One of my oldest and fondest childhood food memories is the first time that I was introduced to Irish Soda Bread. At the time we lived in Spring Valley, New York. My neighborhood friends, Sean, Kirin and Deirdre Murphy, were from Ireland, and their aunt Carole was the first person to serve me Irish Soda Bread. I don’t remember details about how the bread itself was made, but what has stuck with me for 40 years is how she served it and the combination of flavors that I experienced. Imagine being eight years old and a curious eater with a sweet tooth when someone places a slice of fresh bread topped with strawberry jam and freshly made whipped cream in front of you. I was in heaven! For me, the magic is in the combination of the caraway, raisins, jam and cream.
When I opened my first bakery, The Sturbridge Bread Company — and in every bakery and restaurant since then — I have made this recipe for Irish Soda Bread. I love introducing people to the combination of this bread with jam and cream and seeing the joy on their faces the first time they try it.
This bread is also delicious served with stew, corned beef and cabbage, with cultured butter or as-is, but I urge you to try it at least once with jam and cream.
IRISH SODA BREAD
I personally love the combination of the tart caraway seeds and the sweet raisins in this bread, but feel free to leave out either or both if you prefer.
- 56 grams butter (½ stick)
- 500 grams 1:1 gluten-free flour blend
- 2 tablespoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 160 grams raisins or currents
- 1 tablespoon caraway seeds
- 392 grams buttermilk
Place ½ stick butter in the freezer.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar in a large bowl.
Remove the butter from the freezer, and quickly shred it into the flour mixture using a box grater until coarse crumbs form, and it is evenly distributed.
Stir in the raisins and caraway seeds.
Add the buttermilk to the dough.
Using a wooden spoon (or your hands), gently fold the dough together until it is too stiff to stir. With lightly floured hands on a lightly floured surface, work the dough into a ball as best as you can. Knead the dough for about 30 seconds or until all the flour is moistened. If the dough is too sticky, add a little more flour.
Transfer the dough to the prepared pan. Using a very sharp knife, score an X into the top. Cover the dough with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap, and let it rest fo 20 minutes at room temperature before baking.
Bake about 45 minutes until the bread is golden brown, and the center appears cooked through. Loosely cover the bread with aluminum foil if you notice heavy browning on the top. The internal temperature should reach at least 190 degrees.
Remove the bread from the oven, and allow it to cool for 10 minutes, before transferring to a wire rack. Serve warm, at room temperature or toasted with your favorite spreads and toppings.
Store the bread covered at room temperature for two days. Freeze well-wrapped loaf for up to a month.