Soda Bread

Soda Bread

It tastes best on the day it’s made

Back in my junior high school, we used to have Culture Day every year. Instead of regular classes, we spent most of the day sharing traditions, histories, stories, and foods related to our backgrounds. Moms and dads brought in Italian meatballs and Korean sushi (kimbap). My mom made sweet potato pie, which I’ll definitely share at some point.

But, my most vivid memories of Culture Day included eating soda bread, which my friend’s mother made every year. I attended Catholic school in a very Irish and Italian neighborhood called Windsor Terrace, so it became a tradition to eat it every school Culture Day and Saint Patrick’s Day.

…it became a tradition to eat it every school Culture Day and Saint Patrick’s Day

I hadn’t grown up much on homemade bread, so I enjoyed eating this crusty, subtly sweet bread studded with caraway seeds and raisins. Dabbling in bakeries for the past four years and making pounds upon pounds of soda bread for Saint Patrick’s Day has nurtured my preference for soda bread, making me the only one in my family that likes it―that’s okay! More for me!

crusty, subtly sweet bread studded with caraway seeds and raisins…

Traditionally, it’s pretty savory, requiring only flour, salt, baking soda, and buttermilk. But across the pond, Americans prefer sweeter breads. So the Irish American version tends to have eggs, butter, sugar, caraway seeds, and raisins or currants in addition to the original ingredients.

the Irish American version tends to have eggs, butter, sugar, caraway seeds, and raisins…

There’s plenty of us who love to eat this bread outside of March 17th. Enjoy this for breakfast with a drizzle of honey or a bit of butter. But, eat it quickly. It tastes best on the day it’s made.

Soda Bread

Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 2 ½ Cups (250g) All Purpose Flour
  • 2 Cups (200g) Stone Ground Flour, or whole wheat flour You can also just use 4 ½ (450g) of all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp (30g) Sugar
  • 1 tsp (5g) Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp (5g) Baking Soda
  • 3 tbsp (45g) Butter, chilled and cut into cubes
  • 1 tbs (15g) Carraway Seeds, leave them out if you don’t like them.
  • 1 Cup (100g) Currants or Raisins
  • About 1 ¾ Cup (390ml) Buttermilk

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients including the caraway seeds and currants.
  3. Cut the butter into the flour until a slightly crumbly mixture forms. Do not let the butter get too warm and mushy.
  4. With a wooden spoon, quickly yet carefully fold in the buttermilk until a ball of dough forms. Be careful not to overwork the dough. If the dough is a bit crumbly, add more buttermilk a tablespoon at a time until the dough is wet yet malleable.
  5. Prepare a sheet pan and line it with parchment paper and dust it with flour. With floured hands, place the dough onto the parchment and shape it into a round mound. Dust the top with flour.
  6. Grease a sharp knife or bench cutter with oil or butter and cut a cross shape nearly all the way to the bottom of the bread, quartering the loaf, but don’t separate the pieces.
  7. Bake the loaf for 45 to 60 minutes or until amber brown on top and the loaf feels hollow when tapped at the bottom.
  8. Let the bread rest for at least 10 minutes before serving. This bread is good for 1 to 2 days room temperature.
  9. Enjoy!

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Irish Soda Bread

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