Having just made carrot cake a few weeks ago I thought it would be a good idea to make an Irish Soda Bread recipe in the breakfast section of the book since St. Patty’s Day is only a few days away.
I’m a bread making virgin. But told myself that this year I wanted to get more into making homemade bread. I figured this one would be a great way to start since it is not a yeast bread. The process of making it from start to finish is simple and straight forward – mix the dry, add the butter, add the wet, form into a ball and bake.
What I probably should have done differently is try some Irish Soda Bread to have an idea of what it should taste like. Nonetheless, I thought it tasted great. As you probably already noticed from the picture, the dried fruit is noticeable missing but I’m not a raisins and currents kinda gal. (My coworker Karen, born and raised in Ireland, would probably cringe at this since she specifically told me on Friday that all Irish Soda Bread has some sort of dried fruit in it… Sorry Karen.) I also omitted the caraway seeds because I didn’t have any on hand and they were optional.
This bread would make a great accompaniment to a cup of afternoon tea – slightly dense and crumbly with a tab bit of sweet in the background. The ground cloves also gave it a nice aromatic feel. If you want to take a baby step into bread making, make sure to give this recipe a try.
Now I have to go find myself some store-bought Irish Soda Bread to see how this compares.
Yield: One 3-pound Loaf
- 1/2 cup golden raisins;
- 1/2 cup black currents;
- 3 cups all-purpose flour;
- 1 tablespoon baking powder;
- 1 teaspoon baking soda;
- 1/3 cup sugar;
- 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt;
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves;
- 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch pieces;
- 2 tablespoons caraway seeds (optional);
- 1 large egg;
- 1 cup buttermilk.
- Position a rack in the center of your oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
- In a medium bowl, combine the raisins and currents. Pour boiling water over to cover and set aside to reconstitute. In a bowl of of electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, salt and cloves. Add the cold butter pieces and mix on low speed until the butter is the size of small peas. Add the caraway seeds, if using, and mix to blend. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg and buttermilk.
- Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and mix on low speed until just combined. Be sure to scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl to combine thoroughly. Do not over mix. Drain the raisins and currants thoroughly. Add them to the dough and mix on low speed for 20 seconds.
- Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Kneed the dough gently, until the ingredients are fully incorporated. Using a little flour, if needed, form the dough into one large round – or divide it in half to form two small rounds.
- Place the round (rounds) on the prepared baking sheet. Using a sharp knife, cut the traditional “X” cutting about 1 1/2 inches deep into the top. Bake for 20 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees and bake for an additional 20 minutes for the large loaf, or 10 minutes for the smaller loaves. The loaves will be golden, and a wooden skewer inserted into the center wil come out clean. Remove to a wire rack to cool.
- Irish soda bread is best eaten the day it is made, but it can be tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and kept at room temperature for two days. For longer storage, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to five days, or freeze well wrapped in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil for up to three weeks. Defrost still wrapped at room temperature.