This Irish Soda Bread is sweet and savory – perfect as a crisp toast for breakfast or a snack with tea or coffee.
Read on to find out how I baked my first ever Irish Soda Bread.
I live in Boston now, the port where Irish immigrants landed in large numbers, of course they also landed elsewhere in America. But Boston has a long history of embracing the Irish during the historic famine of 1845-1849 and as immigrants to the USA. Befittingly and in honour of its Irish heritage Boston hosts a St. Patrick’s Day Parade every March 17th. And predictably so, green clover leaves and Irish foods start appearing in grocery stores.
Every festival is about food, isn’t it?
That is how I got to taste some Irish Soda Bread recently and loved it!Which meant that I had to bake it home. That’s what I did just recently to be ready for a relaxed saturday morning on St. Patty’s Day. We might get some drinks in later in the day, but to start with I will enjoy my morning cup of tea with a slice of Irish Soda Bread.
To bake my loaf I adapted a recipe from Ina Garten.
Total prep time – 1 hour
Active: 10-15 minutes, Baking: 45-50 minutes
Ingredients for Irish Soda Bread
- All Purpose Flour 3 cups (Ina’s recipe uses only all-purpose flour – I mixed it up)
- Whole Wheat Flour 1 cup
- Sugar 4 tbsp
- Baking Soda 1 1/2 tsp
- Salt 1 1/2 tsp (Ina’s recipe called for Kosher salt, I used Sea Salt)
- Olive Oil 4 tbsp (Ina’s recipe calls for butter)
- Buttermilk 1 3/4 cups (if not available fresh, make from powdered mix)
- Egg 1
- Orange Zest 1 tsp (I used a mandarin)
- Black Raisins 1 cup (Ina’s recipe calls for Currants)
- Mixing bowls and whisk or spatula; or a stand mixer with the beater attachment.
- Baking sheet and parchment paper or use a spray oil and additional flour .
- Measuring bowls and measuring spoons
Preheat oven to 375 F ~ 190 C while you proceed to make the dough.
To begin measure all the dry ingredients – flour, salt, baking soda and sugar in one bowl. Mix well. If using a food processor use the beater attachment or just mix well using a whisk or spatula. Add oil to this and mix again. I prefer using olive oil for cooking and baking but Ina recommends butter. Choose which ever you like. I can assure you that the end result with olive oil was still a great loaf of bread. 🙂
Next, measure buttermilk. I used a sachet of cultured buttermilk powder. It’s easy to find and use. Beat in one egg and orange zest with the buttermilk. I had a mandarin at hand and used it for zest. Ina does not specify which kind of orange to use. I have half a mind to use a lemon next time!
Now comes the tricky part – combining the wet and dry ingredients. Mix until you get a wet and sticky dough. Add a tablespoon of flour to a cup of raisins and then combine with the dough.
Finally, transfer to a well floured surface and gently knead it until you are able to shape it into a round, boule like shape. Cut a shallow X on the top.
And that’s it, it’s ready to bake. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. And if like me you are missing parchment paper, oil the baking sheet (I used my cast iron baking plate) and then spread a thin layer of flour. This trick will always come handy while baking.
Transfer the boule to the prepared sheet and bake for 45-50 minutes.
You will see the loaf rise as it bakes. Just as one would test a cake use a clean knife or skewer and check for doneness by poking until the base close to the center.
Irish Soda bread is ready to enjoy!
Let the loaf cool down and then slice it and enjoy the perfect balance of sweet and savory. I can’t wait to enjoy a slice with my cuppa tomorrow morning 🙂
Irish Soda Bread – Inspired by Ina Garten’s Recipe
- Stand mixer with mixing bowl and beater attachment
- Mixing bowls
- Measuring bowls
- Measuring spoons
- Parchment paper
- Baking Sheet to bake the bread on
- Whisk or spatula for mixing ingredients in a mixing bowl when not using a stand mixer
- 3 cups All purpose flour
- 1 cup Whole wheat flour
- 4 tbsp Sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp Baking soda
- 1 1/2 tsp Salt kosher or sea salt
- 4 tbsp Olive oil Ina recommends butter. Both, oil and butter, work well.
- 1 3/4 cup Buttermilk use fresh or from a boxed mix
- 1 Egg
- 1 tsp Orange zest I used a mandarin
- 1 cup Black raisins
- Preheat oven to 375 F.
- Measure all the dry ingredients – flour, salt, baking soda and sugar in one bowl. Mix well. If using a stand mixer, use the beater attachment to mix or whisk in a mixing bowl.
- Add oil to the dry ingredients and mix again.
- Next, measure buttermilk. Beat in one egg and orange zest with the buttermilk.
- The final assembly is tricky- combine the wet and dry ingredients, mixing until you get a wet and sticky dough.
- Add a tablespoon of flour to a cup of raisins and then combine with the dough.
- Transfer the dough to a well floured surface and gently knead it until you are able to shape it into a round, boule like shape. Cut a shallow X on the top.
- Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. And if you are out of parchment paper, oil the baking sheet (I used my cast iron baking plate) and spread a thin layer of flour. This trick will always come handy while baking.
- Transfer the boule to the prepared sheet and bake for 45-50 minutes at 375 F.
- The loaf will rise as it bakes. Test using a cake tester/toothpick/knife in the center to check for doneness.
- Cool the loaf a little before slicing. Enjoy with butter, cheese, honey, jam, or anything else you enjoy.