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Friday, March 16, 2012

2 Irish Soda Bread Recipes

Brown Irish Soda Bread with Cranberrys  

This is my first attempt at making and eating Irish Soda Bread.  I have not had a desire to try it, because honestly it doesn't look very appealing, to me it looks like a dry mound of bread.  So what is the appeal to this bread?  When searching recipes I found rave reviews for the bread and great popularity especially around St. Patrick's Day.  So I decided to challenge my preconceived notions of this bread and try it.  I tweaked a couple of recipes and this is the bread I came up with:
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
4 Tbsp toasted wheat germ
4 Tbsp old-fashioned oats
2 Tbsp dark brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 cups buttermilk

Preheat oven to 425.  Prepare a 1/2 sheet pan by buttering it or lining with parchment paper.  Combine first 7 ingredients in a large bowl; mix until combined.  Add butter, rubbing in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine meal.  Add cranberries and mix until combined.  Stir in buttermilk to form a soft dough.  Transfer dough to pan and coat top lightly with flour to shape into a round mound without your fingers sticking to the dough.  Cut a shallow crisscross on the top of dough.  Bake for about 40 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool and serve with butter or fruit jam.
Adapted from Bon Appetit 
How did it come out?  It was interesting, it was dry and needed a lot of butter, but it had a nice flavor and texture.  Tomorrow I will try dipping it in the Guinness Beef Stew I'm making for St. Patrick's Day.  Will I be making it again?  The verdict is still out on that one, I will wait to see how it goes over tomorrow at dinner.

My second attempt was from a recipe found through another blogger, Kate from Scratch who found it on, it was noted in the description that this bread is higher, lighter and softer than most other recipes and has an excellent flavor and texture, it got an average of 5 stars from 247 reviewers.  I made this using 1/2 the recipe for a smaller loaf.  I like the name of the recipe too :)
Irish Rosie's Irish Soda Bread
1 3/4 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup sour cream
1 large egg
1 Tbsp caraway seeds
1/4-1/3 cup golden raisins
Buttermilk for brushing

Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl.  In a small bowl beat egg and stir in sour cream.  Add the wet mixture to the dry and stir with a wooden spoon, batter will be very thick.  Add the raisins and caraway seeds and incorporate together with your fingers, then knead with your hands and place on a greased or parchment lined 1/2 sheet pan.  Pat the top with a sprinkling of flour and pat into a round dough, make a shallow crisscross on top with a knife.  Bake for about 40 mins at 350 degrees or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Halfway through baking brush outside with buttermilk, thanks to Jennifer's recommendation :).
Adapted from
This second bread was a lighter, less dry bread, and dipped in the Guinness Beef Stew it was delicious!  So the verdict from my family is :  we would make the 2nd bread again, our personal preference is for a more moist, less dense bread, but both breads were good, just very different.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!


  1. Looks great actually but...~is Irish American~ so I am probably biased. ^_^ And yes, dipping it in Guinness Beef Stew should making is freaking awesome, lol. Wish I had thought of that a couple of days ago. The wheat flour and oats is what caused it to be dry. Most of the time Soda Bread is actually rather moist and delicate even if very dense. Think of it being a large scone, British not Irish since Irish Scones are actually more like Southern Buttermilk Biscuits, lol. Also, try mixing baking soda and butter milk and brushing it down, basting it, periodically during baking. (For American taste buds also try no fruit, oats and wheat flour.)

    1. Thanks Jennifer, I really appreciate your comments, being the newbie I am at this bread. I will try it again, a little different recipe. My husband did try it this morning and commented that the outside was hard and crusty but the inside was more soft but dense, he said it was pretty good. Looking forward to trying it later with the stew. :)