The sweet and peppery aroma of caraway seed makes this Irish soda bread recipe a winner. Dessert will be ready in a flash with only 10 ingredients in this quick bread! St. Patrick's Day is the perfect excuse to give this recipe a try.
Living in a college town means that St. Patrick's day is a big deal. College students LOVE to
celebrate drink all day long on St. Patrick's Day. It's hard to ignore the holiday when you pass people drinking green beer in their front yard on your way into work at 8 in the morning.
I'm all for embracing the holiday, but these days my type of celebration is a little more low-key. While I might not endorse drinking green beer at 8 in the morning, I can definitely get behind this Irish soda bread recipe. And it's not hard to do because this bread is delicious. After having a slice, my mom (who LOVES Irish soda bread) proudly declared that I could make this recipe every year for her birthday. Yup... it's that good!
Let's Make Irish Soda Bread!
If you've been following My Sweet Precision lately, you know that I'm all about things being quick and easy in the kitchen these days. This Irish soda bread falls into a category of baked goods called quick breads.
Have you ever followed a recipe that has you mix your wet and dry ingredients in separate bowls and then mix them together? Chances are you were making a type of quick bread! If you've worked with yeast before, you know that temperature and humidity are key factors in getting your dough to rise. Quick breads take this complication out of the equation and allow for (you guessed it) a quick and reliable preparation.
Let's talk baking science for a moment. Quick breads use chemical leavening agents. Baking soda is a base that needs some type of acid (hello buttermilk, vinegar, lemon juice, or sour cream) to react. This reaction creates carbon dioxide which increases the volume of your baked good. It also produces a lighter texture.
Remember that baking soda does go bad, so be sure to check the expiration date before using it in this recipe!
In this recipe, buttermilk is the acid that reacts with your baking soda. It is imperative that you use buttermilk and NOT regular milk. If you followed our baking science discussion from above... Since regular milk is not an acid, it will not react with baking soda. What does this mean? Your loaf of bread will come out of the oven flat and dense. Trust me, I've had it happen before.
The question is then... What do you do if a recipe calls for buttermilk but you don't have any in the refrigerator? I have a solution! Simply add one tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to one cup of milk. Let the mixture sit at room temperature for 10 minutes and you've got buttermilk! Double these proportions as necessary.
What Does Caraway Seed Taste Like?
Caraway seeds have a distinctive mild anise flavor to them. Some people describe their earthy taste as peppery or slightly sweet. They pair well with cabbage, pork, or roasted potatoes. Try using them to flavor beef goulash or kielbasa stew. In this recipe, the caraway seeds provide a lovely subtle sweet taste. My husband immediately honed in on the taste and asked why the bread tasted like cabbage stew! It was the caraway seeds!
What's the Difference Between Currants and Raisins?
You can use raisins or currants interchangeably in the recipe. However, if you're wondering what the difference is between the two, here's my explanation!
- Raisins are familiar to most people and bring a lovely sweet flavor to your baked goods. At the most basic level, they are grapes that have been dried. We've all let a batch of grapes sit out for too long. What do we usually have? Raisins! On a more technical level, raisins are naturally dried in open air and sunshine which is how they get their dark brown appearance.
- Dried Currants are tiny grapes that are naturally dried much like raisins. Don't confuse them with fresh currants which are actually completely different (confusing, I know). Dried currants are smaller and have a flavor that is slightly tart. You'll see them featured in scones or hot cross buns.
Irish Soda Bread
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup raisins
- 1 tablespoon caraway seeds
- 1 egg large
- 1 ¾ cups buttermilk
- 4 tablespoons butter melted
- Place rack in center of over and preheat to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a 9" by 5" pan.
- In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, raisins, and caraway seeds).
- In a small bowl, whisk together eggs and buttermilk.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated.
- Add the melted butter.
- Spoon batter into prepared pan and bake for approximately 50 minutes. Remove from oven, and cool for 5 minutes. Remove loaf from pan and allow to cool entirely on a baking rack.
- Store at room temperature wrapped airtight.
Notes and Tips
Did You Make Our Irish Soda Bread?!
Did you make this recipe? First, let me say THANK YOU for giving it a try! Please leave us a rating above and leave any feedback in the comments section at the bottom of this post. I always love to hear your thoughts and ideas on what went well — and what didn’t — with a recipe!