February 16, 2014

Classic Irish Soda Bread {It's so Yummy}

Valentine's Day is over . . . bring on St. Patrick's Day :)

I was watching a Martha Stewart Baking show this morning and saw her make a loaf of Irish Soda Bread.  Hers had some strange ingredients in it, but it got me curious about what Irish Soda Bread tastes like.

So, I turned to my trusted Cook's Illustrated Cookbook and found this Classic Irish Soda Bread recipe.  Each ingredient is something I just so happen to have in my pantry at all times.  If you have ever made Snickerdoodles, then you most likely have cream of tartar on hand and while you might not have cake flour, it is available at pretty much every grocery store.
I LOVE this bread.  It is definitely something I will be making ALL YEAR LONG.  It tastes like a biscuit in bread form with a crunchy outside (which is the best part).  I don't know the traditional way to serve this bread, whether it's plain or smothered with butter, honey or jam?  I chose to serve mine with my Mom's Homemade Strawberry Freezer Jam and it is delicious.

I won't be stopping there.  I can't wait to use this bread for a breakfast sandwich with eggs, ham and cheese or use it as the "biscuit" for some sausage gravy or dip it in some cheesy soup.  So many possibilities.  It's easier than making biscuits and it has less butter than biscuits.  Sold!      
Classic Irish Soda Bread
adapted from: Cook's Illustrated
(Printable Recipe) or (Printable with Picture)

3 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. cake flour
2 Tbl. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbl. unsalted butter, cold
   plus 1 Tbl. melted butter for brushing loaf
1 3/4 c. buttermilk

Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a large bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, cake flour, sugar, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt.  Cut 2 Tablespoons of cold butter into chunks and add to the flour mixture.  Using your clean hands, work the butter into the dry ingredients until it is completely incorporated.  Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add 1 1/2 cups of the buttermilk.  Use a fork to work the ingredients together.  Add up to another 1/4 cup of buttermilk, adding 1 Tablespoon at a time, until a dough forms.  

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and pat together to form a 6'' round.  Place dough into an 8'' inch (or larger) cast-iron skillet.  If you don't have a cast-iron skillet you can use a baking sheet, but the outside won't get as crispy.  Use a sharp knife and cut an "x" into the top of the loaf, about 5-inches long and 3/4-inch deep.  Bake for 40 minutes.  Remove from oven and brush with 1 Tablespoon of melted butter.  Cool for a few minutes, slice and serve.  Best if eaten on the day it is made.        


  1. Jenn this is soooo pretty! Just saw it on FG and it's jumping off the page! Love it!! pinned

    And your site makeover rocks :)

  2. I just made irish soda bread for the first time last year and loved it! Yours looks perfect!

  3. This looks amazing. How would you make it gluten free?

    1. hmm? I've never made anything gluten free before. I believe you can buy gluten free flour?

    2. Splinters and Threads, just use GF plain flour and add an egg to help it rise. We don't have cake flour in Ireland, only brown or white or strong (which is for yeast bread or pizza crust). You shouldn't need the cream of tartar with the baking soda and buttermilk, but maybe that's because of the cake flour. We use either baking soda & buttermilk or baking powder and sweet milk. However, with the GF flour I use, I have to use self-raising, baking soda and cream of tartar. And the egg. Irish-made soda bread isn't really similar to American biscuits, but American-made soda bread is. Again, I think it's the flour. I'm not denigrating the recipe above, it's just not a recipe you'd find here. Then again, I make scones/biscuits (same recipe) all the time here, and could never get the recipe to work when I lived in the States. But we don't eat corned beef, either. We eat bacon (salted pork haunch).

  4. Yay for St. Patrick's recipes starting! This bread looks so great Jenn and I love how simple it is! Plus I just got an 8 inch skillet, can't wait to give it a try :)

    1. I loved how simple it was. Thanks!

  5. I made this kind of bread once, and I loved how easy and yummy it was. I hadn't thought about the resemblance to biscuits but I think it's spot on. Your loaf looks gorgeous by the way!

  6. That looks delicious! Oh how I love bread. Especially with St. Patricks Day coming up, this is great! I love making homemade bread and even experimenting with new recipes!

    xoxo Sarah Grace, Fresh Fit N Healthy.

  7. What gorgeous bread Jenn! Your pictures are just beautiful! Pinned

  8. Perfection! I looks so beautiful! You have such a lovely blog!

    Feel free to visit my blog as well! There are tons of tips on fashion, beauty, style, health, personal growth and more! <3

    New Blog Post: How To Look Well-Rested

  9. These pictures are gorgeous. I whish I could reach through the screen and grab a slice. It seriously looks amazing. Can't wait to give it a try!

  10. This bread looks like the perfect addition to like, every meal!! :) I love it!!

  11. This turned out really well - I followed the recipe and it was perfect. I'll make it again for sure.

    1. I'm so glad you liked it - thanks for letting me know!


  12. Just had to tell you that we're featuring this amazing recipe in our "The Monthly Musing" newsletter at Life in a House of Testosterone for St. Patrick's Day! I cannot wait to try this one out myself!