After watching the amusing film Walking Ned, (which I would highly recommend if you haven’t seen it yet) I was feeling a bit Irish. Being in a City with no Irish Pub or Restaurants, my only option was to scour around the trove of recipe books to find an ultimate and easy Irish Soda Bread recipe that I can quickly whip with the ingredients I had in my pantry, lo and behold I stumble upon a quintessentially easy recipe for Irish soda bread without buttermilk which adds a festive Irish flair to the everyday meal.
Moist Irish Soda Bread
To keep the bread moist and preserve its unique texture, some traditional recipes recommend wrapping freshly baked loaves in a clean tea towel while they cool. When serving, divide the bread into quarters using the cross on top of the loaf as a guide. The characteristic marking, cut into the dough before baking, allows ample room for the loaf to expand in the oven and provides four pre-portioned sections of moist Irish Soda Bread, also known as “farls”.
Traditional Irish Soda Bread History
Before moving towards our authentic Irish Soda bread recipe let’s take a look at its history.
With a history spanning more than two centuries, soda bread is a traditional Irish specialty. The first loaf, consisting of little more than flour, baking soda, salt, and sour milk, made its debut in the mid-1800s when baking soda found its way into Irish kitchens. At the time, bread-making in rural Ireland was performed domestically using minimal ingredients, equipment, and experience.
Baking soda offered home cooks the opportunity to broaden their repertoire of recipes. Providing a quick, convenient, and reliable leavener, baking soda was simple to work with and easy to store. It also produced a better-tasting bread than what was originally available in the 19th century, making soda bread a staple of the Irish diet.
Today, soda bread is enjoyed throughout the world. Many take pleasure in its tangy flavor, The best way to eat Irish soda bread is by dressing it with butter for breakfast, eating it with cheese for a light snack, or serving it as an accompaniment to a celebratory feast. As a quick bread, it is simple to prepare. The ingredients come together in a matter of minutes and the loaf of fresh Irish Soda Bread is ready to eat in under half an hour.
Soda bread can be made with a variety of flours and include a number of added flavors and textures from dried fruits, herbs, and seeds. This version of Irish Soda Bread with raisins and caraway seeds with the addition of sugar uses cake flour for light, tender crumbs.
The traditional Irish Soda recipe actually consists of 4 ingredients flour, buttermilk, salt, and baking soda.
Makes 1 loaf or 12 rolls
- 1 3/4 cups cake flour or all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoons Kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes and chilled
- 3 tablespoons raisins
- 1 1/2 teaspoons caraway seeds
- 1/2 cup milk
- Preheat the oven to 230°C.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment.
- Add the butter and mix at low speed until the mixture resembles a coarse meal, about 45 seconds. Add the raisins and caraway seeds and mix just until they are evenly distributed.
- Add the milk and mix at low speed until fully incorporated for about 30 seconds. Do not mix any longer than it takes to fully blend the dough, as over-mixing will result in a tougher bread texture.
- Remove from the mixer and gently shape the dough into a ball. Place into an 8-in cast iron pan and press down to flatten the top of the dough slightly. Dust the loaves lightly with flour and use a sharp knife to score the top of the loaves with a cross that is about 1/2 inch deep.
- Bake the loaf in the oven until golden brown and firm at the center, about 25 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool before serving.
- Once properly cooled, wrapped in the bread in plastic wrap, and stored at room temperature, it will maintain its quality for about two days.
1. Why is there a cross on Irish soda bread?
Legend suggests that the cross is sliced into the bread to scare away evil spirits. Truth or folly, soda bread wouldn’t be soda bread without it.
2. Can you make Irish soda bread recipe without buttermilk?
Yes of course. The following recipe is basically Irish soda bread without buttermilk.
3. What do you serve Irish soda bread with?
Many people like to have Irish soda bread for breakfast with butter, jam, or marmalade, some prefer eating it for a light snack with cheese.