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Irish Soda Bread for St. Patrick's Day

There's something deeply comforting about the aroma of freshly baked bread filling the kitchen, especially when it's a beloved recipe passed down through generations. Irish Soda Bread is one such classic, a staple in Irish households for centuries. With its rustic charm and simple ingredients, it's a testament to the beauty of traditional baking. In this blog post, I'm excited to share with you my family's cherished recipe for Irish Soda Bread, perfect for any occasion and sure to evoke feelings of warmth and nostalgia.



irish soda bread on a table with butter and spreader for the feast of st patrick or st brigid


Did you know?

Irish Soda Bread doesn't require any yeast, instead the dough relies on the reaction between the baking soda and the acidic buttermilk to rise. Irish Soda Bread has deep roots in Irish culture and history. It dates back to the 19th century when baking soda became a popular leavening agent in Ireland. Its popularity grew further during times of hardship, such as the Great Famine, when it provided sustenance to families with limited resources.


St. Patrick's Feast Day Resources

If you're looking for other ways to celebrate I have this DIY tutorial for Clover Pins, a traditional St. Patrick's Day morning custom, and this celebration guide. Just click the buttons below!




Or you can read this sassy little St. Patrick's Day post where I suggested a beer, gasp, all in the name of trying to encourage you to use what you can, even if it is small, to celebrate the saints and live a festive Catholic life. 😊




 

Three essential tips for baking successful Irish Soda Bread:


1. Handle the dough gently: Irish Soda Bread is known for its tender crumb and rustic texture. To achieve this, it's crucial not to overwork the dough. Mix the ingredients until just combined and knead lightly. Overmixing can result in a tough loaf, so handle the dough with care.


2. Use fresh ingredients: Since Irish Soda Bread relies on the reaction between the baking soda and the acidic buttermilk to rise, it's essential to use fresh ingredients, especially the baking soda and buttermilk. Check the expiration date on your baking soda, and make sure your buttermilk hasn't soured. Fresh ingredients will ensure that your bread rises properly and has the best flavor.


3. Score the dough: Before baking, score a deep cross into the top of the dough. This not only adds a traditional aesthetic but also helps the bread to expand and bake evenly. Be sure to use a sharp knife and make the cuts deep enough to allow for proper rising during baking. This step is crucial for achieving a beautiful, evenly baked loaf.


By following these tips, you'll be well on your way to baking a perfect loaf of Irish Soda Bread every time. Enjoy the process, and savor the delicious results!


 

Who's ready to start baking a loaf of hospitality and fresh bready goodness?


Prep Time: 15 minutes

Bake Time: 45-50 minutes

Servings: 12

 

Ingredients

  • 4 1/4 cups unbleached flour

  • 1 tsp baking soda

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1 cup raisins (optional)

  • 1/4 cup butter

  • 1 3/4 cups buttermilk

  • 1 orange, zested (optional)

  • 1 egg

  • parchment paper or cooking spray


Directions

  • Begin by preheating your oven to 375 degrees and taking out a dutch oven. You can also bake the bread in a greased cast iron skillet that is oven safe, or a sheet pan lined with a silicone mat or lightly coated with cooking spray.

  • In a medium sized bowl, whisk together 1 3/4 cups buttermilk and 1 egg then set that aside for later.

  • In a large glass mixing bowl, pour in 4 cups flour, 4 tablespoons sugar, 1 tsp salt, and 1 tsp baking soda then whisk the dry ingredients together.

  • Slice the cold butter into cubes and using either a fork or a pastry blender mix the butter into the dry ingredients. Cut the butter into the flour mixture until it forms the size of small pebbles.

  • Measure one cup raisins and pour them into the flour mixture. Then add in the zest of one orange and whisk to combine.

  • Pour in the buttermilk mixture and using either a wooden spoon or a whisk mix to form the dough as much as you can. This is a rather sticky dough so I only got so far with the whisk before I floured both of my hands and combined the ingredients myself.

  • Then, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and using the remaining 1/4 cup of flour form the dough into a round ball. It will be pretty sticky at first, that's normal, just keep rolling the dough into the flour and it will begin to form.

  • After shaping your dough, you only have to knead it for about a minute. Irish Soda Bread will become hard if you over work it.

  • Score the top of the dough with a very sharp knife in the shape of an X. I floured the knife a bit so that it wouldn't stick.

  • Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the loaf is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. I technically had to bake mine for 48 minutes but keep an eye on it towards the end.

  • Once the bread is finished baking I let it cool for about 10 minutes or so on a wire baking rack.

  • Slice the bread and serve with butter or jam for spreading.


*Use the picture by picture directions below and see the St. Patrick's Day prayer at the end. Enjoy!


Note: Keep the butter in the refrigerator until it is time to use it. We want to cut in butter that is cold, not room temperature.


irish soda bread ingredients on a wooden table

Begin by preheating your oven to 375 degrees and taking out a dutch oven. You can also bake the bread in a greased cast iron skillet that is oven safe, or a sheet pan lined with a silicone mat or lightly coated with cooking spray.


In a medium sized bowl, whisk together 1 3/4 cups buttermilk and 1 egg then set that aside for later.


wet ingredients of irish soda bread in a white bowl on a wooden table

In a large glass mixing bowl, pour in 4 cups flour, 4 tablespoons sugar, 1 tsp salt, and 1 tsp baking soda then whisk the dry ingredients together.


baking soda being poured into irish soda bread for st patrick's feast day

Slice the cold butter into cubes and using either a fork or a pastry blender mix the butter into the dry ingredients. Cut the butter into the flour mixture until it forms the size of small pebbles.


cold butter cut into cubes on a wooden table

hand using a pastry cutter to mix in butter to the flour mixture of irish soda bread for st patrick's day

butter cut into the flour mixture of irish soda bread for the feast of st patrick

Measure one cup raisins and pour them into the flour mixture. Then add in the zest of one orange and whisk to combine.


Note: These ingredients are both optional, but they really do add a pop of fresh flavor. You could also use currants if you don't care for raisins.



raisins in irish soda bread flour mixture for the feast of st patrick

orange zest in irish soda bread flour mixture for the feast of st patrick

Pour in the buttermilk mixture and using either a wooden spoon or a whisk mix to form the dough as much as you can. This is a rather sticky dough so I only got so far with the whisk before I floured both of my hands and combined the ingredients myself.


irish soda bread wet ingredients poured into the dry ingredients

Then, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and using the remaining 1/4 cup of flour form the dough into a round ball. It will be pretty sticky at first, that's normal, just keep rolling the dough into the flour and it will begin to form.


After shaping your dough, you only have to knead it for about a minute. Irish Soda Bread will become hard if you over work it.


This is how it started!


irish soda bread dough on a floured counter about to be formed in a dough ball

And this is how it looked when I placed it into the dutch oven lined with parchment paper.


Score the top of the dough with a very sharp knife in the shape of an X. I floured the knife a bit so that it wouldn't stick.


What is scoring bread?

Scoring bread is the process of making shallow cuts or slashes on the surface of bread dough before it is baked.


irish soda bread dough with score

Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the loaf is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. I technically had to bake mine for 48 minutes but keep an eye on it towards the end.


Irish soda bread in a blue le crueset dutch oven for the catholic feast of st patrick

Once the bread was finished baking, I let it cool on a wire baking rack for about 10 minutes or so.


irish soda bread sitting on a cutting board with striped towel and bread knife for the catholic feast of st. patrick

irish soda bread sitting on a cutting board with striped towel and bread knife for the catholic feast of st. patrick

Slice the bread and serve with butter or jam for spreading.


slice of irish soda bread sliced on a cutting board for the catholic feast of st patrick on a table

slice of irish soda bread for the catholic feast of st patrick on a table with butter, towel, and irish scene painting

slice of irish soda bread for the catholic feast of st patrick on a table with butter, towel, and irish scene painting


St. Patrick's Day Lorica Prayer


words of the st patrick lorica on green background

Did you make this recipe? If so I would love to see it, drop a picture in the comment or send it to me on social media, Facebook @HisGirlSunday or Instagram @steffani_hisgirlsunday.



see you in the eucharist text on white background

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