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  • Andrea K. Marcinkus

Irish Soda Bread - NOT just for St. Patrick's Day

Its a shame that this delicious quick bread is so seldom outside of the celebration of this holiday. Its quick and easy to make, can be made with sweet currants or made savory. Its a great substitute for dinner rolls, and if there is any left-over, it makes for some killer French toast!

Right now, so many of us are quarantined or "sheltering in place" as the coronavirus threatens. As we are nesting in our homes, hopefully, you will give this tasty quickbread a try! The recipe below calls for traditional currents or raisins (I used what I had - giant assorted raisins from Trader Joes). However, think about substituting orange zest from 1 orange and a half tablespoon of fresh chopped rosemary; or omitting the sugar and adding in an assortment of chopped fresh herbs and garlic! If you are liking the dinner-roll idea, you might also try making it in a muffin tin - just watch the timing - they should be ready in about 20-30 minutes if you prepare the recipe that way.

I like to make mine in this rustic soda-bread baker I bought from Wisconsin artisan potter, Frank Breneisen, based on the ones from rural Ireland, but any loaf pan or small casserole dish will work. (Mr. Breneisen runs Frog Hollow Pottery. His work can be found at The Christmas Barn in Lake Geneva, WI).

Irish Soda Bread

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup oat flour

(if you do not have oat flour, you can substitute 1 cup all-purpose flour and reduce the baking time by 15 min or so)

1/2 cup uncooked rolled oats

1 tsp baking soda

1 TBS sugar

1 tsp salt

1 1/3 cups buttermilk

3-4 TBS cold water

1/2 cup currants or raisins (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 375 F.

2. Mix dry ingredients together and add raisins, if using.

3. Mix buttermilk with water and add to dry ingredients.

4. Mix, then lightly work dough on a floured surface. Don't overwork - you just want everything to be incorporated and smooth. If you are using oat flour the dough will be sticky - try not to add too much flour as you are kneading.

5. Place into a greased baking dish. (I like to use butter for this, but any fat will work.)

6. Bake at 375 for 45-60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

7. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes in baking dish. Remove from dish and cool on wire rack.

Serve with butter or jam.

Let me know how yours turned out!

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