We’re just a week away from St. Patrick’s Day and I’m getting all my shamrocks in a row! I can’t wait to have a piece of this slightly sweet and crumbly bread that comes together in minutes. Really.
I may have divulged a little secret about me once before: I’m not the most enthusiastic baker. I think it’s the mess of baking that puts me off. Flour everywhere and the unpredictability of ovens. Add the stress of a holiday and I’m quickly on the edge. But Irish Soda Bread is such an easy morsel of delight that everyone should be making this once a week. Now, let’s talk about traditional soda bread. I’ve read many takes on how they are made in Ireland and it sounds like the addition of sugar and dried fruit happened later and possibly in the United States. And please, do not even mention caraway seeds. This isn’t rye bread, thank you very much. But it sounds like the true soda bread is much like the Irish Brown Bread I’ve made before. Not a lot of frills but a hearty and delicious bread that is served with fresh butter and just about every meal!
4 C flour (I used white whole wheat)
1 TSP baking soda
1 TSP salt
4 TBs sugar
4 TBs cold butter, diced into small pieces
1 C dried currants
1 3/4 C buttermilk
Heat the oven to 375 degrees and prepare a baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper. (Note: Butter the pan if you don’t have paper on hand.)
Sift the flour and other dry ingredients into the mixer bowl. Using the paddle attachment, mix everything together. Add the butter and allow it to crumble evenly into the flour mixture on low speed. Crack the egg in a separate bowl and add the buttermilk. While on low speed, begin adding the wet ingredients. And last, add the currants. Don’t over mix – it should come together quickly and form a ball right on the paddle and in the bowl.
Flour a flat surface like the counter or wooden board and pour the mixture out. Again, don’t over mix. Knead the dough into a round loaf and cut a cross into the top. Carefully place it onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 45-50 minutes. It should begin to smell delicious in a short time… When done it should have a hollow sound.
When I was a kid, my mom would always make Irish Soda Bread for our school bake sales. I thought it was the most boring thing ever and was slightly embarrassed to set the simple loaves down next to all the pretty plates filled with chocolate chip cookies. Can I tell you that every single year her loaves sold first? First. Goes to show you what I knew. Everyone loved it. And all those plate of cookies? There were leftovers…
Place on a cooling rack and get your butter and jam ready. Sláinte!
Isn’t she beautiful?