Bring traditional Irish Soda Bread home with this easy, passed-down recipe. This quick bread recipe comes together easily with no rising time necessary. And that’s because there’s no yeast to leaven it. If the idea of baking bread at home frightens you because of the yeast, this Irish Soda Bread recipe is the perfect bread recipe for you.
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Homemade Traditional Irish Soda Bread
I was fortunate enough to taste this soda bread when it was made by a colleague of mine and brought in for a potluck. We slathered it in Kerry Gold butter, of course, and it was just perfect. Luckily, he was willing to share this passed-down family recipe with me so I could share it with all of you! There’s nothing quite like a generations-old recipe that lives on for new generations to bake and enjoy.
How to Make Irish Soda Bread
The secret to Myra’s Irish Soda Bread is the butter and buttermilk. Many Irish soda bread recipes have just a little bit of butter in them. This one has more butter than most recipes do and it creates the perfect texture to this traditional bread. The addition of buttermilk keeps the bread moist as well as contributes to the rise. When combined with baking soda, buttermilk helps to leaven the bread, so no yeast is needed. This recipe is a wonderful quick bread, especially for those who may be fearful of baking breads with yeast.
Irish Soda Bread is baked in a round pan and has a crisp exterior with a light crumb. This recipe has a bit of sugar in it, but the bread is not overly sweet. The raisins are a wonderful contrast to the texture of the bread and give it the traditional look and flavor of Irish soda bread. Caraway seeds are optional.
Begin by mixing the dry ingredients with your hands. Next, work the butter in with your hands, stir in the raisins, and mix in the buttermilk and egg a little at a time.
Next, form the dough into a rough round and place in a greased pan. Dust the top lightly with flour. Using the wrong end of a fork (aka, the end you hold) cut a deep cross into the top of the bread. Now you’re ready to bake!
Tips for Making Myra’s Irish Soda Bread
- Don’t be afraid to get in there with your hands on this one. Wash them thoroughly, of course, then use them to mix the dry ingredients. This will create a light and fluffy mixture, helping to maintain a lightness to the finished bread
- Use your hands also to work in the butter. Be sure your butter is softened, but not melted. I like to leave the butter out on the counter overnight if I know I’m baking the next day. If you forget or don’t have the time, leave it on the counter for at least 60 minutes, unless it’s particularly warm in your kitchen and you can get away with 30 minutes. If your butter is still too cold, place in the microwave on a microwave-safe dish for 8-10 seconds. You should be able to press down on it easily leaving a dent
- Once the dough has come together, dust your work surface with flour and dump the bread on to it. Dust the top and sides with flour as well so that you can more easily form the dough into a ball shape without it sticking to your hands. I like to leave a small pile of flour on the side of my work surface so I can easily grab a little as I need it
Useful Kitchen Tools for Making Myra’s Irish Soda Bread
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Myra’s Irish Soda Bread
If the idea of baking bread at home frightens you because of the yeast, this traditional Irish Soda Bread recipe is the perfect bread recipe for you.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 60 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
- Yield: 1 loaf 1x
- Category: Bread
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: Irish
- 4 cups (20 ounces / 480 grams) all-purpose flour
- ½ cup (3 ½ ounces / 100 grams) granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon (1 gram) baking soda
- 2 teaspoons (10 grams) baking powder
- ½ teaspoon (2 grams) kosher salt
- 1 ½ cups (335 milliliters) buttermilk
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- ½ cup (4 ounces / 113 grams) Kerrygold butter
- 1 cup (158 grams) raisins
- 1 teaspoon (3 grams) caraway seeds (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF (177ºC). Grease a 9-inch round pan with butter and set aside
- In a large mixing bowl, add flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Toss mixture with hands – this makes it light and airy
- Add softened butter to the flour mixture, still using hands, and blend until evenly distributed. Mixture will resemble coarse sand with some large clumps
- Add raisins and caraway seeds, if using, and toss with hands
- In a separate bowl or large measuring cup, beat the eggs with a fork. Add the buttermilk and blend well. Pour the egg/buttermilk mixture into the dry flour mixture a little at a time. Blend well with a wooden spoon just until no dry spots remain. Do not overmix. At this point, the dough should be heavy but not soupy or overly wet. If it is, add a little flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. If it’s too dry, add a little buttermilk, 1 tablespoon at a time until dough comes together
- Dump dough onto a clean, floured work surface such as a countertop or large cutting board. Dust your hands with flour and mold the dough into a round – doesn’t have to be perfect. Place dough into prepared pan and dust top lightly with flour
- Using the wrong end of a fork, cut a deep cross into the top of the dough. This will prevent the bread from cracking while it bakes and gives it the traditional Irish Soda Bread look
- Bake for 50 – 60 minutes or until golden brown. Place the pan on a wire rack to cool. Slice and serve warm with butter or marmalade
- Store bread loosely covered with plastic wrap at room temperature for up to 4 days
- To freeze, slice bread, place in a single layer on a baking tray and place in freezer for at least 1 hour. Place frozen slices in a freezer-safe ziplock bag for up to 3 months. To defrost, leave at room temperature for 30 minutes or place in the microwave on 50% for 1 minute. Toast and serve
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