My Father-in-law is of Irish descent, so we make the obligatory Corned Beef and Cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day. A couple of years ago, we had my in-laws over to share this lovely meal with us and I felt it was a good opportunity to take stab at Irish Soda Bread. I had never even eaten it! I used the recipe below from Everyday Food Magazine. I do not know if it is authentic, but it works beautifully and tastes really great. Irish Soda Bread is a quick and easy bread to make because there is no yeast and, therefore, none of that annoying proofing and rising, etc. I am no chemist, but I believe it is the baking soda and a little Irish magic that makes it rise. It is crusty on the outside and buttery and mildly sweet on the inside. I make two breads: one with caraway seeds, which I believe is traditional, and one without since my kids don’t like them. We find it is best eaten warm out of the oven, slathered with salty Irish butter. It is still good once it is cooled, but what bread isn’t yummiest when its warm? I think it is also traditionally served with orange marmalade or some type of preserves. Even if you are not a bread baker (which I am not) this one is easy to try and impressive looking.
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pan
- 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup raisins
- 2 tablespoons caraway seeds
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
- 2 large eggs
- Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees and butter a baking sheet.
- In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, raisins, caraway seeds (if you are using them), baking soda, salt and baking powder
- In a separate bowl, combine the buttermilk, eggs and butter. I melted the butter to make it easier to whisk together.
- Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients to create a dough.
- With clean hands, flour your mat and transfer the dough to the mat for kneading.
- Knead your dough until it is smooth, using more flour as needed to keep it from sticking to your surface, and form a 9-inch bread round.
- Place the dough on your buttered baking sheet.
- Score (mark the bread with knife lines) in an “X” pattern.
- Using melted butter and a pastry brush, lightly brush butter over the top of the dough.
- Place the dough in the pre-heated oven and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Rest on a wire rack until cooled enough to eat.
An indispensable baking product is the silicone baking mat I used. It is like a silpat, but it cannot go in the oven. I use it for kneading and rolling out dough and pastry so the dough does not stick to the counter. You use much less flour which makes the clean up much easier! The one I am including here has a ruler on the edges and measured circles in the middle which takes the guesswork out of getting your dough/pastry to the right size for your dish. Also, if the dough/pastry is delicate, you can pick up the mat to transfer it to a dish or pan.