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My husband and I both have some Irish heritage in our family linkage. We love some Irish soda bread as well as corn beef and cabbage. The boys love Irish soda bread too! They love corn beef, but even telling them that dinosaurs eat lettuce, they will not touch the cabbage.
The History of Irish Soda Bread:
Irish Soda Bread doesn’t nearly date back to the days of St Patty himself, but rather only a couple of centuries. Irish Soda Bread was first created in the late 1830s when the first iteration of baking soda or bicarbonate soda was introduced to the United Kingdon (U.K.).
Due to Ireland’s financial strife and lack of access to ingredients, the inspiration for Irish Soda Bread was one of necessity, to make the most of essential and inexpensive ingredients: “soft” wheat flour, baking soda, salt, and soured milk. Since Ireland’s unique climate is only suitable to growing wheat of the soft variety, soda bread became a perfect match for the country’s home cooks.
Soda bread is an ideal Irish recipe, even families who lived in the most isolated areas with little access to cooking equipment were able to create this simple and filling dish.
Since many of the lower-class and farmhouse kitchens had no oven access, the bread was cooked in iron pots or on griddles. This unique cooking method resulted in the signature dense texture, hard crust, and slight sourness that soda bread is known for. Sour milk was most commonly used in the early days of the bread’s history, thanks to its high acidity levels, but now buttermilk is typically used.
Traditionally marked with a cross on the top, soda bread loaves got their signature appearance due to superstitious reasons. Families believed if they cut a cross on the top of the bread that it would ward off evil and protect the household.
However, the typical shape of the loaves varies by region. While the Southern Irish regions traditionally bake their loaves of bread round with a crossed top. The Northern regions divide their dough into four pieces and cook triangle-shaped flatbreads on a griddle.
Classic Irish Soda Bread
- 1 c sifted all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 c butter Kerrygold is recommended
- 3 c whole-wheat flour
- 1 2/3 c buttermilk
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees
- Sift together all-purpose flour, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal.
- Stir in whole wheat flour, mixing well. Add buttermilk, stirring until the dry ingredients are thoroughly moistened.
- Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead about 5 minutes. Shape dough into a round loaf; place on a greased baking sheet.
- Using a sharp knife, cut a cross 1/4-inch deep on top of the loaf.
- Bake at 400° for 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
What are the benefits of Caraway Seeds?
Caraway is often used for digestive problems including heartburn, bloating, gas, loss of appetite, and mild stomach spasms. Caraway oil can help people cough up phlegm, improve control of urination, kill bacteria in the body, and relieve constipation.
Why do you include Caraway Seeds and Raisins?
It adds extra flavor, and my boys love raisins. They often call it Momma’s raisin bread and enjoy it for breakfast or as an afternoon snack.
The Best Irish Soda Bread Recipe
- 4 c all-purpose flour
- 3/4 c white sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 c butter at room temperature
- 1 1/2 c raisins
- 2 tbsp caraway seeds
- 1 1/2 c buttermilk at room temperature
- 3 eggs at room temperature
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a circular 9-inch cake pan.
- Stir together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl.
- Cut the butter into peices and add to the large bowl. Mix until well combined.
- Add in the buttermilk and eggs. Mix until well combined.
- Add in the raisins and caraway seeds. Then place the dough into the prepared cake pan.
- Bake in a overn for 45 minutes to 60 minutes at 350 degrees until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.
- Allow to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing. Serve warm with Kerrygold butter.
What is Kerrygold Butter?
Kerrygold Unsalted Butter has a higher butterfat content and is a perfect butter for baking. You’ll notice its grass-fed cow’s milk richness when you bake for the first time and find your pie crusts are flakier, and your cookies are more delectable thanks to Pure Irish Butter.
How do you store Irish Soda Bread?
Make sure to wrap well and you can enjoy it for several days after it has been cooked. It also freezes well so you can save it for a future time.
I really hope you enjoy Irish soda bread as much as we do here in this house. Please let me know your thoughts and don’t forget to pin this recipe, please.