This Irish Soda Bread will take you on a journey through history. I love this traditional Irish bread recipe as it’s easy to make and a real crowd pleaser. Together, let’s make this famous and delicious bread.
You probably already know that we specialize in everything Irish. Irish potatoes and Irish cream cold brew are two of the most popular pages of BakedBree. And they are not the only ones, I also love making those nutty Irishman cupcakes for St. Patrick’s day. So when I discovered this Irish bread recipe, I couldn’t wait to try it and trust me, you should too!
What is Irish Soda Bread?
It is a much-loved bread in Ireland, easy to bake, and favored for its savory crumb and crispy crust. It’s a comforting bake, like my recipe for braided cardamom bread. As its name suggests, this recipe originated in Ireland at the beginning of the 19th century when baking soda became widely advertised in the country and is nowadays especially popular around Saint Patrick’s day.
But what’s the difference between this recipe and a traditional soda bread recipe? Well, the dough for Irish soda bread is a mix of white flour, baking soda, and buttermilk. This combination of ingredients makes it possible to have dense bread with a beautiful honeycombed crumb and a perfect rise.
Ingredients for Irish Soda Bread //
- 3 ½ cups of wheat flour
- 1 to 1 ½ cups of buttermilk
- 1 cup of raisins
- 1 egg
- 4 tbsp of salted butter
- 1 tbsp of sugar
- 2 tbsp of baking soda (or bicarbonate soda)
How to Make // Steps
- Mix together the flour, sugar, and bicarbonate soda or baking soda.
- Add the softened and cubed butter, then sand the mixture, mixing with your hands.
- Pour in the buttermilk and beaten egg. Then mix it with a wooden spatula to get a soft dough.
- Add dry raisins to this Irish soda bread.
- Shape the dough into a large circular loaf and score it with a large cross to allow the heat get into the center.
- Place the dough in a skillet, and bake in a preheated oven at 450°F for 25 to 30 minutes.
- Leave the bread to rest. Once cooled, serve with a little bit of butter or jam.
Yes! Replace the egg with a mixture of chia seeds and water; the butter with margarine (or coconut oil for a drier texture); and the buttermilk with plant-based milk (e.g. soy, almond, oat, or coconut).
It has the texture of a dense cake with a crispy outside. This texture lends itself to making a great French toast.
You can use a 50/50 mix of milk and yogurt, or you can make your own buttermilk by mixing together milk and lemon juice. Adding lemon juice curdles the milk, thanks to the citric acid.
Yes, just replace the wheat flour with a gluten-free mixture made up of semi-whole rice flour, buckwheat flour, and cornstarch (adjust the proportions depending on how dense you want your bread).
Top Tips for Irish Soda Bread //
- Don’t knead your dough too much; otherwise, it could become too dense and firm.
- Place an aluminum film over the bread while baking to avoid too much coloring.
- Place it on a wire cooling rack as soon as it comes out of the oven to avoid overcooking the bread. This will allow steam to escape more easily.
- Add other dried fruits such as apricots for a sweeter version. This works with practically all dried fruits such as cranberries, dates, or prunes.
- Replace the white flour with wholemeal flour. It will add a rougher texture to your bread, perfect for pairing with smoked salmon.
- Add different seeds to fill your bread with fiber. I suggest walnuts, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, poppy seeds, or pumpkin seeds.
Storing Recommendations //
Place your Irish Soda Bread in Saran wrap to keep it fresh for longer. Make sure to wrap it in an airtight film to prevent the bread from drying out too much. You can keep it for up to 2 or 3 days at room temperature.
Irish soda bread also freeze extremely well. Freeze it as soon as it has cooled down. It is delicious for breakfast fresh out of the toaster with butter and jam.