What is soda bread?
Soda bread get’s it’s name from using baking soda as the main leavening ingredient instead of yeast like in the case of most breads. My soda bread recipe does call for more baking soda but I also include some baking powder (which has baking soda in it! Did you know that?)
Soda bread is a quick bread, meaning just that; it’s quick to come together! This bread can be most comparative to as biscuit yet slightly more dense and not as crumbly. You can definitely achieve slices with this bread whereas biscuits tend to fall apart a little more easily.
What does soda bread go with?
Since soda bread is so closely related to a biscuit, you can easily eat this by itself, simply with butter, or even your favorite jam. It’s also perfect with rich, hearty, and savory stews and beef dishes.
Soda bread is slightly sweet and goes perfect with a salty entree like Irish stew or accompaniment to a traditional corned beef and cabbage dinner on St. Patrick’s day. The sweetness from the raisins is an added burst of sugar which works so well when paired with something full of salt (which I love).
It’s quick & easy
Like I said before, this bread is defined as a quick bread and it definitely is! Soda bread comes together in as little as 10 minutes. Baking time definitely outweighs your prep.
By grating in our cold butter, we achieve these beautiful pockets of buttery goodness throughout our soda bread. Sifting the dry ingredients is also important not only to rid the flours of possible impurities but also to create a nice, airy loaf.
I know what you’re thinking, this literally looks like one big biscuit. Well, it kind of is. The ‘kind of’ comes because while it does have almost the exact same ingredients as biscuits, the ratios are completely different.
Soda bread is light, airy, and has a biscuit like texture – yes. What’s different is as the loaf sits, it becomes more dense than a biscuit making it easy to slice like a bread whereas a biscuit tends to crumble.
A little history
Soda bread was born out of mere necessity more than tradition. Way back in the famine days, Irish folk made soda bread because it was cheap and most had the staple ingredients of soft wheat flour, salt, sugar, baking soda, and soured milk.
Ireland is also a producer of soft wheat which is ideal for soda bread and other quick breads. The term soft wheat is used to describe wheat flours with less protein structures. This results in the softer textures of quick breads.
So here is my American variation. Enjoy making this easy quick bread and have a Happy St. Patrick’s day if you celebrate. My celebration will exist of partaking in corned beef and cabbage or shepherd’s pie. It’s a hard choice!
- 4 Cups Pastry Flour
- 2 T + 2 Tsp Baking Powder
- 1 1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
- 1 1/2 Tsp Salt
- 2 T + 2 Tsp Sugar
- 1/2 Stick Cold Butter
- 1 Cup Raisins or Currants
- 1 3/4 Cup Buttermilk + 1/4 Cup for Brushing (2 total cups)
- Step One
Sift all the dry ingredients together into a large bowl. Take cold stick of butter and grate into dry mixture using a cheese grater. Mix evenly throughout flour mixture.
Add the raisins into the flour bowl. Mix well so raisins are not clumped together. Add in the buttermilk.
Using a rubber spatula, fold flour and buttermilk together forming a dough. Lightly sprinkle some flour onto the counter top. Pour out dough onto this flour dusted surface.
Work dough with your hands until dough is no longer sticky adding small amounts of flour if necessary. Try not to overwork the dough with your hands as the body heat with make the butter spread or melt out of the dough.
Form dough into a round loaf shape. Lightly grease a sheet pan for baking. Add the loaf onto the sheet pan. Using a sharp knife, score the bread loaf about one third of the way down in a cross pattern.
Gather the other 1/4 cup buttermilk and use a pastry brush to coat the cut bread loaf. Do not over-saturate the dough or let too much buttermilk settle on the baking sheet.
Bake the soda bread at 375 F for 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown.
Let loaf cool at least 15 minutes before cutting. The longer the soda bread sits, the nicer slices come out.
If you don't have pastry flour or can't find any easily, you can combine 1 1/3 Cup All Purpose Flour + 2/3 Cup Cake Flour = 2 Cups Pastry Flour equivalent
Nutrition Information:Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 353Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 42mgSodium: 662mgCarbohydrates: 48gFiber: 3gSugar: 22gProtein: 6g
Nutritional data is estimated and may not be accurate.
Happy cooking y’all!