With St. Patrick’s Day still on my mind, I decided to make Irish Soda Bread. My first encounter with Irish Soda Bread was at an Irish pub in Whistler Village (British Columbia). I was instantly hooked.
Irish Soda Bread is considered a quick bread because there is no yeast and therefore it doesn’t need time to rise. Simply mix the ingredients, form the sticky dough into a ball, and bake it in a greased pan. The result is a large mounded loaf of bread with a golden, crusty exterior and a dense, scone-like interior. Many recipes call for caraway seeds and raisins but I prefer making it plain. My family likes to eat the soda bread with non-Irish foods like chili and soups. And the leftovers make a yummy breakfast when warmed and served with butter and jam.
*I have successfully cut the recipe in half and the result is a delicious, scone-like bread. Even though the dough was very runny (we basically just spooned it into a mound on the pan because we couldn’t shape it), it baked up nicely and I cooked it for just under 30 minutes so it was still moist inside.
- 4 cups flour
- 3 Tbsp sugar
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- ¾ tsp baking soda
- 6 Tbsp butter
- 2 eggs
- 1½ cups buttermilk
- 1 tsp caraway seeds, optional
- Mix together the dry ingredients.
- With a pastry blender or a fork, mix in the butter. (I cut the butter into chunks so that it is easier to mix in.) You will have a coarse, crumbly mixture.
- Add the caraway seeds if desired.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs.
- Remove 1 tsp of egg and reserve it to coat the top of the loaf of bread.
- Add the buttermilk to the remaining eggs and stir the mixture into the butter crumble.
- The dough will be sticky.
- Knead the dough briefly on a well-floured surface to form a ball.
- Place the dough ball into a greased 2-quart casserole pan or onto a greased baking sheet. (Be sure to grease the bottom of the pan well so that the loaf doesn't stick to the pan.)
- With a knife, make two ¼-inch deep slits to form a cross.
- Brush the top of the loaf with 1 tsp egg and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes-one hour, or until done.
- The top crust will be golden and the inside will resemble a scone.
- If the crust starts to get too dark, cover the bread loosely with a sheet of foil.
- Remove the bread from the heat and let it cool for 10 minutes.
- Gently run a table knife around the edges and remove the bread from the pan.
- It is best when it is served warm.
- TIP: I have also made a half batch of this bread and baked it on a greased baking sheet. It spreads out more on the pan but it still has the wonderful scone-like texture.