Growing up in a family of Irish decent, one would expect a traditional Irish favorite like soda bread to be served with regularity. However, I do not recall having soda bread for the first time until my teen years. I remember I stopped by this local bakery to pick up some sourdough and there it was, piled high on a sample tray, “Irish Soda Bread”. It was love at first bite, after that, I always looked for soda bread when visiting bakeries or traveling abroad. In recent years, I have tinkered around with several different recipes, trying to find the right consistency and flavor. Traditionally, Irish soda bread is not sweet, but since this is my rendition of it, it is.
You may remember the “Irish Soda Muffins” I blogged about awhile back. Those muffins are great for a go-to breakfast, snack or quick side to accompany dinner. They are tasty, hold up well and freeze easily. Soda Bread 2.0 is more of a dessert bread, great for a Sunday brunch, afternoon tea, homemade gift or after dinner treat. Packed fully of plump golden raisins, sweet dried cranberries, crunchy toasted almond slices and the sweetest vanilla/almond aroma, this bread is hard to hide from my family of vultures.
Soda Bread 2.0
Prep time: 15 minutes / bake time: 50-60 minutes / Makes: 1 loaf
2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt, course
3 tablespoon butter, cubed
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
1 egg, beaten
3 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup white sugar
1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup sliced almonds
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 cup sugar, course crystals
- Preheat oven to 375º
- Grease loaf pan and set aside.
- Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl; flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.
- Using cold butter, dice butter into small cubes and add to the dry ingredients.
- Using a pastry cutter or a standing mixer with the paddle attachment, cut in butter until the flour mixture resembles course crumbles. You can also do this step using your hands.
- In a small bowl, mix the buttermilk, honey, egg, vanilla and almond extract; beat until combined.
- Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and stir or mix on low speed until combined. Batter should be thick and semi-sticky.
- Add raisins, dried cranberries, almond slices and stir until combined.
- Transfer batter into greased loaf pan and sprinkle top with course sugar.
- Bake loaf in the center of your oven at 375º for 50-60 minutes, or until the top of the loaf is golden brown. Baking time may very depending on oven and altitude.
- Using a knife, check the center of the bread to see it has set. Cool on a wire rack and enjoy with your favorite buttery spread.
Baking soda bread can be tricky because of it’s density. I suggest watching the bread carefully to see if it is browning too fast in your oven. If that is the case, I suggest lowering the temperature to 350º. This will allow the center of the bread to continue cooking, without over browning the top. Allow bread loaf to cool completely before serving.
This bread will stay fresh in an airtight container for up to one week, you can also freeze this bread for later use.
Can’t get enough soda bread? Here’s a link to my Irish Soda Muffins