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Irish Soda Bread

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This Irish Soda Bread is almost more tea cake than bread. It’s lightly sweet. The addition of sour cream adds richness and moisture. Plump golden raisins and caraway seeds add bursts of sweetness and flavor. Delicious toasted with butter!

This non-traditional Irish Soda Bread has become a tradition in our house.

Did you know there’s a Society for the Preservation of Irish Soda Bread? Spoiler alert…this recipe does not preserve the tradition (gasp!) Don’t get me wrong.  I like a traditional Irish Soda Bread, especially if it’s homemade.  

Most of what you see sold in stores has already strayed from tradition and quite frankly, is never terribly appealing to me anyway.  

They just seem like heavy loaves of bread that have been hanging out in their plastic bags too long. I’ve bought them, but they’ve been dry or the texture and flavor weren’t what I was looking for.

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So, I started my own search for a good recipe.  I think this might have started out as an escape from pressure to make Irish Potatoes a tradition in our house.  

My kids would often make them in school and bring them home.  They loved them and wanted to make them at home, too.  So we did.  

They’re fine, but a bite or two of those and I’m kinda done. Hey kids! Let’s make Irish Soda Bread instead this year! And a tradition was born ;)

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I made a few recipes and they were good, but this one?  This one stopped me in my tracks. I adore this one! It’s kind of difficult to describe; it’s tender, lightly sweet, moist and full of flavor.

It’s a quick bread, but the texture is that of something else…not a biscuit, not a scone, not a muffin. The sour cream in it lends a delicious bit of richness and definitely adds moisture.

The “Society” states on their home page that adding anything other than flour, baking soda, salt and buttermilk makes it a tea cake.

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I think I can go with that.  It’s perfect with tea.  We love it at breakfast, but it’s also great as a snack.  

I love to slice it nice and thick and then toast it.  Then, the outside gets nice and toasty, but the inside stays tender.  Slather a bit of salted butter on top and I’m in heaven.

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I always use golden raisins for this bread.  Actually, I pretty much only buy golden raisins.  I love that they’re generally plumper and more juicy than their deeper colored counterparts.  

In the pictures, you’ll see some darker raisins; those are the ones on the outside that just got deeper from baking.

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The caraway seeds can be controversial.  The first time I made this, my family requested that I make it without the caraway seeds.  So I took them out the next time and realized that they were mandatory for me.  That flavor is part of what I love about it.  

So guess what? I did the baby food thing.  

You know, when you’re supposed to reintroduce a food your baby might not like multiple times until they get used to the flavor and then eventually acquire a taste for it?  

Yeah, I did that.  I wanted to win the battle of the caraway seed.  And then guess what?  They love it now! (mwahahaha :)

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Irish Soda Bread.  How do I love thee?  Let me count the ways…Thickly sliced and toasted then topped with salty butter.  Okay, that’s only one.

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But I really, really love thee that way.

Irish Soda Bread

Update 3-25-15…I’ve found it easier and more effective to add the raisins and caraway seeds to the dry mixture before you add the sour cream and eggs. The flour helps the raisins not to sink in the batter and it’s just easier to distribute the seeds and fruit before you add the wet ingredients and the batter gets more difficult to stir. I’ve updated the instructions to reflect this change.
Servings 1 loaf

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons caraway seeds
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 1 pint sour cream 16 ounces I used light
  • 2 eggs
  • extra flour for dusting

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease or spray a 9″ springform pan.
  2. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl whisk together sour cream and eggs until fully combined.
  4. Add the raisins and caraway seeds to the flour mixture, tossing to coat and distributing evenly.
  5. Add the sour cream mixture to the flour mixture and stir with a sturdy spoon until combined. Batter will be thick and sticky. If you look at the picture in the post, you’ll see my spoon standing straight up in the batter.
  6. Scrape batter into prepared pan.
  7. Sprinkle top with enough flour so that you can pat the batter down evenly in the pan without it sticking to your hands. I probably used about 2 tablespoons.
  8. Make a shallow “X” in the top of the batter with a sharp knife.
  9. Bake for about 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  10. Cool, slice and serve.

Recipe Notes

*I think this bread is best on day one, and still good on day two. After that, it begins to dry out, although toasting it can bring it back a bit. I haven’t tried it, but I’m pretty sure it would freeze well. I would wrap it tightly in foil and put it in a freezer bag.

Recipe source Irish Rosie’s Irish Soda Bread

The Merchant Baker Copyright © 2015

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Susan

Friday 16th of March 2018

Just cut my first slice from my first loaf of this OH SO FABULOUS Irish Soda Bread. I have always loved this but have never found a recipe or an already prepared loaf that even came close to this. Had to sub anise seeds for caraway seeds but I love the deeper licorice flavor. This recipe is the BOMB💣!

Ramona

Friday 16th of March 2018

Oh Susan! That's so fun to hear! I've got all my ingredients to make a loaf for us tomorrow. Can't wait. And I loooove anise! I bet it's delicious in this loaf. I need to make a note to try that! Oh, and if you love this bread, you'll love the Irish Soda Bread Scones that were inspired by it. They're rich and yummy if you're a scone lover :)

Mary Chapman

Friday 5th of January 2018

Have you ever added dill?

Ramona

Saturday 6th of January 2018

Mary, no, I have never added dill, but it's an interesting idea. I have, however, used this recipe as a base to make a chocolate cherry version and as a base for a short cut stollen. For me, dill would take it in a more savory direction and this bread has some sweetness to it. I'm sure there's a savory version you could make with dill and a few other tweaks that would be delicious!

Cyndi B

Monday 16th of March 2015

This bread was so delicious. Tender and slightly sweet. Everyone really liked this bread,even people who said they didn't like Irish soda bread. This is a keeper. Following Ina Garten's lead I put some grated orange zest in the batter before I baked this. Every thing else was the same and it came out beautiful.

Ramona

Monday 16th of March 2015

I'm so glad you enjoyed it! Love the addition of orange zest. I made a version last fall with orange zest and cranberries. Really good! It's such an easy bread, no reason not to make it at any time of the year.

Kathy @ Beyond the Chicken Coop

Wednesday 11th of March 2015

I love that this is a quick bread that doesn't turn out as dense as most quick breads. I might need to make this without the raisins. My family eats raisins but doesn't care for them in bread.

Ramona

Wednesday 11th of March 2015

If you don't like raisins in bread, you'll never miss them by taking them out. The bread will still be delicious!

Amy Smith

Tuesday 10th of March 2015

Thanks for posting this! When you made this for us, the entire family devoured it. I hope I can achieve the same success when I try to make it.

Ramona

Tuesday 10th of March 2015

You definitely will. It's super fast and easy with a short ingredient list. We love it!

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