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 Irish Soda Bread recipe which I can easily whip with the ingredients I had in my pantry, lo and behold I stumble upon quintessentially Irish soda bread recipe no buttermilk which adds a festive Irish flair to the everyday meal.
Irish Soda Bread 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 is Irish Soda Bread with raisins and caraway seeds recipe with the addition of sugar, uses cake flour for a light, tender crumbs.
Moist Irish Soda Bread Recipe
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, also known as “farls”.
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.
You may be puzzled by the recipe since it does not actually call for baking soda. Instead, it uses baking powder, though technically baking powder is simply a blend of baking soda and cream of tartar.
Irish Soda Bread Recipe No Buttermilk
- 1 3/4CupsCake Flour or All-Purpose Flour
- 1 1/2TbspBaking Powder
- 3/4TspKosher Salt
- 3TbspUnsalted ButterCut into cubes and chilled
- 1 1/2TspCaraway Seeds
- 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 on 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 on low speed until fully incorporated 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 the bread in plastic wrap, and stored at room temperature, it will maintain its quality for about two days