Many years ago we had a neighbor who would bake Irish Soda Bread. Every St Patrick’s Day, Judy or her husband would run a loaf across the road to us, packaged and perfect for St Patrick’s Day afternoon tea. When we moved to Wisconsin I continued the tradition. I never had Judy’s recipe, so I make this version. Follow along as I show you how to make Golden Irish Soda Bread.
This recipe is from the Barefoot Contessa with a couple of ingredient swaps. I almost never have buttermilk in the house, so I substitute milk with a tablespoon of lemon.
I use whatever dried fruit I have available. The key to cooking well and staying on a budget is being versatile with what ingredients you use. I had recently made a dozen Homemade Instant Oatmeal Packets and had some golden raisins left. Since I also have an abundance of cheap lemons right now, I added lemon zest. The result is a Golden, slightly sweet version of our St Patrick’s Day staple.
Get everything ready – a large baking sheet lined with parchment and preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. The basics are the dry ingredients of flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda. Your fat, butter. Wet ingredients of a lightly beaten large egg and some buttermilk. And your add-ins, lemon zest and golden raisins.
Combine your dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. I use a mixer with a paddle attachment but you can do this by hand. Cube your butter and add to the dry mixture. I combine until the butter is well integrated into the flour mixture. If mixing by hand, use a knife or fork or pastry cutter to break up the butter. The mixture should have lumps of butter throughout. Then mix.
Once the butter and flour are well combined, mix your lightly beaten egg, buttermilk, and lemon zest together and slowly add to the dry ingredients as you mix to combine. Once everything is well mixed, toss your dried fruit with a tablespoon of flour and add to the dough.
I find it always works out fairly sticky for me so I turn it straight onto the baking sheet and use a spoon, my dough scraper, or floured hands to turn it into a rounded shape.
Bake at 375 degrees F for 50 minutes to an hour until touched with golden brown and cooked through.
You should wait until it’s almost cool to eat it because warm bread can get doughy if you cut into it too soon. Or do what we do, eat it warm anyway!
My family loves this lightly toasted and slathered with butter. I made it at lunchtime, it was gone by dinner and requests have come in for more Irish Fruity stuff for the weekend. The St Patrick’s Day celebration may continue for a bit longer…