Irish Soda Bread! Guinness! Ireland!

Happy Saint Patrick's day, readers! I am not Irish myself, but being a ginger, I do like to show a little love for my hereditary neighbors to the southwest.  

And what better way to show love than baking? There is none. That's just science. And so today I give you my favorite recipe for Irish soda bread. Traditional soda bread is made with flour, baking soda, buttermilk and salt. My recipe adds butter, sugar, raisins and a little baking powder for extra leavening. 

Betty's Irish Soda Bread

  • Pre-heat oven and dutch oven to 350F
  • 3c all-purpose flour (using the scoop and sweep method)
  • 1/2c whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • 2 tsp salt (I use fancy fleur-de-sel for bread, but you do you!)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1c golden raisins (technically optional, but WHY WOULDN'T YOU??)
  • 1-1/3c buttermilk
 Cast of characters: buttermilk, raisins, butter, and the dry mid of flour, salt, leaveners, and sugar

Cast of characters: buttermilk, raisins, butter, and the dry mid of flour, salt, leaveners, and sugar

 Combine butter with dry until it resembles course crumbs

Combine butter with dry until it resembles course crumbs

 Knead a few times until the dough begins to take shape

Knead a few times until the dough begins to take shape

  1. Sift dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl
  2. Using your thumbs and forefingers, crumb the cold butter cubes into the dry mix until it resembles course crumbs. I find it easiest to use my first two fingers and thumb to press the butter into the dry mixture. I do this fairly quickly so as not to warm up the butter too much. You can also use a pastry cutter for this, but I like to get my hands in the dough.
  3. Stir in raisins, then buttermilk. Mix with hands or large wood spoon until the dough just starts to come together but is still shaggy (ie: loose and sticky)
  4. Turn dough out onto lightly floured parchment, counter, or pastry board. Knead a few times until the dough starts to stick together. I push out with the heel of my hand, fold it back on itself and then pivot the parchment 1/4 turn and repeat. 
  5. Shape into a 7 inch round about 1-1/2 inch thick, transfer to clean parchment and score the top with an X. Drop into pre-heated dutch oven (or cold cookie sheet) and bake for 45 minutes with lid on, then 10-15 without the lid or until the bottom sounds hollow.
  6. Try to let it cool before you ravenously devour it. Or don't. 
 Before baking

Before baking

 After baking

After baking

This is a big crowd-pleaser and is pretty easy to throw together for company. Special pro tip-- eat with apple butter at tea time or Irish Beef Stew with Guinness at dinner. Yep. Don't say I never gave you nothin'. I myself will be making the stew tonight for dinner, pics to come. Or maybe I'll inhale it before remembering to take a photo. That happens. A lot.

You may notice that I seemed to have the best of intentions last post and here we are two weeks later and not a whole lot of awesome posting has happened. I know, I know. But the good news is that the quarter is done, my work schedule is calming down, and I've been really productive during that time working out lots of awesome stuff for you guys. A ton of other stuff has been going on too, which I'll get to later this week as it is somewhat relevant to your interests.


Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Suggestions? Let me have it in the comments section below, via email (bettybetatester@gmail.com) or on the social media!