Things are beginning to turn green in the Pacific Northwest, the daffodils are blooming, oxalis is growing like mad in my garden and my shamrock plant is perking up after a winter hybernation. It’s March and my Irish heritage begins to tug at my heart a bit. That can only mean one thing at the bakery…..Irish Soda Bread!
We LOVE Irish Soda Bread, not the regular, plain old, everyday stuff but the fancy one with caraway and currants (lots of currants).
The caraway and currants are not the usual way the average Irish housewife made the bread back in the day, in the old country those additions were only for very special occasions and the bread was called Spotted Dog. We make the special one and I like to use a bit of whole wheat flour in ours, it lends a nice wholesome texture and flavor.
I often tell people who visit the bakery that I only make the things I really love to eat and this is so true for our Irish Soda Bread. If common sense didn’t prevail I would eat an entire loaf, warm from the oven, with butter, all by myself. Happily there is always someone in the bakery who will help me and I am saved from myself! This bread is easy to make at home and I am sharing my recipe so you too can bake a loaf, find a friend, slather butter and be happy it is Spring!
All photography and test baking by Darlene Veenhuizen.
- 4 cups flour
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- ¾ cups brown sugar
- 1 T. salt
- 1 T. baking powder
- 1 T. baking soda
- ¾ cups butter
- 3 T. caraway seeds
- 4 cups currants
- 3 cups buttermilk
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- Preheat oven to 375. Mix first 5 ingredients, then cut in the butter until it is in small particles, a bit more than you would for pie crust. I do this in the food processor, add all the dry ingredients and cut the butter in by pulsing about 10 times. If using a food processor, transfer mixture to a large shallow bowl at this stage. Add the currants and caraway. Mix in the buttermilk and eggs until just moist. Knead about 12 turns and divide into three rounds. The dough will be very soft, then place on a parchment lined baking sheet, mark each loaf into quarters by pressing gently about ½ inch down with the back of a large knife. Bake at 375 for 45 minutes.
- Make some tea, call a friend, get out the butter!