Happy St. Patrick's Day! I hope you are wearing green today. And if not, I hope you get pinched! :) For our family's St. Patrick's Day festival each year, we have the traditional Irish meal with corned beef and cabbage, and Irish Soda Bread. Each year, it's my job to make the soda bread.
We started doing this tradition 3 years ago, and my mom found a recipe and asked me to make it. I was completely uninterested. I had no idea what the heck soda bread was, and it sure didn't seem very interesting just from looking at a picture and what I though of as a "plain, boring recipe". Little did I know, soda bread IS simple, yet delicious! And a key component of a traditional Irish St. Patrick's Day meal.
I've tried a new recipe each year, just for fun, and mostly because I never remember to keep the recipe in a safe place. Oops. But it allows us to have variety each year! And they are mostly all the same anyway.
This year, I decided to try Ina Garten's recipe for traditional Irish Soda Bread. Not only is it perfectly dense, and tender, but her recipe adds orange zest and dried currants for a more rustic feel.
I love how easy and fool-proof soda bread is to make. It's a quick-bread, so it uses baking soda instead of yeast for it's rising. No wait times, no pain-stakingly watching for it to rise! Mix it all together, throw it onto a floured surface and knead a few times into a ball, and place it on your skillet or cooking sheet and bake! So easy and simple. You don't need to know anything about bread to make this, and it always comes out great. Hearty and delicious, and perfect with corned beef and cabbage, or even soup!
Irish Soda Bread
- 4 1/2 cups flour
- 4 T. sugar
- 1 t. baking soda
- 1 1/2 t. salt
- 4 T. (1/2 stick) butter, cubed and cold
- 1 3/4 cups buttermilk
- 1 large egg
- 1 t. grated orange zest
- 1 cup dried currants
- Preheat the oven to 375 F.
- Combine dry ingredients in the mixer with the paddle attachment.
- Add butter cubes and mix until butter is combined with the flour.
- In a large measuring cup or bowl, whisk egg, buttermilk, and orange zest together with a fork.
- Mix wet mixture into the flour mixture.
- Combine dried currants with 1 T. flour to coat.
- Add dried currants to dough and mix until combined. Dough will be very wet.
- Turn dough out onto a floured surface, and knead a few times.
- Form into a round ball and place in a cast-iron skillet or a parchment covered cookie sheet.
- Using a serrated knife cut an "X" into the top of the dough.
- Bake for 45-55 minutes until crust is golden brown and a skewer inserted comes out clean. When you tap the loaf, it will have a hollow sound.