Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Mar 16, 2008 09:26 AM

Irish Soda Bread

Just sharing my recipe, feel free to share yours !!! Mine is more like a loaf cake than a savory bread, which is just the way i like it ! I have no idea where the recipe ever came from, because i got it from my sister years ago. I make this every year and usually serve it with lemon curd along side.

It'll warm the cockles of your heart !!! :) Happy (nearly) St. Patrick's Day everyone !!

6 tablespoons butter
3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups currants
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
2 eggs, well beaten
1 tablespoon caraway seed.

-preheat oven to 350 degrees
-grease a square loaf pan with a tablespoon of the butter
-melt 2 tablespoons of the butter and set aside
-sift dry ingredients, add currants
-whisk milk, eggs and melted butter together
-add to dry ingredients, along with the caraway
-barely stir...turn into pan.
-dot the top of the batter with the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter
-bake for 45 minutes.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Here are a couple of pictures of the finished product

    1. I love the way that puffed up - looks very cool. How well does it keep? I mean, if I made some today and wanted to bring it to work tomorrow, will it still be good, or is it best right out of the oven? Also, how do you serve it?
      I have a recipe I got from The Oregonian newspaper last week I was thinking about trying. It's interesting to see the difference between yours and the other one.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ScarletB

        Mine was made today to take to work tomorrow. I have it in an x-lg ziploc which keeps it very well. It'll probably even be better tomorrow. I just finished making the lemon curd, i used this recipe

        People just cut in squares or slices, and either eat it plain, with butter, or with a dollop of lemon curd. I think you could also probably fancy it up a little by making little individual panettone sized cakes and plate it with a thinner curd or something. But i'm just bringing this into work to share.

      2. I use my Grandma's recipe, which seems very similar to others I've seen. It's about done in the oven right now, and it'll go into work with me tomorrow:

        Grandma's Irish Soda Bread

        2-1/2 cups flour
        1 tsp. salt
        1 tsp. baking powder
        1/2 tsp. baking soda
        3 Tbsp. sugar
        1 Tbsp. butter
        1 Tbsp. caraway seeds
        1 egg -- slightly beaten
        1 cup seedless raisins
        1 cup buttermilk

        Soak raisins in boiling water for a few minutes and drain well. Lightly pat dry with paper toweling. Sift first 5 ingredients together into a large mixing bowl. Cut butter into flour mixture with a pastry blender.

        Add caraway seeds and raisins. Make a well in the center of mixture and stir in egg and buttermilk to make a stiff dough. Form into a large round loaf and bake on a greased and floured baking sheet, cut an "X" lightly into the top of the dough, and bake for 50 minutes at 350°F.

        17 Replies
        1. re: LindaWhit

          It's amazing the difference in butter amounts. The recipe I have uses 3 cups flour and 1/2 cup butter - seems like a lot compared to yours! Of course, I'd rather use less butter if I can. Is yours more of a dry/crumbly bread? Thanks for posting!

          1. re: ScarletB

            Yes, it's definitely drier and more crumbly than what im nomad's recipe seems like it would be. It's the only way I know Irish soda bread. Just a bit of butter on it is the way I usually have it.

            Today I made it in a 1.5 qt. round baking dish. The recipe calls for it to be formed on a baking sheet, but just didn't feel like doing that. So the shape is rather odd this time - a bit bowl-like because of the sloped sides of the bowl. I'm used it it looking like an inverted bowl only, but this is rounded on top and on the bottom. If I had made it in a straight-sided baking dish, perhaps it would look better.

            Photos attached so you can see what I mean (hope this works - haven't done this before). Ah well, makes look funny but it should still tastes good!

            1. re: LindaWhit

              Okay, so one last question for you both. The recipe I pulled from The Oregonian
              makes 12 individual soda breads - she has you pull the dough apart and roll into balls. It seems like it'll make less this way than if I just stick the entire dough into a cake pan or souffle dish. I like the idea, though, but 12 isn't enough to bring to work. Maybe I could just make them smaller?

              Any thoughts on this? My first crack at soda bread. Thanks!

              1. re: ScarletB

                Don't know how many you need to feed at work, but you could still make them in 12 even-sized portions and then cut each one in half for 24 servings.

                But I think I'd still be inclined to use a 2-3 quart baking dish and make a single soda bread OR form into a single round loaf on the greased baking sheet. However....lower the oven temp to 350 and probably bake for at least 50-60 minutes.

                1. re: LindaWhit

                  Thanks for all the advice. I just made two batches of the Oregonian recipe. I really can't say that they are "authentic" Irish Soda Bread, but they are darn delicious! I was going to make the first one as written, and the second as a loaf, but the first batch turned out so great I decided to stick with it.
                  I will have to call them Irish Soda Biscuits. Either way, my co-workers are gonna be very happy.
                  I'd like to experiment with both of the recipes posted above as I like the loaf idea a lot. Thanks!

                  1. re: ScarletB

                    Well, authentic Irish soda bread, the kind that's made in Ireland, is made with brown (i.e., whole wheat) flour, it's not sweet, doesn't have much fat, has no raisins or currants, and definitely isn't baked in a pan.

                    Not that there's anything the least bit wrong with the recipes posted in this thread - this kind of soda bread is delicious, if you ask me. Let's just say it's authentic Irish-American soda bread, just as corned beef and cabbage is Irish American. (If you think I have any issues with Irish-Americanness, look at my name! [g])

                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                      Well, I don't do corned beef and cabbage, but I guess I make Irish-American Soda Bread, thanks to Grandma Maud Catherman. :-)

                      I personally don't like the whole wheat flour version, although my mother makes that kind. It's a denser, heavier loaf.

                      1. re: LindaWhit

                        Irish-American soda bread is, shall we say, a whole different animal. The plain whole meal soda bread made in Ireland is meant to replace yeast bread, while the New World version is something moister and sweeter. Also, my understanding is that Irish brown flour is substantially different in texture than our whole wheat flour (presumably due to different strains of wheat, etc.), so I presume soda bread in Ireland has a different taste and texture than an American approximation of a traditional Irish recipe would - doesn't mean we'd like it or not, of course. I haven't had the privelege (nor do I know how common soda bread even is in Ireland these days!).

                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                          My recipe is admittedly more cake like, but I am not American. I am from Canada, but i consider myself a Newfoundlander first. So my recipe i guess , would be Irish-Newfoundland Soda Bread. Which is kind of splitting hairs, because i'm sure the Irish do not call their bread "irish" soda bread anyway.

                          I don't think that there is but ONE soda bread in Ireland (plus if you've never tasted it in that country, how would you know?)

                          To my knowledge soda bread is a bread that substitutes soda for yeast to make it rise. Therefore it could come in various forms, perhaps in various counties, chef to chef no?

                          According to wiki
                          whole meal soda bread is called "wheaten bread"

                          One of the nearby farmer's markets had a guy from ireland selling various treats, one of which was soda bread. His had currants, and was more bread-like.

                          I liken it a little to the figgy duff everyone makes back home. Some make it sweeter, some use white flour, some make it with molasses, some use a base of bread crumbs. Which is authentic? Pretty much all of them.

                          1. re: im_nomad

                            Figgy duff? OK, I gotta know what that is - intrigued just by the name!

                            1. re: LindaWhit

                              It's a white boiled pudding with raisins. Sometimes it's steamed and more of a dessert. When it's boiled the batter is made and placed in a muslin or cotton bag and cooked along with the jiggs dinner.

                            2. re: im_nomad

                              im_nomad, the last thing I desire is to create an international incident over soda bread, so forgive me for sounding US-centric in my post, as that was hardly my intent. Why don't I pull my foot out of my mouth and just call our common versions New World soda bread. As I said, I think they're delicious, and I'm sure yours is.

                              I was basing my conclusions about Irish soda breads (in Ireland) on what I've read and heard a several Irish cookbook authors say. I suppose the crucial point made was that it is indeed more bread-like, and less sweet and moist, as I said in post above.

                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                The Boston Globe's Food section last Wednesday had an article on various foods eaten on St. Patrick's Day, as told by the former owner of Matt Murphy's Pub in Brookline and his American wife. They served corned beef and cabbage in the pub, but always went with more traditional Irish fare at home (lamb stew). And the recipe for soda bread that was included was more along the lines you're talking about, Caitlin. Here's the article:


                                And the recipe for Brown Soda Bread is here:

                                As you can see by the ingredients - nary a raisin, currant, or bit of sugar in their recipe.

                                1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
                                1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
                                1 cup wheat bran
                                1 1/2 teaspoons salt
                                1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
                                2 1/3 cups buttermilk
                                Extra all-purpose flour (for sprinkling)

                                It definitely seems more like what I've had made by my Mom in the past; I've just grown more accustomed to the slightly sweeter version - and I really like the raisins or currants.

                                And that's what makes the world go round and recipes change - different ingredients available in different parts of the world allow for changes to recipes and new customs. :-)

                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                  yep i agree, all types are good. I sure wouldn't want a slab of the sweeter ones if i was having it with stew or something !

                                  (no offence taken on being US-centric, if that's where you're from!!....i was just asserting my heritage as well !!)

                                  1. re: im_nomad

                                    Totally agree with you, im_nomad re: the sweeter one being inappropriate with a stew. The hearty brown bread version would be better.

                        2. re: ScarletB

                          I used the Oregonian recipe you posted and baked it as a round loaf in a glass pie pan using the time and temp LindaWhit suggested.
                          It was very good, thank you for posting the link!
                          I'm bookmarking this thread because now I want to try the different styles.

                          1. re: fern

                            The individual "biscuits" went over very well at work today. I am definitely going to try the other versions, and making it in a dish or loaf pan. What a fun thread!

              2. This looks excellent. I've always made it with raisins, but currants sound really nice.

                Also, the "family recipe" that was given to me uses a mix of butter and Crisco. Anyone else have a recipe that is similar or can you suggest a substitute as I try to not use "food products" when I cook. - Thanks

                1 Reply
                1. re: gatorfoodie

                  I would just use all butter - most recipes I've seen just use butter, so I would think it should be okay without the shortening.

                2. This is the Irish Soda Bread recipe from the Silver Palate New Basics Cookbook. I made it yesterday.