Irish Soda Bread
It has been called a “poor mans” bread, mainly because Ireland was a very poor country back in the 1800’s, which is when this bread is from. Traditional Irish Soda Bread actually only has 4 ingredients, flour, baking soda, salt and buttermilk. The baking soda was used for the leavening agent and the sour milk to bring it all together.
These days, we have incorporated other things like eggs, butter, sugar and fruit. The one thing that everyone has kept the same it seems is the cross that is cut in the top before baking. This was done because it was thought to ward off the devil and protect the house.
Some recipes call for this to be made on a baking sheet, however, I have found that using the cast iron skillet (as most recipes call for) works great! It just seems to give the crust a little something extra.
As I’ve said, many people have now added some sort of fruit to the bread. I have used cranberries in this recipe but others have used currants or even raisins. Again, they just add a little something extra as does the small amount of sugar and the addition of egg.
This crusty bread is hearty and delicious, especially slathered in Kerrygold Butter. Let me just tell y’all, if you have never had Kerrygold Butter you have got to try it. This is real Irish butter made from grass fed cows.
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Irish Soda Bread
- 4 cups flour plus extra for kneading
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 4 Tbsp unsalted butter cold
- 1 cup cranberries, currants or raisins I used Cranberries
- 2 Tbsp caraway seeds
- 1 large egg slightly beaten
- 1 3/4 cups butter milk
- Preheat oven to 425
- Whisk together flour, salt, baking soda and sugar
- Cut in butter with pastry blender or fingers until pieces are about the consistency of course meal.
- Add cranberries/currants/raisins (whichever you are using) and caraway seeds and stir.
- Make a well in the middle of dry mixture and add egg and butter milk in the center. Stir with wooden spoon until mixture comes together and you are no longer able to stir.
- Scoop out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few times before forming dough into round loaf. The dough will be a bit sticky and rough.
- Place loaf into a greased 10 inch cast iron skillet. (You can use a greased baking sheet or parchment paper if you don't have a cast iron skillet)Using a serrated knife, cut a cross into the top of the loaf.
- Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until bread sounds hollow when thumped or a wooden skewer poked into the center comes out clean. If you notice the top is becoming too brown simply lay a piece of foil over the top.
- Let cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool for approximately another 10 minutes.
- Cut with a serrated knife and slather with butter. This is also fantastic toasted.