Let’s take a few quiet seconds to just look at and adore this loaf of bread. Ahhhh… sighhhh…
That is a thing of beauty. That golden, perfectly cracked top crust.
If I had to pick one carb to eat for the rest of my life, it might be this bread. Although it’s a toss-up between Irish Soda Bread and Aunt Janet’s Cinnamon Rolls.
What I love, I mean <3 <3 <3 LOVE about this recipe, is how easy it is. If you love soda bread, and you’ve ever tried to make it at home, and that experience made you hate soda bread, then this recipe is for you.
Let me give you a little history of me and soda bread:
When I lived in New York, I used to eat at this little Irish diner once a week called Eileen’s Country Kitchen. (2018 Update: I just found out the place CLOSED! Bah!) The food was okay, nothing special, a little pricey maybe. BUT THEY REELED ME IN WITH THE BREAD. I couldn’t. stop. going. back.
A free basket of Irish Soda Bread. Fresh. Soft. Made irresistible with a pat of butter on top. That bread basket would get me every time.
Me talking to me: “Danielle, wait until after dinner to eat that bread. Don’t ruin your supper! Oh my gahhh, but look how fresh it is today. and soft white. and I’m so hungry. It’s just calling my name. Just one. Okay, but where is the food? Should I have a second slice? Okay, have a second slice, but you MAY NOT have any more for dessert. [20 minutes later:] I’m so full, but I need just a little something sweet now. Just ONE bite. or slice. with a little butter…”
Every. dang. time.
So I asked Mary, of Mary’s Celtic Kitchen, could I please have her bread recipe? And I took that little scratch-paper recipe home with me and within a few hours, had my own loaf of Irish Soda Bread in the oven. And an hour after that, I pulled a pretty, albeit lop-sided, round loaf out of the oven. And about an hour after that, I had a raisin-spotted concrete block sitting on my kitchen counter.
But then one of my colleagues made this ↑↑ bread and I NEEDED the recipe. Like, hounded her for the recipe. Mayyyybe got a little aggressive about it. (Just kidding about that last part… or am I?) Her loaf was so perfect. Could this be the answer to my soda bread wishes?
I really think it is. It was so easy to make and turned out perfectly. That first bite took me back to all my evenings sitting in the booth at Mary’s Celtic Kitchen and my internal struggle – to eat or not to eat a bajillion slices?
The crust is crispy and toasted perfectly, sitting right on top of the soft, chewy insides. Sweet, plump red currants. Just a touch sweet, but not too sweet that I can’t eat slice after slice after slice, with that airy baking soda taste. Do you know the taste I’m talking about? It’s light and mellow and addicting and I want to keep eating more bread, so I can taste that taste and figure it out.
Now go put the tea kettle on and eat! The bread is perfect on its own, so eat a slice plain. The bread is also perfect with butter, so eat a slice with butter too. And then, if you’re me, eat all the other slices in the loaf because, ya know, good bread gets old quickly. Wouldn’t want that to go to waste. No way, nuh uh! Must eat it ALL, NOW. Then wash it all down with a steaming cuppa Irish tea.
Easy Irish Soda Bread
- 5 cups sifted all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cup butter 1 stick, room temperature
- 2 1/2 cups red currants may substitute raisins, soaked in water for 15 to 20 minutes and drained
- 2 1/2 cups buttermilk
- 1 large egg slightly beaten
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter 2 (9 x 5-inch) bread pans.
Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Cut in the butter and mix very thoroughly with your hands until it gets grainy. Stir in currants.
Add the buttermilk and egg to the flour mixture. Stir until well moistened. Shape dough into 2 loaves and place in the pans.
Bake for 1 hour or until toothpick poked into the center comes out dry. Cool in the pans for 3 to 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.