfat buttermilk is totally okay, you just needed the sourness from it to activate the baking soda. So happy it worked!

          • Loretta
            March 18, 2015 at 9:09 pm

            Thanks Justine, I’ll try to send you a picture. I was going to blog about it, but my hands were so sticky and to try to get pictures was a bit of a task, but I did take one of the end product. My husband absolutely loved it. :). I’ll try it again, but this time try to get it more round. I did add the flour, but it was still pretty sticky, but baked a treat :). Thanks again ๐Ÿ™‚

          • Justine @ Born and Bred in Brooklyn
            March 19, 2015 at 9:49 am

            Wonderful! I love forward to seeing it ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Reply
    Nancy
    March 19, 2015 at 12:16 pm

    LOVE that overhead shot of the whole loaf…it’s stunning! This is some of the best looking Irish soda bread I’ve seen…I imagine the flavor and texture are perfect. Lovely and delicious!

    • Reply
      Justine @ Born and Bred in Brooklyn
      March 19, 2015 at 4:52 pm

      That’s unbelievably sweet of you, Nancy! I loved how it turned out and I think I’ll make it a St. Patrick’s Day tradition ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Reply
    afashionneverland
    March 24, 2015 at 3:36 pm

    A friend of mine is Irish and her mom always makes this! I’ve always wanted to learn to make it myself so I might just have to try this out. thanks! xx

    afashionneverland.blogspot.com

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