Ireland is famous for many things but when it comes to food the potato, shepherds pie and Irish soda bread are typically mentioned!
Contrary to popular belief soda bread was not invented by the Irish. American Indians were first documented with the creation of this bread only later to be replicated in Ireland around the 1840s, contributing to a worldwide appreciation for this delicious loaf.
Traditionally this food offering was something for the poor, using basic ingredients and featuring a cross on the top to ward off the devil and protect the household. The bread mixture rises from the reaction of the acid of a liquid like buttermilk, and the base like baking soda. The bread is made into different shapes based on the region of Ireland in which it is being prepared.
Serve your bread warm and fresh from the oven with a good helping of butter or at brunch with poached eggs or jam.
4 cups all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 3/4 cups cold buttermilk, shaken
1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup dried currants (Optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
2. Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
3. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the butter is mixed into the flour.
4. Use a fork to lightly beat the buttermilk, and egg together in a measuring cup.
5. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture.
6. Combine the currants, if using, with 1 tablespoon of flour and mix into the dough. It will be very wet.
7. Place the dough onto a well-floured board and knead it a few times into a round loaf.
8. Place the loaf on the prepared sheet pan and lightly cut an “X” into the top of the bread with a serrated knife.
9. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. When you tap the loaf, it will have a hollow sound.
10. Cool the loaf on a baking rack.
Serve warm or at room temperature