With a golden crusty exterior, this family-favorite Irish Soda Bread is so easy to make, and always served for our St. Patrick’s Day Feast! No yeast – the tender inside gets its rise from baking soda and buttermilk. Similar in taste and texture to a fresh buttermilk biscuit, the inside of this quick bread is dense and slightly sweet, and sweet raisins add sweet bits of flavor and texture. Creamy Irish butter slathered on top of this warm sweet bread is perfect – don’t leave it out!
FRESH & SIMPLE INGREDIENTS!
FIVE SIMPLE STEPS TO MAKING IRISH SODA BREAD
Irish Soda Bread is so quick and easy to make! It baked up with a golden brown crust and a dense, tight crumb - very similar to buttermilk biscuits. The bread isn't heavy, although it looks like it would! The inside is very tender and soft.
The best part is pulling off chunks or thick slices and slathering with Irish butter - it adds so much flavor, and the Irish Soda Bread just melts in your mouth! I've seen cooks use craisins rather than raisins, and that certainly works too - but we prefer raisins, and LOTS of them, at my house!
Guys, this Irish Soda Bread is the BEST ever! You may as well go ahead and make two loaves, because it is a crowd-pleasing favorite! If you have never tried Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter, it is well worth the price as a special treat! The flavor is out-of-this-world wonderful when schmeared on warm Irish Soda Bread - texture like a soft buttermilk biscuit, with a slightly sweet taste to the bread, sweet raisins - even the crumbs taste wonderful!
1 and 3/4 cups (420ml) fresh buttermilk
1 large egg (room temperature)
4 and 1/4 cups (515g) all-purpose flour (plus more for your hands and counter)
3 tablespoons (38g) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter (cold or frozen, and cut into small cubes or grated)
1 cup (150g) raisins
HOW I MAKE THIS
1. Preheat oven to 400°. There are three options for the baking pan: (1) Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat; (2) use a seasoned 10-inch cast iron skillet; or (3) grease a 9-inch cake pan or pie dish. Set aside.
2. Prepare the Bread: In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and egg. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, granulated sugar, baking soda and salt together.
4. Cut in the butter into the flour mixture using a pastry cutter, a fork, or your fingers. Gently work the dough until you have coarse crumbs, then stir in the raisins.
5. Pour in the buttermilk/egg mixture. Gently fold the dough together until dough it is too stiff to stir.
6. With floured hands on a lightly floured surface, work the dough into an 8 or 9-inch round loaf. Knead the dough for about 30 seconds or just until all the flour is moistened. If the dough is too sticky, add a little more flour.
7. Transfer the dough to the prepared pan. Using a very sharp knife, score an X into the top of the dough.
8. Place in oven and bake until the bread is golden brown and center appears cooked through, about 45 minutes. Loosely cover the bread with aluminum foil if you notice heavy browning on top. I usually place foil on top halfway through baking.
9. Remove from the oven and allow bread to cool for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.
10. Serve warm or at room temperature.
11. Cover and store bread at room temperature for up to 2 days.
YIELD: 1 loaf
· Buttermilk is key to the bread’s flavor, texture, and rise. While I really recommend buttermilk for the best flavor and results, if you don’t have any buttermilk on hand, you can make a homemade version. Whole milk or 2% milk is best. Add 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice or white vinegar to a liquid measuring cup. Add enough milk to make 1 and 3/4 cup. Whisk together, then let sit for 5 minutes before using in the recipe.
· The colder the butter, the less sticky the dough will be. Make sure it’s very cold - frozen butter is even better! Simply cut it into small cubes or grate right before using.
· I have most success when I bake this bread at 400°. Many recipes call for baking this bread in a hotter oven, but found the bottom will easily burn if you don’t watch it carefully. 400°F is the perfect temp!
· Freezing Instructions: Baked and cooled bread freezes well up to 3 months. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag. Thaw in the refrigerator or at room temp, then reheat as desired.
Originally posted March 2012; Revised and reposted March 2019.
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