When I think of St. Patrick’s Day, Irish Soda Bread always comes to mind, and you don’t even have to be Irish to love this quick bread. You just need to love carbs because this bread is beautifully crusty and can keep well for days and is delicious with a little butter. It comes together quickly, with no rising time or the use of yeast.
For me, there is nothing better than fresh soda bread cooking in the oven and when you open the door of the oven for the first time. If you are the type of person who feels like bread is an arduous task, then this bread is for you.
What does it Taste like
It’s called Irish Soda bread because it made with Baking Soda instead of yeast. Because of this, it is more dense than regular sandwich bread, but to me that is just better for dipping into a bowl of soup or stew.
While it is dense, it still has a really nice crumb texture to it, which is a lot like a regular yeast bread, and what I love most is the crust on the outside.
Ingredients that go into Irish Soda Bread
- Flour- white flour makes a slightly more tender crumb
- baking powder You need the power of the baking soda for this recipe because there is no baking power or yeast, so you need a strong leavening agent so enter the super strength of baking powder.
- Buttermilk– The vinegar in buttermilk activates the baking soda, giving it a kick-start which you need. If you don’t have buttermilk, which it isn’t always a staple in a fridge, an easy substitute mix milk and 1-2 Tablespoons of lemon juice or vinegar, leave to curdle and use in your recipe. It’s a near perfect sub.
No Sugar, No Eggs, and No Sugar
This is a traditional Irish Soda bread we’re making here. This bread is better with the eggs and butter. Because it might be a surprise for her, but in this bread the eggs and butter make it less moist and make the crumb less tender. This bread had enough flavor to eat plain with just dollop of butter, so I don’t believe you need the extras like sugar, spices and dried fruit. Though you can definitely add them if you would like.
Soda Bread Tips (so you don’t end up with a bread brick)
This bread is pretty easy and only requires about 10 minutes of kneading or less. It’s very forgiving bread, but to ensure you had a successful Irish Soda Bread Experience.
- 3 minutes into the oven- once you add the buttermilk, try to get it into the oven quickly. This is because the buttermilk activates the baking soda and the longer you wait, the baking soda is losing it fizz and you want it to keep the fizz or it’s going to lose its super strength, which equals a denser dough.
- 10 knead rule- this simply just means to not knead anymore. then 10 times, the less you handle, the softer the crumb
- The wetter the dough, the more moist crumb- you just want to use just enough flour to move the flour around without it sticking
- Exact flour- like most bread recipes, even yeast recipes using the exact amount of flour, will differ because of humidity, warmth and coldness. All these things affect the amount of flour you may need to use.
- It’s better to use less flour- it’s best to use a little bit of flour and add you need it versus using too much and having dry, dense bread.
Variations and add-in’s
This version of Irish soda bread is a plain traditional version but definitely not flavorless. I believe it will disappear with nothing more than butter! That being said, there are some amazing things you can add to give the bread some additional flavor.
- Oats- you can put the oats inside and on top for some additional texture and flavor.
- Raisins and Caraway seeds– I like to add raisins and caraway seeds. I think the raisins give it a little bit more sweetness.
Traditional Irish Soda Bread
- 4 Cups Flour
- 1-1/2 tsp Baking Soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1-3/4 Cups Buttermilk
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease and flour a 9-inch round cake pan or Cast Iron Frying pan.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. If your adding any variations this is when you would add them. Gradually stir in the buttermilk until the dough comes together in a slightly sticky ball.
- Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead gently a few times. Form the dough into a ball and then press into the prepared pan so that the dough resembles a large disk.
- Cut an X into the dough with a sharp knife, about 1/4 of an inch deep. Cover the pan of dough with another round cake pan turned upside down.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, covered, then remove the top pan and bake uncovered for about 10 minutes more or until the crust is dark golden brown.