Traditional Irish Soda Bread is possibly the easiest, fastest bread to make. No yeast, no mixer, no rising - just a bowl, a rubber spatula and a few measuring utensils and in about 10 minutes or less you have a delicious loaf of rustic bread ready for the oven. This is considered a quick bread and quick it is. For more quick breads see my Quick Bread Category.
The basic Traditional Irish Soda Bread consists of five ingredients and differs from the American version as it has no eggs, butter or sugar. It is a dense, moist, hearty bread thanks to an abundance of buttermilk. The Beauty of Buttermilk in Baking is an in-depth discussion of this important ingredient.
The addition of currants or raisins, caraway seed, and orange rind adds flavor notes that fit perfectly with this rustic bread.
Why you'll love this recipe
- It's super easy to make. A bowl, a rubber spatula and a few measuring ingredients are all that are required to make the bread.
- Due to the combination of all purpose flour and whole wheat flour, the bread has a depth of flavor by itself. Adding currants, caraway seeds, and orange rind add even more flavor.
- This rustic bread requires no shaping skills or involved techniques.
- It's great served on it's own with butter or cream cheese or as a great side to soup, chili or stew.
- It's the perfect foil for a ham and cheese or better yet a corned beef and swiss cheese sandwich.
- This soda bread lasts for days on the kitchen counter or can be frozen to enjoy later.
FRONT ROW: Salt, caraway seed and baking soda
MIDDLE ROW: Currants, orange for rind
BACK ROW: Whole wheat flour, all purpose flour and buttermilk
Be sure to see the recipe card below for the exact ingredients & instructions.
Step by Step Instructions
Step 1. Combine the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, salt and baking soda in a large bowl. Step 2. Whisk them together. Step 3. The currants were super moist and in a clump. Separate them by rubbing them with the flour to break them up. If raisins are being substituted, soak them first in hot water and squeeze them out completely before adding to the dry ingredients. Step 4. Mix in the currants and orange rind.
Step 5. Pour the buttermilk over the ingredients. Step 6. Using a rubber spatula, mix in the buttermilk using a folding motion. Step 7. The dough is very sticky and I don't recommend mixing it by hand. The spatula does a great job. Step 8. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a ball. Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake as directed.
Traditional soda bread has only five ingredients, flour, whole wheat flour, salt, baking soda and buttermilk. The American version features egg, butter and sugar.
It is called soda bread because it is leavened with baking soda. When the baking soda mixes with the buttermilk, it causes the bread to rise.
Dryness is most often caused by the lack of buttermilk. The dough should be very wet and sticky. Buttermilk naturally helps keep items moist.
- Be sure to use buttermilk or if that is not on hand, substitute milk. Remove 1 tablespoon milk for every cup and add 1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar. Let it sit while the rest of the recipe is prepared. As it sits it will curdle which is fine.
- See my post on Baking Powder vs. Baking Soda for more information on these two leavening agents.
- For a basic loaf, just omit the currants, caraway seed, and orange rind.
- Although the dough may be made with only all-purpose flour, it will not have the depth of flavor as that made with part whole wheat flour.
- If using raisins instead of currants, be sure to soak them in very hot water while the rest of the ingredients are gathered. Squeeze them very dry before adding them to the flour. Mix them in as for currants.
- I don't cut a cross in this bread as is traditional because the loaf becomes mis-shapen no matter how shallow the cut.
More Quick Breads to enjoy
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Traditional Irish Soda Bread
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (280 grams)
- 1 ¾ cups whole wheat flour (245 grams)
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- ¾ cup currants or raisins
- 1 tablespoon caraway seed
- 1 teaspoon orange rind
- 2 cups buttermilk
- If using raisins instead of currants, soak them in hot water. Squeeze them very dry when using. Grate the orange rind and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Combine both flour, the salt and baking soda in a large bowl.
- Add the currants or raisins to the dry ingredients. Rub them together with the flour. The currants may take a bit more effort to separate them if they are stuck together.
- Mix in the caraway seed and orange rind into the rest of the ingredients.
- Pour the buttermilk over and using a rubber spatula with a folding motion, combine the buttermilk and dry ingredients completely.
- Lightly flour your work surface and shape into a ball. Place on the parchment paper.
- Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until a tester comes out clean.
- Cool the bread on a rack.
- The bread may be stored at room temperature in a plastic bag for several days or it can be frozen for longer storage. Thaw it on the counter. Refresh in a 350°F oven, wrapped in foil with a hole left at the top for about 20 minutes.