Irish Soda Bread

Slices of Irish Soda Bread with blackberry jelly
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Enjoy a simple, sweet, and easy bread tonight. It’s 10 minutes to bring together and 50 minutes to cook. The hardest part is having buttermilk in the house!

I love it when you make bread …

Said my carb/bread loving husband who in all honesty, thinks any homemade bread I make is “really good.” My daughter and her dad: carbs.all.the.effing.way.

Oh, and my nephew, who dreamily told me:

Aunt Joe, a meal without carbs is like the night without the moon …

Irish Soda Bread is worth the carbs.

Irish Soda  Bread baked in a cast-iron skillet

But seriously: I knocked back about a fourth of a loaf after a serious leg workout. It’s pretty tasty.

Irish Soda Bread

Mix the dough, briefly knead the dough, bake the dough and schmear it with buttermilk and butter while it’s baking, then eat the bread. It’s best warm from the oven.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time50 mins
Total Time1 hr 2 mins
Course: Breakfast, Dessert
Keyword: Bread

Ingredients

  • 4 – 41/2 c AP flour
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 6 T softened butter
  • 1 large egg beaten
  • 1 3/4 c buttermilk
  • 1/4 c melted butter for brushing on the loaf while it bakes
  • 1/4 c buttermilk mixed with the melted butter for brushing on the loaf while it bakes

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 and grease a cast iron skillet with butter or lay parchment paper on a cookie sheet.
  • Whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and baking powder in a large mixing bowl.
  • Work the softened butter into the flour with your fingers until the butter is dispersed through the flour.
  • Make a well in the middle of the mixture and add the beaten egg and the buttermilk. Mix well with a spoon until the dough is stiff and hard to stir.
  • Throw some flour on your counter, turn the sticky, shaggy dough from the bowl onto the counter and knead just until it comes together into a ball.
  • Don’t over-knead because the final product will be dense. Shaggy is good. 
  • Form the dough into a ball and place on your desired cooking apparatus. Score the top with an “X”. Don’t go too deep or the bread will splay open while it cooks. The “X” helps the heat get into the bread while it cooks and tradition says it might be a nod to the Christain cross. 
    Unbaked Irish Soda Bread in a cast-iron skillet
  • Brush the dough with the buttermilk and butter mixture.
    Brushing Irish Soda Bread with Buttermilk and butter
  • Bake at 375 for 45-50 minutes and brush with the buttermilk/butter mixture at 10 – 15-minute intervals until you have used all the buttermilk and butter.
  • Cool, 10 – 20 minutes. Best served warm. Store leftovers in a ziplock baggie.

Notes

Irish soda bread is a sweet, cake-like bread born in rural Ireland. The acid in the buttermilk reacts with the baking soda and produces carbon dioxide which makes the bread rise. Kefir can be substituted for the buttermilk. Since it is sweet (if you add sugar), it takes sweet add-ins like raisins or currants well. This is an easy recipe, you can make this bread!
For the last 2 minutes of cooking, I shifted the heat source to the top of the oven and turned it to 500 to get the dark brown crust on the loaf pictured. I like the buttermilk/butter coating to get crunchy.

If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, just use a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Get yourself a decent pastry brush while you’re at it. Clicking the links and purchasing through BPCs supports this website. Thank you!


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