Thursday, March 15, 2012

Simple and Sweet Soda Bread

Simple and Sweet Soda Bread

A number of years ago I had the pleasure of working with a few Irish clients and, consequently, found myself frequently dining at Irish restaurants. There was plenty on the menus to suit my taste but the soda bread was never particularly interesting to me. Last year, however, an Irish colleague brought a soda bread into the office and I was fortunate enough to get a small piece before it was set upon and devoured as if by a pack of ravenous wolves. The bread was actually made by a friend of hers and it was unlike any I'd had before.

Simple and Sweet Soda Bread
The friend's version was light and subtly sweet. It wasn't quite a cake but maybe almost scone-like. I loved it and could have happily eaten the whole loaf... well, except for the wolves.

Simple and Sweet Soda Bread
I tried, unsuccessfully, to get the recipe but now I'd really worked up an appetite for this bread! So, I started reading through lots of online recipes to see if any resembled what I'd tasted. The closest I found was at AllRecipes and, while I did modify it slightly, it came out quite close to the bread I remembered.

I'm not sure which version of Irish soda bread is technically correct but I do know what I find delicious. We'll be feasting on this tasty loaf all weekend, assuming it actually lasts that long. Happy St. Patrick's Day and enjoy!

4 Cups all-purpose flour plus a little extra for patting out the dough
5 Tablespoons sugar
1 Teaspoon baking soda
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 Teaspoon salt
1 Stick unsalted butter, softened
1 Cup buttermilk (I used low fat)
1 Egg

For the glaze:
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
2 Tablespoons buttermilk

Simple and Sweet Soda Bread
In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add in the softened butter (I used a pastry cutter to make sure it was fully incorporated). In a separate bowl, add the egg and cup of buttermilk and whisk to combine. Pour into the flour mixture and stir to combine. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead slightly. The dough is not sticky and will come together fairly easily. Form the dough into a round and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Simple and Sweet Soda Bread
In a small bowl, combine the 2 tablespoons of melted butter and buttermilk and brush onto the dough. Using a knife, cut an 'X' into the top of the loaf and bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

According to AllRecipes, this makes 20 servings.  Hahahahaha...


  1. I love good soda bread. This recipe looks like it could be vert tasty.

  2. I don't think I have ever had or made soda bread. Quite apropos for the upcoming St. Paddy's Day! Saving this and buzzed ya too.

  3. This bread looks really nice - I love how there is not fuss involved with this :D

    Choc Chip Uru

  4. When I moved to the US I was surprised when I tasted sweetened soda breads and some of them had caraway seed in them. I had never tasted them made this way in Ireland. Interestingly enough when I researched this I found that the US versions are actually more traditional and that the sweetening just fell of favor in Ireland. (I wonder if it was during rationing in the war years)
    Anyhow I am rambling. This looks great.And Happy St Patricks Day to you and yours

  5. It looks perfect, Anita...and 20 servings??? You are right to laugh. My Irish girlfriend just mixes hers up measuring with a coffee even if you knew the baker, it might be hard to get an accurate recipe :)

  6. I have not tried soda bread before. This looks good.

  7. Oh this looks so delicious! I love soda bread, one of my favorite! Great recipe!!!

  8. Oh this bread looks delicious! I've never made soda bread before.


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