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Basic Old Fashion American-Irish Soda Bread

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.

Basic Old Fashion American-Irish Soda Bread

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.

Basic Old Fashion American-Irish Soda Bread

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.

American Irish soda bread- bread with raisins and caraway

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.

American Irish soda bread- sliced bread

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.
American Irish soda bread- sliced bread with knife and cherry preserves in a jar, overhead picture
  • 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.
American Irish soda bread- sliced bread

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.

American Irish soda bread- sliced loaf of bread

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!

Yield: 2 round loaves

Basic American-Irish Soda Bread

This recipe was planned to honor St. Patrick's Day that people all over the world celebrate in March, every year. 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 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.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. If you are going to sour regular milk instead of using buttermilk, start this process first.
  2. Add the vinegar or the lemon juice to a large measuring cup and then add the milk. Let rest 5-15 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 350F/180C.
  4. In a big bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda.
  5. Add raisins or currants and caraway seeds.
  6. Stir well and add the buttermilk, to make a soft dough.
  7. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured board and knead gently for a minute, or until it is smooth and not sticky.
  8. Divide the dough in half and shape into round loaves.
  9. Place on a very lightly buttered baking sheet and bake for 50-55 minutes or until the loaves are a delicate brown.
  10. The bottom of the baked bread should have a hollow sound when tapped.
  11. Cool before cutting.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

16

Serving Size:

1

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%

Did you make this recipe?

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Cristina

Sunday 20th of March 2022

Fabulous!! I tried several Irish bread recipes along the years but this is the one I will keep making from now on. We almost finished the bread in one day! The taste is fantastic, with a combination of sweet, salty and caraway. It goes very well with breakfast, lunch or dinner, toasted or fresh. The recipe is very easy to make and the taste came out perfect even without the real buttermilk - I used lemon juice and milk instead. Thank you Gabriela for another wonderful recipe!

The Bossy Kitchen

Sunday 20th of March 2022

Thank you, Cristina, for your lovely comment! You describe it the best, it is easy to make and suited for any meal. A true gem, especially during the cold season.

Ed O'Dwyer

Friday 11th of March 2022

Probably the reason you found an "Irish Soda Bread" recipe in a 1960 cook book and not before that is because John F. Kennedy was elected President in 1960. There are few references before that in cookbooks. And, most American chefs couldn't resist updating the simple Soda Bread to make it their own recipe. So today we have soda bread with jalepenos, soda bread with orange zest and the sky is the limit.

BTW, in 19th and early 20th century Ireland the words "cake" and "bread" were interchangeable name for soda bread. Irish English, not American English.

Irish Currant Bread could not be made after 1911 in America since the were banned so raisins had to be substituted. What we see today is American currant bread morphed into American Raisin bread and the traditional soda bread was left behind.

Soda Bread and Currant Bread use the same basic recipe, but the currant bread in the 19th century was a special occasion bread.

Today the Irish can make currant cake it 7 days a week if they want. But, we need to remember that it wasn't always like that.

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