Tis the season for Irish Soda Bread! This bread comes together quickly and makes two good-sized loaves, plus it’s a great side to your dinner or St. Patrick’s Day brunch.
As with most Irish Soda Breads, the uniqueness of this bread comes from the buttermilk and baking soda. No yeast required! If you can find it, full fat buttermilk is best to use here for an added richness. We also brush the exterior of the bread with buttermilk and sprinkle with sugar before baking to give it a shiny, golden brown crust.
The other key to this bread is cutting the butter into the flour mixture. It’s a similar technique that you use for a pie crust, but not as intimidating or finicky. Use a pastry cutter if you have one, or two forks to cut the butter into small, pea-sized chunks into the flour. Honestly, I usually end up using my hands for this part. I find it’s the quickest and easiest way to get the butter crumbled up and still end up with a perfect marbled dough in the end.
This recipe makes two decent sized loaves, perfect for sharing with a friend or neighbor, plus they freeze well. You could also eat Irish Soda Bread for breakfast, snack, and with dinner like me because it’s that good and it’s all gone within a week. Don’t be alarmed by the small size of the loaves when you split them before baking. The extra baking soda and baking powder will lend to a high rise in the oven.
If you’re in a pinch and don’t want to make an extra trip to the store just for buttermilk, you can make your own. The basic ratio is about 1 scant cup buttermilk (scant = just under the 1 cup mark) and 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice. So for this recipe, measure out just under 1 1/2 cups of regular milk, add white vinegar or lemon juice up to the desired amount, and let sit for 5-10 minutes.
This Irish Soda Bread has a wonderfully crunchy crust, and a soft rich interior. It is perfect to serve with soup or for breakfast toasted with jam and butter. Let’s just make a universal decision to let Irish Soda Bread be a year round thing, okay? Sounds great.
Best Ever Irish Soda Bread
This Irish Soda Bread has a crunchy golden exterior, and a soft rich texture on the inside. Perfect for breakfast or as a side to a hearty soup for dinner!
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, chopped
- 1 egg
- 1 1/4 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix together the 4 cups flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tsp salt, 3 tsp baking powder, and 1 tsp baking soda into a large mixing bowl.
Add the 1/2 cup of chopped butter to the flour mixture. Cut the butter into the flour mixture by using a pastry cutter, two forks, or your fingers. You want the end result to be fine crumbs, some larger chunks are okay.
Mix the egg with the 1 1/4 cups of buttermilk, and add to flour mixture. Gently stir with a wooden spoon until a soft dough forms.
Dump the dough out onto a floured surface, and divide into two parts. Shape the two pieces into a round or oval loaf, being careful not to overwork the dough.
Place both loaves onto a cookie sheet, but not touching together, and cut a cross on the top with a serrated knife. Bush the loaves with buttermilk and sprinkle with sugar.
Cook for 50-60 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. Let cool on a wire rack. The bread keeps great in the fridge for a week, or can be frozen for a month.