Thursday, March 15, 2012

Irish Soda Bread

This is an easy delicious rustic bread that doesn't need rising or double kneading. Hot fresh bread in a jiffy.

Here's a bit of history on Irish Soda Bread:

In the early and mid 1800’s, rural Ireland did not have a strong tradition of yeast bread making. Baking was done in the home and, in addition to having limited supplies, time was often at a premium. The use of baking soda as a leavening agent was quick, effective and it produced a much more consistent result than yeast did. It caught on quickly and made a staple of the Irish diet until commercial bread production began in earnest, though it is still popular in Ireland and many other parts of the world.
The original soda breads contained nothing more than flour, buttermilk, baking soda and salt. The buttermilk was leftover from the butter making process and the bread was almost always served with freshly churned butter. Today, the breads often contain additional ingredients, like sugar, butter, currants or caraway seeds to enhance the flavor of the bread. Soda bread is heartier than most yeast breads and pairs very well with soups, stews and meat dishes. It also makes outstanding toast.


4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
5 tablespoons of butter
1 egg
2 cups buttermilk
3/4 cup currants

In a bowl blend together the flour, salt, sugar and baking soda.

Using a pastry cutter cut in the butter until it is incorporated into the dry mixture.

Add the egg (slightly beaten) and buttermilk and mix well until a sticky dough forms. Fold in currants.

Spoon out onto a lightly floured board, sprinkle a little flour over the top of it and knead it twice. Yes, I said ONLY twice.

Than, shape into a ball, cut an X across the top of the loaf and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour. This bread will LOOK done way before it is. Bake even longer if necessary
if when tapping on the loaf it doesn't sound completely hollow.



Peabody said...

Looks like great bread.

tbirm said...

Have to say - this was great, Ron! I messed up the first batch as my toddler distracted me and I think I forgot the fourth cup of flour. Started over but had to make a half batch as I was running low on buttermilk. Turned out great! I have to ask though - just how big is the original loaf?? The half was big already!! Thanks for this!

The Merlin Menu said...

Actually, you did fine, my recipe is for a huge loaf as I was taking it to work for all the folks there.....

It reduces to half just fine.

I'm so glad you liked it.

TikiPundit said...

Found this today via a link from

Thanks for the history of use of baking soda in bread. Did not know that until today! (I think I need to get the Jeff Hertzberg book.

The soda bread looks too good, and quick, not to try. Ate it in England and it was delish.

katie said...


I tried your bread at the Gourmet Gastronomer Soup Off!

It was sooooo good. I ended up eat it instead of everything else!

It tasted like a scone in may ways. I love scones and make them all the time. A greate excuse to eat scones at every point in the day!


Marsha said...

This was delicious and a definite keeper recipe, but three things stand out:
1. You don't say when to add the currants (I used minced dried cranberries because that's what I had, and they were wonderful), so I added them just before spooning out the dough.
2. It was not at all possible to knead this dough, even twice - it stuck to my well-floured hands, it stuck to the floured surface, it stuck to everything! I couldn't cut a cross into it, either.
3. You don't say what to bake it on - I used a baking stone, which worked very well. I had to wrassle the horridly sticky dough into a semblance of a ball and dump it on the preheated baking stone, shut the oven door, and hope. It came out lumpy-bumpy, and you were right, it took 15 minutes longer until the loaf sounded hollow; at 45 minutes it was still as soft as a muffin. But it tasted fabulous!

A Feast for the Eyes said...

I don't know why I wait until March to make this. I make homemade soups all the time, and these are super fast and easy to make. I've never made a version with egg and currants, but I'm sorely tempted to do so. I can't wait to toast my leftover Irish soda bread, tomorrow. Especially with homemade jam. Great job!