Loaves of Luck: Classic Irish Soda Bread
If you’ve ever had a steaming bowl of lamb stew or a hearty plate of corned beef and cabbage at an Irish pub, it’s likely your meal was served with soda bread. Soda bread, as the name implies, is a type of quick bread that bakes up with a crunchy, golden brown exterior and a surprisingly moist, dense interior. The secret to the bread’s unique texture? The combination of flour, bread soda, salt and buttermilk. The lactic acid in the buttermilk combines with the baking soda to create bubbles of carbon dioxide — in other words, you get a lovely loaf of bread instead of a brick.
There are two common types of soda bread. If the loaf is made with white flour, it’s referred to as “white” or just plain soda bread. But if whole-wheat flour is used, the bread is known as “brown” soda. Either type is great for dipping into potato-leek soup or savory lamb stew. You can also make your soda bread a little sweeter by adding brown sugar or maple syrup and a dried fruit like currants or raisins — this type of soda bread is traditionally served with afternoon tea or breakfast. Never tried soda bread? It’s easy to make! Check out the five recipes below this St. Patrick’s Day.
A generous amount of butter in the dough gives this soda bread a creamy richness that’s offset by tangy currants and plump raisins. Caraway seeds add an intriguing savory note.
This is a traditional version of soda bread. The buttermilk helps the crumb stay tender, but the crust bakes up with a nice crunch. Add raisins if you like your bread a little sweeter.
A hint of brown sugar and a handful of golden raisins give this quick break a touch of sweetness that makes it the perfect accompaniment to afternoon tea.
It’s hard to believe that just five ingredients come together to make this traditional Irish soda bread. Since it’s made with whole-wheat flour, this version, like the recipe above, is called “brown” bread.
These cute little wedge scones bake up in almost no time, and they’re perfect for brunch or afternoon coffee. Maple syrup in the dough makes them just sweet enough to be a treat.
Get into the shamrock spirit! Check out all our St. Patrick’s Day recipes!