This basic old fashion American-Irish Soda Bread was planned to honor St. Patrick’s Day. I ended up falling in love with it.
The recipe is an improved version of the traditional Irish bread, but it does not taste like cake. Perfect for the traditional Irish cabbage and corned beef meal.
This recipe was initially planned to honor St. Patrick’s Day, which people worldwide celebrate in March every year.
I ended up falling in love with this bread and decided that together with the beer bread, or the no-knead bread recipes that I make very often, this basic old fashion American-Irish soda bread will be one of my treasures.
I found this recipe in a very old cookbook. I did some research, first in my old American books I own, starting with the oldest one I have from 1895, and to my surprise, I could not find an Irish soda bread at all.
I am pretty sure this bread was made in the 19th century. I just could not find a version of it anywhere.
I was hoping that the 1930 edition of my Settlement Cookbook would have one, and there is, except that it is called Buttermilk Bread, instead of Irish Soda bread.
I also looked into The Gourmet Cookbook from 1960. Bingo! This is what I was looking for, an old-fashioned American-Irish recipe that stands the test of time.
For sure, I did not want a “tea cake.” I wanted a loaf of bread to be served daily. I was not looking for a dessert. This recipe was the one.
A few thoughts regarding the recipe:
- Basically, what I understandfrom all this research, is that if your Irish soda brea has eggs, sugar, or milk, it’s called “cake”, not “bread”. No offense, but by definition, this is true!
- I was not trying to be a purist here, but I had the feeling that the Irish did not even put raisins or caraway seeds in their bread, this must be an American thing. After spending some time on internet doing research, I was right. The original, traditional Irish soda bread is made with only four ingredients: flour, baking soda, salt and buttermilk. And sometimes molasses, like in this recipe.
- This recipe from 1960 is trying to not upset anybody. It is an improved version of the traditional Irish bread, but it is still a bread. You can eat it with mild cheddar cheese, a soup, a salad, but it also goes well with butter and jam and a cup of coffee. It also has baking powder and also raisins and caraway seeds, as the usual American addition to the recipe.
- It is a bit denser than a yeast bread, with a mild sweetness from the raisins, which I found pleasant. However, Irish breads are dense and hearty, so it does have the right consistency.
- This recipe is very easy to make, uses clean ingredients and it is perfect with your tradiitonal Irish cabbage and corned beef.
This recipe proved to be everything I needed and more. We had it fresh, out of the oven with a little bit of butter, and also for dinner with soup, cheese and apples.
It was divine! I could not tell that the bread was not made with yeast.
I hope you make it for St. Patrick’s Day celebration! And if you don’t have the time for tomorrow, make it whenever you need some fresh bread.
IF you do not like the raisins or the caraway seeds, leave them out, no big deal. It will be closer to the authentic Irish soda bread from Ireland!
You only need an hour and ten minutes from start to finish to make it, and the results are wonderful! Ok, I will stop talking now and let you decide for yourself! See you next time!
- If you are going to sour regular milk instead of using buttermilk, start this process first.
- Add the vinegar or the lemon juice to a large measuring cup and then add the milk. Let rest 5-15 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350F/180C.
- In a big bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda.
- Add raisins or currants and caraway seeds.
- Stir well and add the buttermilk, to make a soft dough.
- Turn the dough onto a lightly floured board and knead gently for a minute, or until it is smooth and not sticky.
- Divide the dough in half and shape into round loaves.
- Place on a very lightly buttered baking sheet and bake for 50-55 minutes or until the loaves are a delicate brown.
- The bottom of the baked bread should have a hollow sound when tapped.
- Cool before cutting.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 155Total Fat: 0.7gSaturated Fat: 0.2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 220mgCarbohydrates: 33.1gFiber: 1.4gSugar: 6.9gProtein: 4.6g
Vitamin D 0mcg 0% Calcium 88mg 7% Iron 2mg 10% Potassium 248mg 5%