Oct 22, 2010

Irish Soda Bread with Cranberries

Irish Soda Bread with Cranberries!

I have another great quick bread recipe to share that anyone can put together! You can think of it like one big biscuit, and it tastes just as good! Irish soda bread is something my mom used to make for all sorts of meals but I quickly realized that what other people called irish soda bread was not what I was used to. My mom’s was full of flavor, very moist and when it came out of the oven with just a tad bit of butter on it, it was one of the best parts of dinner (and just as good for breakfast!). I find that a lot of recipes or store bought versions of irish soda bread taste almost chalky and bland and they are very dry. Maybe that’s a more authentic version of the bread, to be honest I’m not an expert, but regardless of what is the real deal, I can tell you that my mom’s recipe is the real deal for really delicious bread!! All you need is about an hour from start to finish (that includes baking time) and you will have yourself a very impressive loaf of bread! As a side note to those that shy away from making bread because of the fear you won’t do it right, you don’t knead it long enough or your loaf doesn’t rise, No Fear! There is no kneading, there is no yeast so no rising, just a few quick minutes, a little mix of ingredients and you’re good to go!

Here’s what you need:


(Adapted from my mom’s recipe. Makes one round loaf of bread.)

  • 1 stick butter
  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (or raisins)
  • 1 cup of buttermilk, added slowly

Start with the hard part, the butter. In a large mixing bowl pour in the flour and then add chunks of the butter. I usually use a fork and cut the butter in with the flour (same method I use in my biscuit recipe). You are almost mashing the butter in with the fork prongs and you do this until the texture is cornmeal like. A little on the course side but not too chunky. Once you’ve got the right consistency, add the baking powder, salt, and give everything a good mix.

Dry ingredients with the butter mixed in: Flour, baking powder, salt and sugar with butter.

All that is left is the buttermilk and cranberries. You can add your cranberries either before or after the buttermilk. Sometimes I find it’s easier to do it before though just to make sure they are evenly dispersed throughout the bread; once the buttermilk is added it can be difficult to mix in the dried fruit. When you pour in the buttermilk do a little bit at a time. For the majority of the time, I use the entire cup, but it’s better to be safe than sorry by adding portions of the milk at a time until the dough becomes the perfect consistency.

Irish soda bread dough: wet and dry ingredients.

The dough will be slightly sticky and the slightest bit wet from the buttermilk. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Now, one of the best parts about this bread is there is really no kneading involved. Just make sure you gave everything a good mix in the bowl and the ingredients are mixed together thoroughly and then just add your dough to the baking sheet and make a mound shape. If you want to get fancy with your bread you can make the traditional ‘x’ mark on the top with a knife.  I completely forgot to do that this time around!

Irish soda bread mound ready for the oven!

Bake the bread for approximately 40 minutes. The top is going to get a golden brown but before you take it out because it just looks so delicious make sure the inside is cooked all the way!

Irish soda bread fresh out of the oven!

See, it looks just like one giant drop biscuit! I love irish soda bread with soup, a chicken and rice meal, or even breakfast! It’s a comforting bread that fits nicely with all sorts of meals and its only fault is that it doesn’t last forever! I said this recipe wasn’t as dry as some others I have tried, however, just like any bread this is going to go stale in a few days. It is like scones: they are fantastic for just a few days and then they become rocks. However, I should also say that I think you’ll enjoy the bread so much you won’t find that you have much trouble sharing or finishing it all in time!! For now, that’s irish soda bread with cranberries…in the shell of a nut!

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