Irish Soda Bread

Okay, you can pick your jaw up off the floor now…
Yes, I posted Two. Days. In. A. Row.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled program:

I’m 100% Italian. So, my family never formally celebrated St, Patrick’s Day. But I did grow up having corned beef with cabbage and Irish Soda Bread for dinner. My opinion is: good food, is good food, no matter your background.

So, on Wednesday, a whim of tradition won me over, and I decided to make soda bread. I did a quick online search for a simple recipe, and settled on this, aptly named, Amazingly Easy Irish Soda Bread.

I followed the basic recipe, making these adjustments:

  1. I used salted butter instead of margarine.
  2. I don’t know about you, but I don’t keep buttermilk on hand. Since most of my baking is on-the-whim, an “equivalent” is often necessary. The basic equivalent for 1 cup of buttermilk is 1 1/3 T. white vinegar + enough milk (cow, soy, whatever) to make 1 cup.
  3. I added 1 cup of currants or raisins (soaked in warm water for about 15 minutes, then drained) after the milk and egg are added to the flour mixture.

Our oven is a bit off, so after the stated 50 minutes, I found that the loaf was not done. Because the crust was sufficiently golden, I was afraid the crust and currants might burn (we don’t want that – burnt raisins/currants taste nasty). So, I tented the loaf with foil before returning it to the oven for an additional twenty minutes, checking periodically, until the center was fully baked.

Don’t even think about it, Moo!

That evening at small group, we enjoyed the bread (with a schmear of butter) along with our coffee and tea. Afterwards, I realized the loaf was pretty much a giant scone. Makes sense, I guess. I figure the dough can be divided into a dozen or so small rounds or wedges, and the baking time shortened, for a lovely brunch or tea-time snack.

I will definitely be saving this recipe for next year, but won’t be surprised if I pull it out much sooner.

Does your family have any St. Patrick’s Day food traditions?
I’m particularly curious about the non-Irish folk.

7 thoughts on “Irish Soda Bread

  1. “My opinion is: good food, is good food, no matter your background.” AMEN!
    My family, from rural Berks County, PA ate corned beef and cabbage occasionally…though, I don’t remember anyone really celebrating the holiday. Not many Irish-Americans in Oley, I guess.
    Funny thing is, I realized this year that Irish Soda Bread is very much like AP Cake (a Berks County specialty) without the brown sugar…which makes sense; they are both quick “soda” breads.

  2. I made Irish Soda Bread for the first time this year. I think I expected something more like a standard loaf of bread, but what we got was rather biscuit like. I remember thinking when I was making it that it seemed a lot like biscuit dough…..I shouldn’t have been too surprised. It was good none the less. Ours didn’t have raisins in it……but I found lots of recipes that called for them. Are raisins traditional?

    • I thought of biscuits, too, but the raisins pushed it more into scone territory. I can’t say, definitively, if they are traditional, but my mother always used them. I had a store-bought loaf yesterday, that had raisins as well. They add a bit a moisture, and a lot of flavor.

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