Finally!! I finally did the Irish soda bread my husband has craved for years. What better excuse then Saint Patrick’s Day to bake Irish soda bread?! I've held on to this bread recipe for quite some time since it was given to us by our Irish friend from Massachusetts. His mom makes the best Irish soda breads with raisins, just like my hubby likes it. This is a fancier version of the original Irish bread recipe called the Irish spotted dog bread, but liked by many Irish and non- Irish bread lovers. I hope you make this recipe too and get to like it as much as we do!About Soda bread:
- Soda bread is a variety of quick bread in which sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) is used as a raising agent rather than the yeast. In Europe, soda breads began to appear in the mid-19th century when bicarbonate of soda first became available for use as a rising agent.
- The traditional Irish soda bread is made with just flour, baking soda, salt, and buttermilk . Like in any other recipe, the buttermilk in the dough reacts with the baking soda to form tiny bubbles of carbon dioxide helping the baked good, in this case the bread to rise quickly, and produces a tender texture. Other ingredients can be added such as egg, butter, raisins, caraway seeds or nuts.
- Even though we can find an abundance of breads in supermarkets today, quite a few Irish families still bake their own daily from specially treasured recipes passed down through the generations. In most parts of Ireland, soda bread is shaped and baked as a round loaf with a cross marked on top.
Irish Soda Bread
4- 4½ cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 Tablespoons white sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup margarine, softened at room temperature
1¼ raisins, that have been previously soaked in water for 20 minutes and drained
1 cup buttermilk or yogurt at room temperature
1 egg at room temperature
1. Preheat oven to 375˚F (190˚C). Lightly grease a large baking sheet.
2. In a bowl, mix 4 cups flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt. Add margarine and mix with two knives or hand until it resembles coarse meal. Add in raisins and mix in well.
3. Stir in the buttermilk and egg lightly beaten. If the the remaining ½ cup of flour is needed, add it now and knead dough on a lightly floured surface no more than 2 minutes. Form dough into a round shape and place on baking sheet. With a sharp knife cut an 'X' into the top of the loaf.
4. Bake for 30 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. When preparing mini loaves bake for only 20-25 minutes. Serve warm. This bread tastes best when it’s freshly baked. NOTE: I have just tasted it this morning and although it might feel a little denser, it tastes better than yesterday!
Yield: One large loaf, or four 5" loaves. For smaller loaves you can get five 4" loaves.
So be careful to do what the LORD your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left. Walk in obedience to all that the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess. ~ Deuteronomy 5:32-33