On the seventh day of Breadmas my Baker gave to me, Irish Soda Bread! Have you ever eaten a really good scone, and thought “damn, I wish that was a whole loaf!” Well if you have, never fear! This buttery, crumbly, rich, Irish Soda Bread is here to fulfill your dream.Jump to Recipe
Soda bread gets it’s name because it’s considered a “Quick Bread”, that uses baking soda instead of yeast to rise. Though using soda in bread recipes wasn’t invented by the Irish, this style of bread was widely adopted throughout Ireland out of necessity. Through times of strife and hardship, the basic and original ingredients of flour, salt, soda, and soured milk, were easy to come by. The lack of yeast isn’t an issue, since the acidity of soured milk reacts with the soda to create enough bubbles to make the dough rise.
The Cross on Top
Cutting a deep cross on the top of the soda bread loaves, is sometimes said to be for religious or superstitious reasons. And though that may have been one of the reasons, it’s probably not the main one.
Bakers from any time period new that air needed to escape in order for your bread to fully cook. And in a dense loaf like soda bread, the best way to do that, is by cutting two deep slashes into it. Without the deep cuts in the top, the center of the loaf won’t bake fully until the outside is burnt. Not ideal.
Fancy Modern Soda Bread Takes
The addition of butter, sugar, dried fruits, and exchanging soured milk for buttermilk are modern changes. But don’t turn your nose up at them. They’re all excellent additions. Butter enhances the texture to give the bread a scone like feel, while also keeping it from drying out. Adding dried fruits and sugar soften the slightly sour taste and offer pops of sweetness. And obviously buttermilk is the modern choice, since most of us don’t have a cow that we’re milking so much some of the milk is going off.
Don’t forget to check out the first 6 recipes of Breadmas (linked below). And be sure to follow me here and on Instagram @dorkylittlehomestead for the next 5 days!
Irish Soda Bread
- 4 cups Flour
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Baking Soda
- 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
- 1/4 cup Cold Butter
- 1/2 cup Dried Currants
- 1 Egg Lightly Beaten
- 1 3/4 cup Buttermilk
- Heat the oven to 350F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Combine the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder in a large bowl.
- Cut the butter into small chunks, and add to the flour mix. Using your hands, rub and crumble the butter into the flour, until it is the texture of slightly damp sand. Stir through the currants.
- Whisk together the egg and the buttermilk. Add to the flour & currant mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until it starts to come together into a sticky dough.
- Continue to gently knead and press the dough together using your hands. You want all the flour to be absorbed, but the dough will be very rustic looking. (not smooth and elastic like a normal bread dough)
- Shape it into a ball, and place it on the line baking sheet. Using a sharp knife, cut a deep cross shape into the dough. This deep cut will help the very dense loaf bake fully, so it will seem far too deep, but don't worry, it's okay.
- Bake for about 45-50 minutes. Use a skewer to test the center of the bread for doneness. The whole loaf will be golden brown and crusty. Once a skewer comes out clean, it's done.
- Allow it to cool on a wire rack before slicing and storing. Store in a sealed bag in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 2 months.