This easy Irish Soda Bread requires few ingredients beyond those already in your pantry. This is a simple recipe for a dense but tender loaf of bread with a crusty exterior. It takes less than an hour to put together, and you won’t need yeast or a rising period.
Taking out a crusty loaf of Irish soda bread from the oven and inhaling that first whiff is like nothing else. Since there is no need to bloom yeast or wait for the dough to rise, this soda bread is ideal for satisfying a sudden bread craving. Despite its dense, tight crumb, the bread is very tender and soft when sliced.
This is a quick bread, meaning it doesn’t take long to prepare and is perfect for feeding a large group. The name comes from the fact that baking soda is used as a leavening agent. While using baking soda in bread is not traditionally Irish, the Irish had adapted the soda bread recipe to make do with the cheapest ingredients they could find.
Materials Required for This Recipe
- Buttermilk: The addition of buttermilk to bread dough improves both the taste and the rise of the bread by activating the baking soda. Do not omit the buttermilk; if you do not have any on hand, use my buttermilk substitute recipe instead. For optimal results, make sure the buttermilk is chilled as well.
- Flour; this soda bread doesn’t require any extra flourishes. All-purpose flour is the only ingredient required.
- Butter — utilizing extremely cold butter will aid in avoiding a sticky dough. Even better would be frozen butter cubes. Butter can be worked into the dough by hand or with a pastry cutter.
- ▢1⅔ cup buttermilk cold
- ▢1 egg
- ▢4 cups flour (480g)
- ▢4 tablespoons granulated sugar
- ▢1½ teaspoon baking soda (9g)
- ▢1 teaspoon kosher salt (9g)
- ▢4 tablespoons butter cold, diced (57g)
- ▢1 cup raisins optional or currants
IRISH SODA BREAD: HOW TO MAKE IT
- Buttermilk and egg should be whisked together and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Stir in the currants or raisins if you’re using them.
- Working with your hands or a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour until it resembles small peas.
- The buttermilk mixture should be poured into a well you’ve made in the center of the flour mixture. The flour should be incorporated into the dough by folding the mixture with a spatula.
- Then, shape the dough into a loaf and place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a cast iron pan that has been seasoned with cooking oil.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top, is golden brown and the center is set (if necessary, score the top with an “X”). If browning occurs on top of the bread, tent it with foil. The soda bread needs to cool completely before being served.
HOW TO MAKE THIS RECIPE LIKE A PRO
- The dough should look a little shaggy, so don’t overwork it. No need to knead the dough until it’s silky smooth.
- Scoring the bread deeply is recommended for thorough baking.
- You can also include things like nuts, caraway seeds, honey, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and citrus zest.
- Soda bread can be baked in a cast-iron skillet, on a large baking sheet, or in a cake pan or pie dish with a removable bottom.
- If you want evenly baked bread, avoid using a loaf pan.
- Use an instant-read thermometer inserted into the bread’s thickest part if you’re unsure of when it’s done baking. Put 200 degrees in the middle.
- Make sure you don’t overwork the dough by using an accurate flour measuring tool. The most common cause of dense bread is using too much flour in the recipe. A scale is the most accurate tool for measuring flour. If you don’t have a flour sifter, you can use a spoon to aerate the flour before sprinkling it into a measuring cup and then leveling it off with a knife.
HOW DO YOU EAT THIS BREAD?
Soda bread is best served with butter and hot beverages like coffee or tea. Honey or jam on the side is a nice touch as well. Some of my favorite condiments are honey butter, pumpkin butter, and apple butter, all of which I’ve made myself.
HOW DO I RETAIN THE REMAINING FOOD?
Unless stored in the refrigerator, soda bread only keeps for three days at room temperature. To keep the bread as moist as possible, you should only slice what will be served.
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