One of the greatest parts of celebrating a holiday is getting to experiment and try new foods. With St. Patrick’s Day coming up, I decided that I wanted to try a new recipe to celebrate the Irish holiday. A couple of common dishes are lamb stew and Irish potato pancakes. I thought I would try a recipe that compliments both dishes very well: Irish Soda Bread. This yeast free bread is made from buttermilk and comes out as a semi-sweet and dense bread that can be eaten by itself, slathered with jam, or as a compliment to a main dish.
There are many variations you can make for Irish Soda Bread. I used a recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction, opens a new window.
This recipe only takes about an hour to make, with about 45 minutes of that time baking in the oven.
- 1 and 3/4 cups (420ml) buttermilk
- 1 large egg (optional, see note)
- 4 and 1/4 cups (531g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled), plus more for your hands and counter
- 3 Tablespoons (38g) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 5 Tablespoons (70g) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
- optional: 1 cup (150g) raisins (can use most dried fruits instead of raisins, like dried apricots or what I used, dried cranberries)
- Preheat oven & pan options: Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C). There are options for the baking pan. Use a regular baking sheet and line with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat (bread spreads a bit more on a baking sheet) or use a seasoned 10–12-inch cast iron skillet or grease a 9–10-inch cake pan or pie dish. You can also use a 5-quart (or higher) dutch oven, greased or lined with parchment paper. If using a dutch oven, bake the bread with the lid off.
- Whisk the buttermilk and egg together. Set aside. Whisk the flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Cut in the butter using a pastry cutter, a fork, or your fingers. Mixture is very heavy on the flour but do your best to cut in the butter until the butter is pea-sized crumbs. Stir in the dried fruit. Pour in the buttermilk/egg mixture. Gently fold the dough together until dough is too stiff to stir. Pour crumbly dough onto a lightly floured work surface. With floured hands, work the dough into a ball as best you can, then knead for about 30 seconds or until all the flour is moistened. If the dough is too sticky, add a little more flour.
- Transfer the dough to the prepared skillet/pan. Using a very sharp knife, score an X into the top. Bake until the bread is golden brown, and center appears cooked through, about 45 minutes. Loosely cover the bread with aluminum foil if you notice heavy browning on top. I usually place foil on top halfway through bake time.
- Remove from the oven and allow bread to cool for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm, at room temperature, or toasted with desired toppings/spreads.
This loaf of bread turned out deliciously crunchy. I have had a little bit for breakfast each morning for the past few days and it is still great. I have had it with jam, apple butter, and by itself and each way has been fantastic!
If you need ideas for recipes for other holiday treats or are just looking to try something new, check out digital magazines offered through Libby, opens a new window with your Frisco Library card.