Not Just Any Irish Soda Bread!

When I first tried Irish Soda Bread I was less than impressed.  It was served at one of our gourmet dinners many years ago.   I am not certain what I expected but it certainly wasn't the flat, blah taste that I encountered.  Since then, I have been on a quest:  Find a recipe that I like!  So, each year I seem to try a "new" recipe for Irish Soda Bread...well, new to me.  Being a traditionalist, I of course go looking for the traditional Irish Soda Bread, not just any.

For the last couple of years I have made Mrs. O'Callaghan's Soda Bread.  It was featured in the March 2010 issue of Bon Appetit.  It had a very nice taste and baked up nicely.  It was a no nonsense recipe worthy of repeating.

This year I stumbled upon another recipe for Irish Soda Bread said to be traditional.  It moves up the ladder in front of Mrs. O'Callaghan's Soda Bread.  I now have a new favorite!  The original recipe came from  Melinda broadcasts a radio program called Food News.  It was definitely news to me that I would find such a great soda bread!

Now, I guess I must fess-up about the cooking adventure.  I was having a great time prepping the ingredients for the bread.  Everything was pre-measured and ready to go or so I thought.  The dough was thick, I spooned it into the skillet, admired the little pats of butter on top, popped it into the oven and anticipated the results!  I started to clean up and noticed the sugar canister...when...oh,  no....I did not remember measuring out any sugar.  I grabbed a potholder and pulled the bread out of the oven and dumped it back into the bowl.  (I should tell you that it was only in the oven three minutes.)

I added the sugar and mixed it in along with the butter that had been on top and was partially melted.  I spooned the dough back into the pan, dotted the top with little pieces of butter, once again...and popped it back into the oven.

So, my recipe has a little bit more butter than was called for and it turned out just great!  What's a little extra butter?

Irish Soda Bread

Makes 1, 10" round loaf

6 Tbsp sweet butter, softened (divided use)  (I used an extra 2 Tbsp of butter.)
3 cups unbleached flour (all-purpose)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups dried currants
1 Tbsp caraway seeds
1 3/4 cup buttermilk
2 eggs, well beaten

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Smear 2 Tbsp of the butter evenly in the 10" road cake pan or cast iron skillet
Line the pan with a circle of parchment and grease with the remaining butter.

Melt another 2 (or 4 if you like) Tbsp of butter and set aside.

Sift together the dry ingredients, except currants and caraway seed.
Add currants and caraway seeds to the dry ingredients.

Whisk together wet ingredients:  buttermilk, eggs, and melted butter.  Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, mixing just until blended.

Spoon batter into prepared pan or skillet and gently smooth the top.  Dot the top with the remaining 2 Tbsp of butter.

Bake about 60 minutes until golden and puffed.  (Skewer inserted into center of loaf with come out clean.  (If using a cast iron skillet check the bread at 45-50 minutes.  I removed mine at 50 minutes.)

Cool slightly, then turn out soda bread from its baking pan onto a cake rack to cool completely.

Note:  Cast iron pans really hold the heat and will continue cooking the bread.  Remove the bread right away if using cast iron.

Bread may be returned to the pan for serving, if desired, cut into wedges.  May be warmed gently before serving.


The bread was great.   It had a hint of sweetness, a hint of caraway, which I wasn't certain I would like....but combined with the currants...yum.)

I am participating in Full Plate Thursday hosted by Miz Helen's Country Cottage and Foodie Friday hosted by Michael at Designs by Gollum.


  1. Kathy, this is very similar to the recipe I posted last year and it's funny as mine called for caraway seeds too and I left them out! I'm wishing now I hadn't left them out. Yours has more sugar so I think I'd like your recipe better, as I prefer it a bit sweeter. It looks nice and moist!

  2. I do love bread and this looks so very good. Any bread that
    has a touch of sweetness gets a check + with me..
    Gorgeous photo..

  3. Similar to mine that I have made for years, one year while catering 70 loaves.
    I saw one that uses just sour cream, so I am going to try it, rather than the buttermilk.
    I make some with caraway, some without. I like it with, but some don't.
    Yours looks very good, Kate.
    The first time I made it 25 years ago, it was so bad the birds wouldn't even eat it. But a lot of the OLD recipes are very dry! For reasons of economy, and never raisins.

  4. Perhaps some things happen for a reason....This looks awesome. No doubt this version of Irish Soda Bread was delicious.


  5. I just love soda bread... what a beautiful job you did with it. It looks so moist which is often a problem with soda bread. Lovely dish just in time for St Patrick's day!!

  6. first time here !! love this bread

  7. I love the perfect brown color on top =). Then the yummy look in inside =)

  8. Sounds delicious and looks so moist. That is probably what distinguishes one soda bread from the other.

    Unfortunately I've never eaten Irish soda bread and I'm missing out this year because my Irish sister-in-law made hers from her mother's handwritten recipe and I wish I was home for a taste. I read somewhere that you can freeze left-over buttermilk (I see it in the recipe). I may give it a try as I have some from mashed potatoes.

  9. Looks good with the currants in it - we made our first last year and were under-whelmed - but may try again this year with your recipe.

  10. Definitely the way to go - with currants and caraway - sounds perfect!
    mary x

  11. Kathy,
    This is a beautiful skillet of Irish Soda Bread. It looks just like my Grandmothers sitting there. It is a great recipe! Hope you are having a great week end and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Happy St. Patrick's Day and Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen


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